I peered at myself in the mirror, grimacing at the reflection. Though I had changed, and blossomed over the years, sometimes I still saw that gawky kid in the reflection. The one who was teased for the way she looked, the way she acted, who she was. The girl with the small boobs, who dreamed of having a boob job, to feel more confident in her own skin. The insults would come in thick and fast; they would say that I never ate, that I looked anorexic, and was ‘too masculine looking’. They made fun of my crooked teeth, and how I smiled. My zany personality was off limits too.I was seen as the weirdo, the girl who people didn’t want to be friends with. For a long time, I had body dysmorphia, cringing at the way I looked. There was little that I liked about myself, and I didn’t understand what others saw in me. And yet, the years have been kind to me.I have come a long way since my teens, and feel more body confident than ever before. Hell, I am doing lingerie shoots with Hanky Panky! Sure, I still have my moments, but brands like Hanky Panky’s lingerie bring out the sassy confidence that lays within.
Although I struggle with self-confidence, and self-esteem at times, I am much more nurturing than I was before. I have learned to embrace my small boobs, and cherish my body. I appreciate my physique, and understand that it is unique to me. I can’t change the way I look, just as much as you can’t change your genetics. My body is a part of me, and I have learned to shower it with self-love, and care. If you had asked me 7 years ago, whether I would have done a lingerie shoot, I would have laughed. I struggled even to take swimwear pictures, and was uncomfortable showing too much skin. But now look at me, embracing all those imperfections and flaws that people held against me. Because to me, they are a part of me, and always will be.
I will admit, I was surprised at myself at saying yes. After all, I am not 100% comfortable with lingerie shoots, because its out of my comfort zone. But I have learned that sometimes it is important to get ‘comfortable with the idea of being comfortable’ in order to push boundaries. To you, it might seem like something small. But to me, this was big. It felt empowering, and encouraged me to continue being body positive. Coupled with the fact that I am currently ill, and dealing with trauma, loss, and grief, it might seem like the last thing I would want to do. And yet it was healing. It had been a while since I had truly looked at my body, since I had gained some weight, and it felt good. Don’t get me wrong, I was still slim, but had put weight on my stomach, bum, boobs, and face. I liked it.
Although I said in the past that I was body positive, I don’t think I truly meant it until now. Why? Because I am older, wiser, and couldn’t give two flying frogs about what people think. I am done trying to conform to unrealistic societal expectations, and norms. Instead, I am just going to carry on being me. My boobs might still be small, my stomach might not be flat, but who cares? What matters is how good I feel in my own skin. It’s not to say that I don’t have insecurities. The ghost of a younger me still haunts me and threatens to pull me under. The one who whispers criticicisms in my ear. You will never be pretty enough, smart enough, good enough. You are never enough. The naysayer that reminds me of events past and present. Unwarranted remarks on my weight, and the way I looked. Making assumptions without knowing my story.
While I am slim naturally, I also have a long-term stomach condition which affects me daily. I have a combination of GERD (gastro-oesophagul-reflux disease), Gastritis, and IBS, where I have too much acid in my body. As I result I am physically sick (throwing up) most days, and struggle to keep certain foods down. Without a shadow of a doubt this affects my weight, and maintaining weight, but it is something I am working on. At university, and years after, I was sick after every meal. Now, I am sick every few days. Some weeks I am lucky, and don’t have any sickness. Coupled with Anxiety, and Depression, it is never a fun mix, but I have learned to adapt, and make lifestyle changes. I don’t tell many people, because I just get on with it. But its the response I feel like having when people make comments about the way I look. Whether I lose weight, or put on weight, people always have something to say.
So granted, people will probably have something to say about me posting underwear pictures. But you know what, I feel liberated, I feel sexy, and above all powerful. It’s not that the lingerie made me magically confident overnight, but its just that it helped. It allowed me see my body in a new light, and embrace every curve, swerve and lump. I never saw myself as someone who was sexy. After all I am goofy, zany, and creative. But Hanky Panky made me feel sexy again.
It helped that the printed signature lace retro thong, and matching bralette was gorgeous. The blue, red, and yellow floral bralette (in Wild Bloom) was like something out of a Hollywood movie. I became a 50’s starlet, with red sheeny lips, running my fingers through the soft longline bralette. And yet, unlike other bras I owned, it was comfortable, providing support in all the right places. There was no digging into my back, or unwanted pain. Instead there was utter sheer bliss. It transformed the way I saw myself. It was almost like I had turned into a powerful vixen overnight. I adjusted the straps, and looked back in the mirror. It felt right. It didn’t over accentuate my breasts. Instead it felt natural, gently cupping them in oodles of love.
