The Last Day Of The #SensualSelfieChallenge

For the last five days, I’ve been sharing on Instagram as part of the #SensualSelfieChallenge. It has been joyful, exciting, and interesting in so many ways. Here’s what I posted on the final day.

Posting nude (or near-nude) photos for the #SensualSelfieChallenge really was challenging. Not so much in the moment: pressing “Share” wasn’t very difficult. But it was the years leading UP TO it that were challenging.

(Trigger warning)

My body has been through so much. I cut myself so deeply I should have had stitches. I barely ate for years. (There were a lot of reasons for that one. I didn’t want to be a “woman”, that seemed really scary. I didn’t want to take responsibility for my life, I wanted someone else to look after me. My life felt chaotic, and controlling my food intake felt like a way of having power. And a sense of deep self-loathing fuelled by depression meant I also felt like I deserved to punish myself.) I was raped by a boyfriend. I was in a relationship with a man who tried to destroy my confidence by constantly critiquing how I looked, how I acted, what I believed, by pursuing other women. (It almost worked.) I was in another relationship with a man who threatened to kill me (I believed him, that’s why I stayed).

So. What has this challenge meant to me?

When I look back at all the pain in my life, it was caused by either me denying my own power, or someone else trying to suppress my light (and me allowing them to do it — so, back to the original point).

The truth is that I am the person who is most dangerous to me. I am the person who sets (or fails to set) boundaries, who has accepted shitty treatment, who wants to “fix” damaged people, and then is surprised when they eventually turn on me. And when I do these things, I SUBVERT MY OWN POWER. It is a form of self-sabotage. When I’m emotionally invested in something toxic or dysfunctional, how the fuck can I rise? I can’t. It’s another way of keeping myself safe and small.

I cannot control the pain someone tries to cause me, or causes themselves through their own insecurities, but I can control how I project and protect my light. I can choose to heal, to walk, to shine brighter than ever before.

This challenge has inspired me to TURN IT THE FUCK UP. To stop pretending that I am anything but magnificent. Because if I downplay who I am, it leaves a crack for insecure people to get in. It sets me back every single time. And I simply cannot afford that anymore. Never again.

I am not ashamed of my body or how I look. I am not ashamed of what I believe or who I am. I am not ashamed of the work I do or the way I live my life.

What happens when we realize our power fully? What happens when we are unashamedly who we are? We rise, we rise, we rise. And everyone else rises with us.

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@galadarling on Instagram

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