I’m sure you’ll understand that I’m not sharing details of my breast cancer diagnosis on here, and you lovelies have been amazing at respecting my boundaries around that. Thank you!
While I’ve been loving continuing being back to the blog and posting about Mama life in Harrogate and all the glory there is in our gorgeous town we’re lucky enough to call home, some thing are more challenging behind the scenes.
One area I’ve really struggled with is the change in my appearance.
My hair loss was understandably very upsetting, my eyebrows and eyelashes haven’t fully recovered and I’ve gained weight (a chemo side-effect of a combination of steroids, exercising less, medication that makes you feel hungry, metabolism slowing down, hormonal therapy; increasing fat, lowering muscle tone, and changing my body shape). Glorious! So all in all, my self confidence has been rocked, aside from for the obvious reasons of having a cancer diagnosis.
But with thanks and help from my beautiful family, my glorious friends (who all know who they are!), and the health professionals in my life I’ve been piecing myself back together, a little bit at a time, which is an on-going project!
As women I think we have a seriously unhealthy relationship with self image.
Beauty and youth are revered. This is not new news, it’s been happening since the dawn of time and at all ages and life stages. Today I’m astonished at how many everyday women are regularly having ‘tweak-ments’ to enhance their image. Sending out the message, ‘I’m not good enough how I am’ to themselves and to others. But let me tell you, as someone who’s been at some SERIOUS rock-bottoms with the way I look recently, your looks are actually the least thing you care about when s*it gets real! And I want to say to anyone reading this, and you’d say the same to any friend ‘I don’t care what you look like’, I care about all the wonderful things that make you, you – which is not how you look!
So, I’m learning to live with a new way of how I look.
I really don’t like my hair, despite my gorgeous hairdresser working her magic and making it a thousand times better than it was initially, for which I am forever grateful!
And I really don’t like my body shape – but I think that’s because society tells me I should look a certain way, and I don’t feel that I do, and it’s not how I looked ‘before’.
This is actually how I look now though people. So I need to become more accepting of that and start to love myself for who I am, and not what I look like. Which as we all know is much easier said than done.
As part of this acceptance, I have to move on and update the images on my blog and social profiles – I don’t look how I did before. It’s a bit like the actor/author who holds on to the bio image of themselves ten years ago as they look ‘younger’ thinking of their life as a ‘before’ picture. ‘I looked better when…I was younger, thinner, my hair was long…’.
Well, we’re not a ‘before’ picture.
We’re all human, and if the grace is granted to us, we age; our appearance changes and word up folks, IT’S NORMAL! While for me, it’s happened quickly and sharply, it happens to us all. The only way to make peace with it – is to make peace with yourself. You are who you are, regardless of how you look. And SPOLIER alert, you’ll find the people who you care about in your life, and who care about you, do not give two hoots what you look like, trust me! You are not a before picture.
That said the super talented Steph Simmons and Chrys Chapman, have helped me be the best version of myself as I am now, in a recent photo shoot to update my blog and profile picture images. PR teams need to know what they’re getting after all, and looking at myself multiple times a day as I currently log on to my social platforms reiterates how my life was BEFORE.
We constantly evolve, from teenagers to young adults, from newly weds to mamas, from mamas to grand mamas. Being ‘younger’ and what you perceive to have been ‘better looking’ does NOT make you better. You are hugely BETTER than your previous version of yourself. You have skills, knowledge and experience that can only be gleaned from living. Be kind to yourself. You are better in everyway from how you were before.
Now onto the pictures!
Make-up artist Chrys Chapman is a gorgeous human and a very talented MUA! If you don’t follow her on Instagram go and seek her out! She’s very calm and generous with her skills, time and kindness. She helped me feel at ease really quickly and she nailed my brief of ‘natural, me on a good day’ make-up look instantly!
I’ve also worked with Steph Simmons Photography before, Steph is a master at putting people in the right head space to be photographed and makes a very unnatural situation seem very natural and relaxed. Steph captured the shots I needed for the blog and all important profile picture really masterfully. It was actually a fun experience, which made the end result all the better!
