“Now this is Jasmine. Jasmine visited the Derby studio in 2018 for a Boudoir Experience. At the time we had no idea how strong and courageous Jasmine had been to get to us at the studio. It was only when she phoned us earlier this month, to ask if she could be a part of #beboldbeyou that we learnt the full extent of her inspiring story. To quote Jasmine, “beboldbeyou. Everyone else is taken”. We’ll leave the rest to this most beautiful woman… It’s worth boiling the kettle for.”
What do you do when you spend your life telling yourself you are strong and independent and then one action makes you question it all? That was me at 15/16 finishing my GCSE’s moving onto college and being told I needed to know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, now in the last 6 years that has changed more times than I can count on one hand, so at 15 the pressure I felt was a hell of a lot. You’re at that point in your life where finding who you are is also a crucial thing, figuring out where you fit in, who your real friends are etc. For me this all got too much, I had lost control over my life, everyone else was telling me what I should be doing where I should be going, I took an A Level in psychology even though I had no interest in using that later on in life. So, what do you do when you lose control? I took the one thing I could control and ran with it.
I began to control my eating, when I was stressed I wouldn’t let myself eat, if I ate fatty foods I got mad at myself, I took my food apart, so it would take longer to eat and as I did all this it never once occurred to me that I was on the verge of an eating disorder. I was in this constant battle with, I knew I needed to eat but why should I? What had I done well to deserve it? The day I visited the doctors for the first time to speak about my issues, I broke down and realised what was happening, I’d hit an all time low of being 45KG. Fast forward to today I’m 53KG which is healthy, happy but I still have bad moments when I get too stressed. Since 19 I’ve had an on off relationship with the gym, I love going and the results (although minor) have helped me cope with my issues, before 19 I used to go the gym, but I trained in a dangerous way to try and lose weight, my brain had reached the stage of telling myself I was disgusting whenever I ate.
I distinctly remember a day where I ran and ran on the treadmill until my vision started to get blurred and afterwards I almost threw up, but it got me no where, I wasn’t miraculously skinny (I didn’t need to be), I didn’t feel at peace with my body, I just felt horrendous and tired. I tried therapy and for short term fixes it worked wonders but after weeks/months of no sessions the thoughts creeper back in no matter how many techniques I remembered, I started to confide in a friend who couldn’t understand why I hated my body so much, why I refused to eat all the time but he tried to understand and help, he reminded me to eat during the day even if it was only something small, he tried to help me see the positives about my body and not the negatives by shutting my thoughts down whenever I made any self-depreciating comments. Having this type of person around plus the support system of my family (they’re honestly something else) I started to try and dig deeper into my issues as this was now causing my anxiety to spike, I was suffering from paranoia and any form of large crowd sent me into a panic attack if I was alone, I had lost this strong independent girl I had always been.
Having that mind set was one of the things that made my recovery slower because admitting I had problems was like admitting that I wasn’t strong, I couldn’t look after myself and to me that was the worst thing, I had always taken pride in the fact I hardly asked for help with anything and I realise now it was my downfall. I went back to the doctors, I broke down again whilst explaining all my issues that had started and agreed on trying another does of therapy, my mind still didn’t want to consider the possibility of being medicated. Once again it helped having a neutral party to talk to but when the sessions stopped, I was struggling to cope, I started to revert back to my old ways and lash out at the people who were trying to help, which is when I decided to try meds, my doctor had already diagnosed me with acute anxiety and paranoia and discussed the idea of medication so it was a straight forward appointment discussing the way to move forward, a low dosage and the possibility of therapy again.
Now this was a lot but for me to properly explain why #BeBoldBeYou means so much to me, I wanted to share my story, eating disorders are not glamorous, they aren’t just anorexia, meds are not the devil and its okay to ask for help. These are all things I learnt in my late teens and I am still figuring out now, my disorder will never completely disappear but I’m okay with that because I have a handle on it, I’m not scared to admit I’ve struggled and still struggle now, I’m not scared by the judgemental looks I get when I share my story because “You don’t look like you have an eating disorder” or “You’re so happy you can’t have anxiety” and my personal favourite “Just eat and be happy” these people only know my story from what they are willing to hear, I was the one that lived it, the one that stared at my mirror and cried, the one that was constantly looking around feeling everyone’s eyes on me or being told I’m too skinny, how do I stay so skinny even though all I felt was 100lbs heavier. In my steps to recovery I’ve learnt to accept me and how I am without comparing myself to everyone around me, we are all on different journeys, we all learn at different rates, we all have our own problems so why do we put ourselves against each other. This why campaigns like #BeBoldBeYou are so important, teaching everyone to take their life and do what they want with it.
When I received my prints from my boudoir shoot in November with FireFly I shared a few on my Instagram because I was so happy with how they looked and they gave me this huge boost of confidence, those photos were purely for me and to raise my thoughts about myself and with the help of the team at the studio, I had never felt better about myself, Natasha the stylist helped me relax by being chatty and asking how I usually wore my makeup and then asking about my everyday life which took my mind off “I’m going to go in the next room, get semi naked and be super awkward, why am I doing this?” then when I got into the studio it was a completely different experience to what my mind had built up in my anxious state, we discussed the photos I wanted to do, any ideas that I didn’t want to do and until I felt comfortable I did some shots in my leather jacket. They took this nervous experience and made it into something exciting and wonderful that I will recommend to anyone, whether you want some photos for your significant other or just want to feel good about yourself, it’s worth it. In my viewing I couldn’t believe it was me on the screen, now I can’t wait to get another tattoo, train hard again and go for another photo shoot.
Be Bold, Be You. Everyone else is already taken.
Our aim is to get as many men and women to be bold by embracing a photoshoot at Firefly Photography at our studios in either Derby or Lichfield. We have so many shapes sizes & styles come through our studio doors and it’s time to show those who are too scared to pick up the phone that they can do it too (and we’re rather lovely to talk to!). To arrange a FREE, no obligation, chat by phone about what photoshoot we can offer you simply enter your details below and a member of the Firefly team will be in touch. #BeBoldBeYou Experiences are priced at £59. Our bookings team are available Wednesday through to Saturday from 10am until 5pm except for Saturdays when we close at 4pm.