We sat down with six women to discuss the stories and wisdom they've learnt thus far on their journey of self-love and self-exploration. Without knowing our whole selves, fears, and flaws, we cannot truly love ourselves. Self-love and self-knowledge are inextricably linked. Self-knowledge flows from self-exploration. Self-exploration is self-care. Meet the beautifully soft and wise Annais.

Q: What were three insecurities that you had when you were younger? How did you overcome them?

a) Not fitting in

I think this was a big one for me. Through school I don't think I perfectly found my place. I was myself around individual people but not as much around groups and I think that's where it came from. At uni I found more like-minded people and felt like I began to be comfortable with myself. I’m still learning how to be completely comfortable and confident in myself, but that is a huge thing to overcome and will take time.

b) Being different

I think this is every young girls insecurity. It's the world we live in now. It’s impossible not to compare yourself to how others look, what they wear or who has nicer hair. I guess having red hair, pale skin and freckles made it even harder to ignore the fact that I looked “different”. Over time I learnt to love my hair and my freckles. It makes me different from everyone else and I think that's so special these days when everyone is trying to be or look like someone else.Although it is still very difficult because there’s definitely colours I CANNOT wear.

c) Not being good enough

I guess this is quite general- but I think everyone has this thought. Part of this is physical and not being good enough or skinny enough for other people. The other part is not being smart enough or successful enough. My family are all extremely academic and each member is successful in what they chose to do, so failing was never really an option. I have found that I relate success in life directly with how successful you are in your chosen career. With a brother who is now a doctor and studies so so hard, and a sister who is working with a huge construction company and rising so quickly, it’s hard not to feel like I’m not as “good” as them.

My mum was extremely successful in her career and dad too so I guess there’s a large part of me that doesn’t want to let them down. There’s a lot to live up to I guess….and I put that pressure on myself although it also scares me to death. I think a lot of overcoming this is understanding and realizing it, but also being content with where I am at the moment and understanding that everyone does things differently. I also am beginning to realise that everything I’ve been through is not the norm, and I am allowed to do things differently and take more time if I need.


Q: What are you like in the conflict?

Not as strong as I’d like to be, that's for sure. I think I’m easily persuaded. I’m someone who likes to listen to other peoples views and therefore also let’s them dominate my own. I’ll go into conflict with a clear idea of what I believe but will only make ¼ of it clear to someone. I think I am quite scared of others not agreeing or liking me. I don't like upsetting people at all. I think I’m a little afraid of disagreeing with people, hurting people or even letting them down.

Q: What makes you nervous?

The future- this is a big one. I know I think about it too much. This became very clear when my mum passed away. The main things I would get upset over were to do with the future… not having her at my wedding, not having someone to help teach me how to look after my kids, not having someone to help me make basic life decisions. I hate the unknown. And that was a massive part of her illness. Not knowing what was going to happen next or how quickly everything was going to decline, which made it that much harder. The future scares me so much because I want to be successful and proud of myself but I don't know yet if I will be proud of my future self.

Q: How would you describe yourself in five words? Please explain why you have chosen each word

  • Caring  I really care about my friends a lot and would do anything to make someone happy or cheer them up when they're feeling down
  • Devoted  I think this showed when I cared for mum when she was sick and put a lot of my own life aside to help her. The people that mean the most to me I am completely devoted to.
  • Adventurous – I love trying new things and going on adventures.
  • Compromising – I’m unsure if this is always a good thing but I find I am a people pleaser and am happy to settle to help other people.
  • Selfless  I do like to help others in any way I can and try as much as I can to think of others first

Q: What is your relationship to sex?

It’s changed a lot. But I think now that I have emotionally matured it can mean a lot more and be a lot more. I have really found that I need to be not only physically comfortable, but emotionally okay to really enjoy it.  It’s been really hard while going through a lot of grief to still want it as much. The more emotions there are the more exhausted I am and the harder it has been to focus my energy on it. It’s really up and down. I am definitely not the most confident or comfortable person with it at all. But when I feel safe and happy it can be so amazing.

Q: What are five things that make you really difficult to live with?

  1. I leave the milk out- definitely learnt this one from my dad!
  2. When I’m feeling upset, or in particular grief about mum, I allow it to turn into anger and can take that out on those around me. Which I know isn’t fair at all and I am getting much better at it, but I guess it's a coping mechanism that I have to learn to change.
  3. I can be very stressed when running late.
  4. Messy room (although clean the rest of the house.. my room is just always a bit of a mess)
  5. There always needs to be chocolate in the house
Q: What does your self-care practice look like? Do you have any rituals?
Sitting with my emotions is my biggest and best self-care practice. Letting myself be sad and feel what I’m feeling and allowing it to come outhas been the best self-care practice I’ve learnt by far. It has helped me get through everything. It has allowed me to release all of the buildup of emotions inside me and be more comfortable with the thought of my mum not being around anymore. This I learnt from my psych, which is another self-care practice of mine. It has made a huge difference in my life by teaching me so much about myself and why I am the way I am or why I’m feeling the way I feel.
In terms of physical things, I recently got inspired by a friend who started water painting- not that I am any good or in the slightest artistic. Yoga when I can or when I really need an hour to escape my thoughts. This helped so much when mum was sick and I was one of her main carers- to be able to get out of the house and give my brain a rest from all the tension for a little. Cooking or baking. I really enjoy baking and the thought of making something that makes others feel good but also I enjoy doing is really nice.
Annais wears the DANCING tee and the BLUE RELAXATION SCARF.