I owe a MASSIVE thank you to Steph and Chrys, who came and worked for me and waived their fee, as they’re super kind gorgeous humans who live by what they stand for. I will be eternally grateful for their generosity in giving me their time, expertise, love and care whilst I navigate this difficult change in my life.
So, all’s that’s left now is to actually update my profile picture on all my social profiles…
Knowing I’m not a BEFORE picture is one thing, but actually swapping out the ‘life before cancer’ Lucy, for the new ‘wow – life has changed’ Lucy is going to be really hard. But I know it’s the right thing to do.
I need your help
I need your help, to help me decided which photo I should pick for my profile pic on all my social channels.
I’ve got it down to two; ‘Headband Lucy’ and ‘Phone Lucy’. Please drop me a comment below to let me know which one you think would be best – or leave a comment on my Facebook or Instagram post.
Thank you for bearing with me. To say things have been life-changing is not an understatement. Here’s to the ‘Now’ us and the acceptance that ‘now’ is perfectly, perfect.
19 thoughts on “You are not a ‘Before’ picture”
You write so beautifully-
I would love to be so eloquent.
Voting phone Lucy
Thank you lovely ????
Oh I love them both but headband Lucy pic seems more relaxed ❤️ Xx
Thank you Clodagh ????
It was a privilege to meet you in person a few years ago. You were warm, friendly, intelligent and beautiful. And you still are.
I cannot begin to imagine how difficult it must have been getting your cancer diagnosis and then having to go through the ensuing treatment. I do understand what it is like to see a different version of oneself in the mirror- sometimes it takes a bit of getting used to. But you are still the beautiful you. A gorgeous woman and wonderful
Sending you so much love. It would be lovely to catch up one day.
Lots of love, Lizzy xxx
Ahh – thanks Lizzy, yes it would be lovely! Thank you for your beautiful words ????
Hey just wanted to say I love your content. I’m sorry you’ve had such a rubbish time but the main thing is your health and like you say what’s on the inside. That said you still look great and even though you changed in ways you are finding hard to accept you would have changed anyway… so good for you to embrace the new you. I like both pictures. I think the head band one portrays you as more ‘quirky’ and a bit retro (hope that doesn’t offend you! ) and the phone one portrays you as more relaxed and approachable … I hope this helps make your decision, I thought I’d offer my opinion as it may depend what look / brands you are hoping to attract. Also I think the phone one probably stands more for the content you have so is a better reflection of what to expect on your page.. hope all that makes sense ! But keep posting and keep doing what you’re doing and most of all keep smiling. Xx
Thank you for your lovely considered answer Katie, that’s really helpful, and your kind comments. Thank you ????
Headband definitely, it is all you gorgeous lady xx
Thank you Amy ????
Beauty is about so many things and you are gorgeous to me in every single way, you always have been and always will be ???? To say I am proud of you Lucy is an understatement. Love you very much. I am going to have to go with hairband Lucy, no real reason… your gorgeous smile just jumped out at me! xxx
Ahh – thanks for your gorgeous message you gorgeous human! Love you loads ????
Phone Lucy for sure but both and all photos in this post are absolutely stunning and you should feel on the inside how amazing you look on the outside ???????????????? xoxo
Thank you for your kind words Sarah ????
Hi Lucy, I’ve been following you for a while now as a Harrogate mum, and I just want to say how much I enjoyed reading this post. It takes courage to write so honestly and from the heart, and you have also perfectly highlighted our unhealthy obsession with the ‘body beautiful’ to the extent that it brings us down and erodes our confidence.
I love reading your posts and, for what it’s worth, I think your new hair style and dress sense are fabulous. And your strength is truly inspirational!
Tough to choose between the photos as both are great … but I think I like the hairband one a teeny bit more.
Thank you Nicky, that’s a lovely comment – thank you for taking the time to post it!
Thank you for your thoughtful comment Nicky and your kind words. They are much appreciated.
You look and are wonderful, Lucy. Keep smiling, we can all learn so much from these wise words
Thank you Lisa 🙂