PUBLISHED ON: 9 October 2019

Before cancer, Emi struggled with her body image. She explains why her relationship with her body is now better than ever, and shares tips for women struggling with their body image after treatment. 

 Emi

I subscribed to the ‘female code’ of body shame 

I was diagnosed with primary breast cancer in 2013. I was 33 years old. My treatment included four operations, and seven rounds of chemotherapy.

Before breast cancer, my relationship with my body was what I'd call typical of a 33-year-old. I’d subscribed to the ‘female code’ of body shame – I’d look for ways to improve or fix my body, and publicly put myself down. 

Emi during treatment

After my diagnosis, I realised I’d been an idiot for thinking about my body in this way! Breast cancer made me realise that I needed my body, and that it was important to work on having a better relationship with it. As I recovered, I had to work with, not against, my body. 

I posed for photos to capture my recovery 

I started to become fascinated by the changes that were happening to my body. So I asked a photographer, Jaine Briscoe Price, to embark on a project with me to capture its recovery. 

Photograph of Emi from her photoshoot 

It was an impulsive decision to reach out to Jaine – I had no idea that I was starting a ‘love affair’ with my body. Seeing my body in the photographs reminded me of its strength and beauty. It's resilience.  

Photograph of Emi from her photoshoot

Jaine, who is now a good friend, would ask me to sum up each of the nine photography shoots we did in one word. When I did this, it would help me focus on what I was feeling in my body as it recovered. To connect with it.  

Emi jumping

Focus on what your body can do 

If you’re struggling with your body confidence after treatment, it can help to focus on what your body can do and is constantly doing. 

Emi by the water 

I try to think about the millions of cells in my body just coolly striving to achieve health. Or, the things our bodies enable us to do, from covering our basic needs, to providing us with special talents or hobbies. The ability to give love, make humans, and recover.  

Emi blogs about body image on www.bodequality.com and @thecancernude.
Photo shoot by http://www.jainebriscoe-price.co.uk/ 

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