Like many gay people at a young age, I never felt comfortable in my body. I came out to my friends at 16, but not to my family until I turned 21. During my early 20’s I wasn’t on the scene much, and always spent my time with my straight friends. Whenever I did go to gay pubs and clubs, I usually went on my own and I would be very shy, and any interaction with a guy would lead to a high level of anxiety. I would never get naked, I would try and hide my body, and even waxed as I hated being hairy.
I got into my first relationship at 28, and it lasted a few years. During this time I wasn’t in a happy place and gained weight. When we ended, it was time for a change. I lost the weight and spent more time in Soho, London, meeting new people. I started to embrace my body and let the shyness slip. To help, I started doing little things; taking showers at the gym and letting it all hang out, I grew a beard and stopped waxing. After a few weeks I was being referred to as a “bear” and I loved it.
In 2015 I took part in a naked photoshoot, something I had never done before and it left me feeling so empowered. Being naked is something I love, and it helps me to promote body confidence. Since that first shoot, i’ve been involved in several others, and each of them increases the confidence I now adore.
My body is me, and I will never let anyone put me down.