To the Skin Deep community…

A message from Lauren

Things have been a little quiet here over the last few months, so I wanted to provide an explanation.

Jane, Jess and Natalie on a body image panel at Women of the World Festival 2013

Jess (centre) with Jane and Natalie on a body image panel at Women of the World Festival (Katherine) 2013

We’ve had some changes to the team and a HUGE thank you goes out to Jess who recently moved on to channel her great energy into other areas. Jess has been a huge influence in the every day activities of the project, a great support, and is going to kill it at whatever she puts her mind to!

In other areas: yesterday I watched this talk by the brilliant Brené Brown (a US researcher) and, like a few other things over this period, it really struck a chord with me. I’ve been living small. I have been stuck in a giant, fiery hole of self doubt and it’s been creating blockages in many areas of my life from this project (which I am intensely passionate about), to my new business, and even to just being motivated to get up and go for a walk.

IT SUCKS.

And I reckon it’s important that we admit to ourselves and others that life isn’t peachy all the time, no matter how positively we like to frame life. Sometimes, it’s just effing not. And that’s ok. It’s ok to have a crippling fear of: “what am I good at? Am I good at ANYTHING?” or “even though my gut tells me so, is this REALLY the right decision?”. Ah, yes. That old chestnut.

Add to this the yucky ingredient – anxiety. To describe how this has been over the last few months, it has been a constant sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that extends through to my constricted throat. It feels like the constant rise of panic, a complete lack of clarity and the reintroduction of worrying about everything and anything, of checking and rechecking, and of looking for validation and comfort about things I really shouldn’t be stressing about any way.

It’s the throwing to the wayside any semblance of an exercise routine, because I feel exhausted; feeling that sometimes, when I hang out with my friends I am a shadow of myself, and definitely of dropping some of the balls I had in a fine art of circulation. But you know what? It’s ok.

And so I needed to take a micro-break from the nitty and gritty of Skin Deep, after four and a half years. Because as an individual leading this, or when there is a team, we should be in a good head space to be a supportive and positive place. But SDP is back and as far as we go, there’s some planning underway for a SUPER exciting project, recruitment to the team, and rebranding. Which is a great way to get back into it.

A few weeks ago I was inspired by 99dresses owner Nikki Durkin, a young woman who chased her dreams, and shared her story of crushing failure because quite frankly, we don’t share enough of the sheer realities of the every day running of something that we invest so much in and want so desperately to grow and see succeed.  I read it with tears in my eyes, silently cheering her on as I scrolled down the page, and feeling this immense pride and connection to someone I’ve never met. It forms part of the reason why I am sharing this.

e6e19364914a51a0f75b197794d2ade8Its a bumpy ride, and we have to work through the dips. It’s also important because in taking a break, even though I didn’t want to, I have been able to get more centred. To open up to my partner about where I’m at (he knew, SUPRISE!), to get inspired to get back into a routine that looks after my physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health (guess what? Doing everything isn’t part of it), speaking to the most incredible role models and being pep talked by friends (dubbed my ‘life gurus’) who remind me of the things that put a sparkle in my eye and a spring in my step, and who have permission to be brutally honest about my habit of saying YES when I should be saying NO (anyone else with me here?).

I want you to know that at Skin Deep you get the warts and all, because that’s what life is about. We’ll always share the feel-good, happy, positive sides of what we do and the people, organisations and movements that we find along the way. But sometimes we’re going to see the blemishes too. As always, the Skin Deep Project is grateful and humbled by you – the visitors to this page, the commenters on our social media channels, the people who share messages and are body image warriors in your worlds, and the people who support each other through rough patches. Let’s keep it up!

Take care of yourself and live real,

Lauren x
Co-Founder

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