When we’re feeling bad about ourselves, it can be hard to take advice from parents, friends or partners without thinking they must just be biased.
Yet accepting pearls of wisdom from someone else who has been through hell and back, can help us relate and give us ideas on how to move forward.
That’s exactly what Amy Marie, aka ‘the fairy godmother of confidence’, hopes to do.
Speaking to Uspire, the dance teacher and host of Coffee with a side of Confidence podcast, revealed just how she found her inner self-worth after hitting rock bottom.
Amy, 34, said: “Being the Fairy Godmother of Confidence is something I kind of fell into.
“Now, I don’t go around dishing out ball gowns to people, but I do go around dishing out skills, affirmations, tools, and tips to empower and promote confidence, hence the name.”
Amy continued: “Back in 2017, I broke up with my boyfriend of seven years because I had found out he was cheating on me.
“I was extremely overweight and depressed and not dancing or doing much for myself. I had got into this lifestyle of trying to make him happy so he wouldn’t cheat on me and in doing so, I cheated myself.
“That same year, two uncles and two aunts died and my dog had to be put down because he had cancer. All of this happened over eight months in one year. I was a mess. I felt unworthy of love, felt betrayed by everyone, and I hated my life. I felt like I was a mirror that had been smashed into a million pieces and I couldn’t see myself anymore.”
So, what did Amy do? She started to pick up the broken pieces, one at a time.
She explained: “I started a routine to get myself out of bed. I talked about everything to everyone, even strangers. I was openly embarrassed and ashamed and trying to go on.
“I became vegan and paid attention to what I put in my body. I regularly went to the gym and started dancing again. In a year I lost 65lbs and gained my sanity back.
“But that wasn’t enough. I was loving how I looked on the outside, but I needed to heal and love myself on the inside as well. That took time.”
With reflection and retrospection, alongside affirmations and exercises, Amy got to a place where she started to feel like herself again.
She also fell in love – this time with herself instead of another guy. Amy also began to accept who she was and who she is meant to be.
The LA native said: “People started stopping me on the street saying I have this glow, this aura. People in my close circle also said, ‘You inspire me so much, what did you do?’
“I kept having the same conversations with people, so I decided to start holding sessions; I began ‘How to be confident in front of the camera’ and started my podcast with a friend.
“I noticed how I was creating this community, this group of women (for now, I also hope to connect with men and non-binary people) who are loving themselves more and more.
“One of my students said, ‘Omg, Amy you are like my fairy godmother, you granted me confidence,’ and that’s when it stuck.”
While launching her self-worth army, Amy connected with childhood friends online and was surprised to hear that she had a reputation for being confident when she was young.
She then had to correct them, saying she was following the ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ path, which has now worked its magic and left her feeling like she can overcome any hurdle.
Amy is keen to stress that despite achieving a great mindset of confidence, there are still brain wobble days where she feels insecure and doubts herself.
In order to combat this, she reminds herself that confidence is like a muscle.
She explained: “If you don’t use it, you lose it. There are exercises you should regularly do, sometimes flex that muscle every once in a while, but in a healthy way.
“I tend to find something I know I am really good at and do it as soon as my confidence starts to lose its definition.
“Sometimes it is a photoshoot, or a dance class, or sitting in my room staring at the wall and thinking about everything I have done and gone through to be at this point today.
“And sure enough, that confidence muscle is strong and ready for more reps.”
Reflecting on how she would like to see attitudes change on body image so that our future generations can grow up in a world where beauty stereotypes do not define their worth, Amy says she would like to see more discussion around mental education.
Amy said: “By addressing more mental health issues, we can discuss and break down why we think/see/feel a certain way with certain bodies. We all see bodies differently.
“How we see bodies is based upon so many things. If we can address more of how our brain works and say, ‘Look, there is a thigh. It connects the torso, to the limb, and it helps you walk,’ and not have these ‘thick thighs save lives’ or ‘thin thighs suck’ mottos. If we can do a better job with that, I think it will make a huge impact on the community.”
Amy is doing all she can to change the value of words in her mind and looks forward to the day when people describe others not based on size, but inner values.
She concluded: “Until we commercialise all bodies, describing sizes with typical words like ‘plus size’ are what we have.
“I used to call myself a ‘plus size dancer’ or ‘plus size model’. Now, I find myself starting to say ‘I am a model’ or ‘I am a dancer’ more though and that makes my heart sing.”
Asked what she uses as her coping mechanisms, Amy says that dance is her go-to strategy to express the toxic emotions inside her.
She confided: “I started out in dance as a ballerina, but I was fat. That’s right, a fat ballerina who LOVED doing ballet (and any other form of dance).
“Dance and I have a tricky relationship, but dance is where my confidence took its first hit. Other dancers and instructors made me hate my body and feel discouraged.
“Oddly enough though, now dance has become my strength. I have danced on and off since I was three-years-old, it was a magnet and I always got drawn back.”
Amy added: “Once I realised that doing something that is healthy for mind and body, and doesn’t have a dollar amount or value attached to it, that’s when I fell in love with dance.
“I have used dance as a form of exercise, expression, and therapy. In 2017, when I was going through that hard time, I made a dance piece about it. It was 33-minutes long.
“I talked and danced and screamed and yelled and cried and collapsed in a heap on the floor every month for a year. It was cathartic. It helped process horribly intense feelings.
“When I dance, a sense of release of whatever I am feeling comes out. Dance may have started out as my weakness but dance ultimately became my strength.”
Right then, just off to blare out some Spotify…
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