Salla is a 26-year-old burlesque dancing mother who used to be bullied.
She feels good in her own skin as long as she doesn’t have to see any photographs. Because in the photographs she only sees “a bouncy backside, a jelly belly striped by pregnancy and thighs full of cellulite”. Her acne scars make her not want to go out without make-up and selfies are always very controlled and photoshopped.
Acne scars – a part of her uniqueness
Because of beauty ideals (which I just recently wrote about here) we have expectations as to what we should look like in order to be considered beautiful. One thing on this impossible list is a smooth, nearly porcelain skin.
The scars from her acne as well as from having been bullied have followed Salla to this day, both figuratively and literally. When she was younger, Salla suffered from acne which has left scars on her skin. She is ashamed of them and always wears make-up in an attempt to cover them.
But would Salla be Salla is she didn’t have the scars?
Just as our emotional scars shaped us to the person we are today, so do the physical ones. They tell a story of her experiences which have made her this emphatic, loving, kind and living being. The scars on Salla’s face work only to strengthen her unique beauty.
And that she has a lot of.
She’s absolutely gorgeous.
“I felt critical about the close-up photos, but Erika made me believe in my beauty by saying that even the scars are a part of me. I cried when I realized how cruel I am to myself.”
Burlesque re-building self-esteem
Nowadays Salla dares to get on stage in revealing clothes as a burlesque dancer and feels attractive and sexy. When she’s on stage, Salla becomes another person – she’s more confident, daring, even audacious. On stage Salla feels she can let go of the stress and self-esteem problems and feel free.
She’s grateful to burlesque for lifting her self-esteem. Now that she’s been dancing for a couple of years, she notices how much her self-esteem has grown during this time, despite the fact that she still has trouble looking at photos of her shows. All she can see in them are “problem areas”.
But clearly something in Salla’s soul is so much stronger than those problem areas to make her go back to the stage time after time.
As I was photographing Salla, I asked her to make some movements that she would during a performance. As soon as she began, she became confident Salla. It was incredible to see. There was an immediate shift in her eyes and in her entire body.
Our self-esteem always comes from within even though it’s visible on the outside. It’s not about what we wear or how we look like, but how we carry ourselves.
When we start to pay attention to our inner well-being and speaking strength to ourselves, it starts to show on the outside: we walk differently, we’re able to look at strangers in the eye longer and smile at them. It’s so much easier for us to be when we understand that all of us are equal. No one is better than us, nor are we better than anyone else.
We are all enough, loved and important just as we are.
Connection points to your own emotions?
Did you find connection points to your own feelings/thoughts/fears? Have you felt that you’d like to change them? Use this form to send me a confidential message and let me know what types of emotions you go through. Together we can figure out solutions for building a better, and happier, future. Because it’s possible for you just as it is for anyone else.
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Thanks to the lovely Salla, thanks Me Naiset. And now to you, my lovely reader, thank you for reading.
I wish a wonderful Sunday!
Until next time lovely,
With warm hugs of strength,
P.S. Remember that you’re exactly who you tell yourself. So make sure those words are loving and positive!