in conversation with Claudia
our womanhood ~ chapter V
As part of our latest campaign, we invited our community to take part in a shoot for womanhood. As with all our images, they remain untouched.
We had a chat with Claudia about what womanhood means to her and the journey she has been on
"Growing up in an SE Asian country, I was bombarded by advertisements of pale skinny women, I had felt I had been cursed by the foreign half of my genetics that looked nothing like my mother’s slim body or my sister’s beautiful oval face. I hated the chunky legs that carried me around, and I was always never skinny enough. I would bite my nails into oblivion and loathed what I saw in the mirror.
But this self-hatred never sat well with me. I fought with my mother who insisted my playing football 3 days a week and competitive swimming weren’t proper sports, that I was getting big and it didn’t count if it did not make me look better. When my mother tried to make me get braces to get rid of my overbite, I saw it as an attack on the one defining character that has made me, me. I covered myself up and I held on to what I could whilst still wishing I looked like someone else, just so maybe everyone’s voice in my head would shut up.
Then I moved to the U.K. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more at home than being in London where (mostly) no one cares about who you are or where you’ve come from. I started shedding my clothes and let my hair down. For the first time, I felt safe to be me. Seeing womxn who were my size and owning it, womxn who were beautiful and supportive! There has been nothing more powerful in my healing process than sharing the suffering and being able to mourn my past life with the support of true people. I am so grateful, I would not have been able to do this alone.
I am still in the process of learning to embrace myself and also understanding what I’m capable of. For so long I had underestimated myself and put too much pressure on what other people thought. I mean no one is perfect, and I fall victim to my own mean words every now and then but as I do more for myself – unapologetically loving my body, owning my own pleasure and standing up for my pain – I find myself becoming the woman I’d always wish I was.
Learning to be a woman, and getting comfortable with sensuality and sexuality has been a long journey! But it’s learning that you need to unlearn behaviours taught to you by mothers that had no chance to love themselves for themselves.
I’ve gone from just inhabiting this space, this flesh, to really living in my body. I think for the first time in my life I’ve started to really understand that my body is my own to do what I want with and not for public consumption. Recognising this has allowed me to learn to enjoy my body.
Growing up my body was always subject to abuse whether it was verbal criticism or physical. My body became a vacant vessel that I used to get from one day to another. It was never really for me and I just existed like that for a very long time.
I used to (and still do) get bashful about my body but today I’ve started to love being alive and in my own skin. I’m so proud of how far she’s brought me!"