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I just finished at a photoshoot with Health and Fitness Magazine. They are going to feature me in an article when I am back from my rowing challenge. Did I tell you I am rowing around Great Britain? Winking smiley.

I arrived at the studio in Soho where a professional stylist did my hair and makeup.  I was given a sports kit and trainers to wear and the studio was just as you would imagine; full of outfits, equipments and hustle and bustle.

It sounds exciting and it was exciting, yet I have come away feeling rotten.  I am not the kind of person to think about the stuff below, and can handle most things that are thrown at me, but this was completely outside my comfort zone.

I really don’t want to be this person. I want to write about the positives in my life and make people smile. But today was a weird one.

Ever since I was young I haven’t cared about how I look and what people think of me.  There is one memory that sticks out so clearly. When I was on my year 6 school trip to the Isle of Wight, one evening I decided to wear a wild combination of clothes to the evening meal. Imagine this; a pair of black and white monochrome patterned leggings (bear in mind leggings weren’t even fashionable then – I was ahead of the game you see), teamed with a multi coloured, multi patterned jumper.  It was colour, texture and pattern to the max.  I loved it. It made me feel happy. As I walked into the dining area, I remember the cool kids looking, laughing and sniggering.  It was no doubt at my outfit but I didn’t give a stuff.  

I’ve been like that all my life. Perhaps it’s because I danced competitively from a young age and was able to express myself, not worrying about what other people thought. I was given stick for dancing as well but once again, I just didn’t care.

This has carried on into my adult life. I wear crazy outfits, act a little unconventional and as long as I don’t upset anyone, I (mostly) don’t mind what people say about me. I have been body confident all my life but today was different.

I hated every second of being in front of that camera.  Every picture that popped up on the screen behind the photographer made me cringe.  With each bright flash of the fancy lights, I became more and more uncomfortable and less relaxed in front of the camera.

Health and Fitness Magazine

With only 11 days until I set off to row 1,800 miles around Great Britain, I have chosen to put on about 5kg. I love my friends’ optimism when they say it’s weight gain from muscle.  It’s not muscle. I’d have had to been training to gain muscle. It’s fat.

My existence the last few weeks have solely been focused on fundraising and promoting my challenge.  I could have the fittest, strongest body in the world but without the funds I wasn’t going to row anywhere. So I sacrificed training and therefore I am looking and feeling like a larger version of my previous myself.

It shouldn’t matter that I’m packing a few extra pounds. I’m still a size 10 and know that some people would give their right arm to have a physique like mine. But that doesn’t change the fact I am cringing thinking of those photos.

I’m embarrassed to even share the way I am feeling.  I’m even not liking the way, that I don’t like the way I look today. (did that even make sense?) It’s not cool.

It probably didn’t help I was put in a sports bra showing my extra-energy belly.  I said I was cool with it so its my own fault. I also decided to take my crazy festival leggings to ‘reflect’ my personality but the camera just captured all hips and legs.

Health and Fitness Magazine

In a previous post, I have made reference to my respect for TV presenters and social media role models and bloggers for how hard they work.

I now have a new found respect for those that have their picture taken for their profession.

It’s difficult not to listen to the criticising demons in one’s mind. And I am annoyed that modern society and social media has created that. And that I have fallen into that trap. Grrrrrrrr!

So I am going to turn this into a mini experiment. I want to turn my challenges and adventures into a career and that will mean more photoshoots (fingers crossed). I am going to find someone who is good at posing and having their picture taken, get them to teach me and then I will practise.

I believe that everything can be learnt and with enough repetition it will become a habit. That’s why I am doing this challenge. I didn’t know how to row. I didn’t know how to build a website or write a blog. There was a time where making a video was alien to me. That first time I did a video diary was totally cringeworthy. If you read back to some of my first blogs from 4 years ago, you’d be more entertained reading a crisp packet. So I need (and want) to learn how to pose and be relaxed in front of a camera. Reading this back, it sounds superficial but faced with today’s situation again, I’d like to enjoy it and nail it.

I feel like I have rambled.  I probably have.

I can’t say I’m looking forward to seeing the article.  It was an incredible opportunity and I am so grateful to have had it.  Like everything this adventure throws at me, I need to rise to the challenge and learn from it.

Lesson 1: Maybe the festival leggings need to stay at the festival and not venture in front of the professional camera.

Thank you for reading.

See you again for the next instalment of LT’s Adventures.

Read more from the Great British Row 2017