Body Confidence After Stoma Reversal: Part 1
Hello my Gorgeous Pelican Lovers, I am back with my monthly blogs. For those of you who are new to me nattering on you can click here for part 1 and 2 to catch up.
This month I am talking about Body Confidence. I am going to split this blog into two parts because I have so much to say on this subject. So as you all already know due to having Crohn’s Disease and having a stoma bag for a year I was left with two scars. One all the way down my stomach and the stoma bag scar on the right side of my tummy just below my belly button.
When I first learned I had this massive scar I was genuinely heartbroken, I was so upset. I cried for literally months. I had everybody trying to make it better by saying things like ‘It’s okay, scars are cool’ or ‘ you can get a cheated 6 pack now’. I didn’t care, I just didn’t want to hear it. I hated the fact my once clear belly had this hideous, not even straight, scar down it. Nobody could make me think different. I actually looked at my stoma way before I ever looked at my scar. When it came to dressing changes I would look away and the nurses would distract me. When I left hospital my cousin had to do the dressing changes for me as again, I wouldn’t look at my scar.
I struggled for ages to look at it I wanted it covered all the time, I was always praying for the day it starts to fade. I used to go every Wednesday to my trauma counselor and I would just continuously cry over it. She did have a very good point about me feeling this way – I knew the stoma bag might not have been forever but my scar was.
Being in the modelling and performing arts industry basically all my life made me coming to terms with having a scar even harder. Who would want to hire me now? I had all these crazy thoughts like my career is over. What clothes would I wear now? I couldn’t wear certain tops because the scar would show.
I have a beautiful friend called Jasmine who helped me a lot during the time I had a stoma and she also had a scar like mine. She would send me photos of her scar and how it faded and it had always gave me hope. It’s one of those things when you look at other people’s stomachs, and in a way, envy them because theirs is all clear.
I don’t really know what changed the way I saw my scar but something hit one day. Maybe the fact that without both scars I would NOT be here today. That having this scar tells a strong battle story and that it is a reminder of how lucky I am. I decided to turn this into a positive for other people out there who felt like me. I noticed most online shops never used models with scars or stoma bags. Why? What makes us any different to any other model you have online? Is it the fact we are REAL people? The fashion industry today prefers to have models who look perfect, who make the clothes look amazing. Half the time we get the clothes and they look nothing like they do on the model we had seen. I for one can vouch for that as there have been occasions on model shoots I have done where I have clips holding the clothes to fit better. It’s a false way. You look at Victoria Secret models, for example, and women then compare themselves and actually think they can’t wear that matching set because it’s not meant for somebody of their size. Instagram girls who spend hours editing their photos to look like somebody they are not, which then makes other girls feel insecure and end up with mental health issues and body dysmorphia.
I decided to make a change. I make sure I never hide my scar. I have asked all model shoots to NOT photoshop my scar out, this is me, this is who I am. I am the woman making a change for every Queen like me or with any other body flaw out there who doesn’t think they are worthy because of the way social media and the fashion industry are today. I make a point of not editing my pictures also. After all, I want to be found if I ever went missing.
I started tagging brands asking them why I haven’t seen any models like me yet with big scars or stoma bags. I was blessed enough to have an opportunity to model with one swimwear brand founded by Natalie Glaze and Zanna Vandijk on Instagram called @staywildswim. Not only do these two beautiful ladies help the environment and planet with their amazing swimwear they are all about REAL women. This is what separates them from every other brand out there. They are 100% worth the follow and they need more recognition to help make a change in the world for both the planet and real people. I have also started my own hashtag called #selflovebynatalieamber. I do body confidence shoots for anyone with any sort of body imperfection and have a lot of Ostomy Queens and some guys do the shoots. I shall be taking this on tour next year but more to come for this and my fashion show and how to apply to be a part of this next month. I am so happy that I have been able to bring out the confidence in people with the things I have been doing.
I now always try to buy clothes or dresses when I go out that show my scar, to show I am proud of it. I wore a bikini to a huge pool party in Vegas a few weeks back and I will be honest with you, I got a lot of stares. part of me wanted to leave, but I had the most supportive best friend with me who made me feel so at ease and reminded me how beautiful and strong I was. She also made a good point, some people could have been staring thinking ‘wow, she’s so brave’. Honestly, it’s important to have good friends around you. They are hard to find so cherish those real ones.
I may not cream my scar or touch it or let anybody else touch it because I just can’t right now, and hopefully, one day that will change, but I sure as hell never want it to fade now because this is me. It’s a part of me and I love it.
I just want you all to know, it’s okay to be a bit jealous at times of those without scars, or ostomies, we are only human, we are allowed to feel. But also remember, you are blessed, you are alive. Scars are the new sexy; we are unique. I have a challenge for you all, I would love you all to post a photo on Instagram of your scars or ostomies and #selflovebynatalieamber so I can share all your beautiful bodies. Your post might be the reason another person then gets the confidence to post. We all have to break that stigma and stick together.
Until next time my pretty people.