I kept saying to myself: "I'll do the selfie part when my skin is clearer/I've had more time to do my hair and make up/when I've tidied the house and there isn't washing everywhere". Then I realised - I am choosing real. Why would I want to contribute to such a campaign with a "fake" picture?! So here I am - in all my glory (or not) - as I am, no make up, pulling a weird face, but loving being part of this and being a voice for those who would be swallowed up by those same thoughts.
What does being REAL look like for you?
Authenticity is so important to me. It's something that I encourage, respect and admire in others - and aspire to be within myself. I feel like there is strength in vulnerability. We often think feeling vulnerable is a weakness - but owning it is such a strong and beautiful thing. For me, being "real" means bypassing those "if I say/do/write this, what will people think?" and just doing it anyway. It's taken me a long time to get to this point and I'm still learning how to "own it" - but it's a journey and I'm happy to be on it.
What's stopping you? Or what use to stop you and how did you break free?
Definitely a fear of judgement and inadequacy. We are our harshest critics but what we don't realise is that these critiques are often stemmed from our own judgement of others and therefore, of ourselves. But if we treat everyone - and especially ourselves - as we would a dear friend, being authentic without fear is an easy feat.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I wish I knew what it meant to be your own best friend. This is so important. I wish I was kinder to myself in my thoughts and actions. I punished myself for a long time - when I really needed to wrap my arms around myself and practice self-compassion. It would have made the world of difference to how long I suffered.
Why are you standing with ChooseREAL / what does it mean for you?
I am a strong advocate for self-love. ChooseREAL resonates with me because I am striving to express my own journey as well as telling the stories of others; stories that were previously held deep within our core - scared of the light. Not only is telling your story empowering for yourself, it is inspiring for others and encourages others to start a conversation about how they're feeling, what they've experienced and where they want to go. The more conversations we start, the more they flow - reaching more and more people; tugging at more and more heartstrings; and drawing on more and more strength and creating a sense of community.
The Postnatal Project is a website and blog that incorporates Zelma’s social work background with wholesome, personal experiences to create a safe place for parents and their families. Here, they can explore treatment options and self-help solutions for a self-directed, sustainable and soulful recovery from postnatal depression. The Postnatal Project is also dedicated to increasing awareness and reducing stigma of postnatal depression.