Embracing Body Positivity at the Purple Wings Charity Calendar Shoot
Every year the PW charity host a pin up calendar shoot and alternate the years from the men to the women. I signed up to take part back in January as it was one to tick off the bucket list. The calendar embraces stoma life as a normality and highlights that we are still attractive even after surgery.
All of us raised funds to take part and it all goes back into the charity to provide grants for those who have just had stoma surgery.
We were all getting rather excited and the messenger group was lighting up like a Christmas tree with all of us sending photos of our new underwear purchases and tips on how to curl hair. This then progressed to us all giving travel updates and photos of some of us stuck in heavy traffic on-route up on the Friday. Travelling up I had to release my bag from the confines of my jeans and completely forgot until I walked into the services on a pit stop that my stoma bag was enjoying its freedom.
Arriving at the Lodge on the Saturday morning I sat in the car and thought ehhhh this is rather real now; thank god the shoot is indoors with normal back drops for the photographer. How wrong was I? Unloading the car and watching Lauren and Jasmine walking about with flower backdrops in the trees. I popped down to say hello and Lauren announced the photo shoot was going to be taking place outside. My jaw dropped, the place where the shoot was being hosted has a rather large lake and is where people frequently went for family days out and walking the dogs.
Beth and Jasmine made us all look pretty and one by one we were all called outside to have our photo’s taken. Stepping outside and having Lauren take your dressing gown has to be one of the most surreal experiences I have ever had and it all happened so quickly I don’t remember half of what I did. Just hoping the photos look relatively normal without me looking like a deer caught in headlights.
In the usual Louise style I made a joke of if anyone falls off the platform into the lake then it shall be me and watching Lauren and Lisa shout no too far back and nearly making a run for me – it was slightly amusing but I was only playing. I nearly put myself through the flower back drop when I lost my footing with my heels digging into the grass.
At the end all of us had a group shot taken and by then the dressing gowns got left on a table and we all cosied up for our final hurrah.
Every single one of us were more worried about bingo wings, sucking in tummies and boobs. Not one of us mentioned our bags. I don’t think having a stoma entered our heads at all. Being with a group of women that are like me is such a humbling experience. We were all sharing our battle stories and I would like to think I made a few new friends. Every single one of us have said it was an amazing, empowering, euphoric, inspiring and incredible. I never felt as much at ease I did on Saturday. All of the ladies taking part were incredibly brave.
The response to the group photo I posted up on social media Saturday evening has had such an amazing response. Those that are facing surgery have said that seeing us all embracing stoma life and having photos taken in just our underwear has given them hope and has relieved some of the stigma attached to having a stoma bag. There hasn’t been any negative responses and we are all applauded for our bravery.
The calendars will be available on the 3rd of August at the next PW Charity ball where I have been asked to do a presentation with Benjamin about our relationship and stoma life from our individual perspectives.
Many thanks for reading
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