Don't Take Me Out Of My Melons began with 21st April 2017 (Today's Look) when I was walking around my flat with a hot water bottle down my trousers due to period pain. I thought I looked stupid so I decided to take a picture and then added text in the style of those 'what I'm wearing today' posts.
My confidence was growing with taking pictures of myself, but I still felt very awkward about my thoughts and opinions. I then began the project as a kind of diary, but I found it a bit too whiny and pessimistic. The images of more interest to me were the ones where I reflected on things that had happened in the past. So I have chosen just these three images for the project as they fit with themes that I generally explore - body image, self esteem, self confidence and anxiety.
I now use my words more with hashtag diaries/essays, which I began in 2019.

21st April 2017 (Today’s Look)

Old top that I don't like wearing in public anymore as it took me too long to realise that if I lean over I flash my bra/boobs, trousers that I wore out once in public but felt self-conscious wearing so they are now in the homewear only pile (with toothpaste stains as I can't seem to brush my teeth without making a mess anymore), 2 pairs of slippers (one - my pair - not really visible, boyfriend's pair visible), no makeup (haven't worn any makeup since July, wore makeup twice last year - once for a costume party and once for 1 wedding out of 3 that I attended), brushed hair that I washed yesterday (it's usually every 4ish days), hairy legs as I haven't 'dealt' with them since February (I went on holiday to warmer climates) and a hot water bottle for period pain as I try to avoid painkillers as much as possible (except when it comes to tooth pain - wisdom tooth removal is not pleasant). 

Also hidden: Bracelet that I made when I was a teenager, a watch (boyfriend's one that he gave to me after my similar one broke - which was identical to one I bought in 2009, my parents also wear similar watches), a bra (fairly old, I hate bra shopping so I usually just wear the ones that my mum gets me for Christmas), armpit hair (my skin is sensitive, shaving is too much work and epilating hurts so I'm going to try to embrace the neatly trimmed armpit hair look this summer whilst being self-conscious about it), 2 x temporary medicated fillings (I've never been to the dentist as many times as I have this year), permanent fillings (wish I had looked after my teeth better - can't be bothered to go and count them in the mirror), pants (I've never been into small underwear, these ones I don't wear very often but I need to wash my clothes - they are meant to be not be visible through clothes but I still see them under the new trousers I bought so I'm too self-conscious to wear those too), pubic hair (I've never understood the prepubescent look/can't be bothered with more pain), menstrual cup (wish I had bought one years before I did) and a liner (because the cup still isn't perfect).

I No Longer Blame Myself (5th May 2017)

It was 2008 or 2009 and I was walking to meet my friends at a pub in Newport, where I was in the second year of my BA. I was feeling self-conscious as I think it was the first time that I had worn this top, but it was definitely the first time I had worn it with a pencil skirt that was quite fitted and I possibly only worn the skirt on one other occasion (a costume party). I was about 2 minutes from the pub and was walking right by the shop windows when a young guy rode up beside me on his bike and started to feel my bum. He asked me if I would give him a blowjob whilst he kept touching my bum. I was in shock (because of what was happening and because he looked so young) and my voice seemed to disappear so I couldn't shout out to the people who were walking nearby and I couldn't run as he was trapping me between the shop windows and his bike. I managed to let out a 'no' and 'leave me alone', whilst he continued to say 'come on baby give me a blowjob' whilst touching my bum. After a few rounds of 'come on' and 'no' he got bored and cycled off, leaving me to walk to the pub to meet my friends. I blamed myself for wearing what I wore as this hadn't happened to me on the street before. I donated the skirt to charity a long time ago as I never felt comfortable in it again, but the top has survived many charity giveaways even though I haven't worn it since because I feel self-conscious in it, but liked the idea of one day wearing it out again. I noticed it this morning. After wearing it for this picture to illustrate this story I'm torn between giving it away and wearing it again. It doesn't fit me as well as it did when I was 19/20, but now I feel like wearing it one more time to not let him win. I no longer blame myself...

Jocelyn, can you grow more? (1st January 2018)

From that talk at school where the girls were called into one room and the boys were sent to another, I knew I didn’t want to become a woman.
I also knew that I didn’t want to be the last one either.
When the first sign of blood appeared I called a friend, excited that it had finally arrived after a year or so after the birth of hairs on the mons pubis of a fellow woman-to-be.  
Our teachers yelled at us for hiding in our towels in the changing room showers as we tried to grow accustomed to our changing bodies.
A few bared their flesh, whilst I flashed my parts to the wall for a quick splash.
I shaved my blonde leg hairs off before anyone could mock me for them. A mistake that my now dark hairs remind me of frequently.
In high school I wore a training bra for a chest that didn’t yet need to be trained.
The boys would ask us what pants we were wearing, whilst they talked in maths class about how many fingers they stuck up her last night. I kept my love of big pants to myself.
‘You’re like two paracetamols on an ironing board.’
It seemed like there was a weekly announcement on the growth status of the lumps that I was incubating.
The conclusion was that I was flat-chested.
After another public message I ranted at a friend. ‘Boobs are only for babies! Why do they care so much about my boobs?!’
I listened to stories of back pain by those with cumbersome assets. I told myself that I was okay with my mosquito bites.
I quit sports. I put on weight. I stopped eating properly.
I weighed myself x times a day. Before going to the toilet and after going to the toilet.
I’m glad that being sick grossed me out.
Someone mentioned my thigh gap once. Yes, apparently it was a thing in 2004.
I’m called a fridge for my unwillingness to get close to boys.
I get a boyfriend. People gossip about us. I’m too scared to kiss him. In case he runs away like the last guy.
We break up.
My self-hatred spirals.
People gossip about me. True, they gossip about everyone.
We verbally abuse a girl for sleeping with a few guys, meanwhile the guy who claims he has slept with over 100 girls at the age of 16 can do no wrong.
Times goes by.
I look at old pictures of myself and feel sad that I hated myself so much. I didn’t look that bad.
I read articles by women about how they learn to love themselves in their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s. I don’t want to wait that long.
I go to a dance class and rediscover muscles that I haven’t felt in years. I vow to respect myself more.
Some self-acceptance is learned.
I don’t like dressing up. It makes me feel uncomfortable when I do. I don’t like showing off my body that much.  
It’s not that I think I’m worthy of attention, I just know that being human is enough for some people.
More time goes by.
A guy tells me he usually dates girls with bigger boobs. I say okay.
It doesn’t really register with me what he says until years later.
If I had said something along the same lines about your male anatomy, would you have just said okay?
More time goes by.
I spend the summer of 2017 too scared to show my armpits. I choose the tops that make me sweat as it’s better to sweat and smell than let a stranger on the tube notice the hair emerging from my underarms.
Sweat patches are more socially accepted than body hair right?
If you’re a man you’re allowed to have both.
This isn’t a sob story. (I had to write that as I maintain a fear of being judged).

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