Once an A cup, I spent much of my adult life as a 32 B. In the last year, I had gone up a cup to 32 C, and felt amazing. Yet, I didn’t mind my smaller boobs either. After all, small boobs meant I could wear what I wanted, when I wanted. Hell, if I wanted to, I could forgo the bra altogether. It felt swishy, elegant and grown up. It had been so long since I found a bra that was comfortable, that I almost wept with joy. While most of the time, people don’t see what is under our clothes, the confidence it gives you is what counts. The same goes for pants too. Alongside a stomach condition I also have an issue with periods, as well as other health issues. Unlike most people, I have heavy periods that last an extremely long time. With that in mind I often wear period pants, when I am on.
I have forgone tampons in favour of more natural (and comfortable options), so wearing ‘beautiful underwear’ is a luxury. So imagine my delight to have an ‘off day’ and be able to wear the matching set, in all its vibrant, bold glory. The lace thong was comfortable, with a wide waistband. It was weird for me to own a pair of thongs that was actually comfortable, so I was pleasantly surprised. Hanky Panky had delivered the goods, and it felt oh so good. It made a welcome change from the period pants, and I loved the ‘high waisted retro feel’ of the look. The extra generous band of lace hugged my midsection deliciously, helping me feel more confident in my skin. Why? Because I prefer swimwear, and underwear that is high-waisted.
I shimmied, and wiggled, testing out the underwear in its entirerity. It had passed the dancing test with flying colours. In particular the thong was a body positivity booster. It hugged my figure in all the right places, and left my partner wanting more, more, more. There was the sexiness factor that traditional thongs offered but it was also effortlessly easy too. It didn’t ride up (either end), didn’t feel ill fitting, and didn’t rub or inflame my skin either. Because my skin is sensitive, some underwear can irritate my skin. And yet Hanky Panky was flawless, home to the world’s most comfortable thong. Made by women for women, their underwear collection was the epitome of body self-confidence.
After all, it was important that women felt uplifted, whether they were wearing a thong, boy shorts, or a cute lace vest. Sexiness comes from within, and the lingerie helped me live my best most confident life. I was always someone who marched to the beat of her own drum. I believed in being my own original, and supported brands who shared my passion too. It wasn’t just that the lingerie from Hanky Panky helped me feel all sheeny, and new. The body-positive underwear brand was ethical, and sustainable too.Rooted in integrity, their values never wavered. They would create, and continue to curate slow fashion practices, and fair rewards. Since 2017, the company has been owned by all their employees.
I felt good knowing that Hanky Panky was ethical, and cruelty-free, which in turn made my body feel unreal. The underwear that I was wearing was made fairly, and from natural fabrics. Both the bralette, and thong felt like butter on my skin. It was incredible how little I felt the underwear. What I did feel was soft serenity, enveloped in lace. It was almost like the underwear God’s had plucked it straight out of heaven, and onto mortal beings. I had a sneaking suspicion that I would be buying more underwear from Hanky Panky. After all, with a range of prints, textures, shapes, and sizes, there really was something for everyone.
They didn’t just say that they were body positive, but they showed it with actions. They worked with models, creators, and people from all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, sexualities, and backgrounds. Unlike traditional underwear brands who used models in a tokenistic way, it felt real and authentic. There was little editing, and models were shown in the bodies that their mama gave them. There were stretch marks lovingly featured, women both young and old, and a pride campaign that felt truly special. Nothing seemed forced, or ‘for the gram’. Instead, it was clear to see that Hanky Panky really was for everybody. Whether you were a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, a plus size Queen, or a mum, Hanky Panky was for everyone. There were no labels here.
So what was on my wishlist? The Purple Pansy Low Rise Thong and matching bralette was calling my name, in a swirl of colour. The Harmony Printed Signature Lace Cami, was beautiful too, with the signature lace boyshorts. And who could forget the Bohemian Stripe Triangle Bralette, and Low Rise Thong in pastel colours. If there was one over-arching theme in Hanky Panky land, it was tonnes of colour. As a colour maven, the colours I wear play a big part in my body-positivity journey. So I tend to gravitate towards bright, and bold colours, as well as light pastels, rather than neutrals, to feel sexier in my own skin. And so, the post was coming to an end. Yet the journey was only just beginning. I wouldn’t shy away from lingerie, if it made me feel like a Goddess. Instead, I would embrace my body (quirks and all), and let go of the past.
Does Lingerie Help You Feel Body Confident?
Please note I was gifted this underwear set in exchange for this blog post, but all thoughts are my own, and is not affected by PR samples. Please see below for a handy discount code, and link to get money off body-confident lingerie today!
FOLLOWER DISCOUNT CODE: Ana_HankyPanky20