How it all began
It was a day in August 2019. I got Whats app messages from our self-help group Lilybelles Nordhessen. Among other things, there was a call to participate in a television program. We were looking for women with lipedema who would like to become self-confident despite lipedema. I leave it and shortly afterwards I forgot. That same evening I saw stories on Instagram and in Corinna's story (@soulfeelingsfotografie) I discovered the same call. I thought why not? You constantly stand in front of the mirror and are dissatisfied with yourself, you are ashamed with bare legs and wonder what someone might think of you. So I took a screenshot and sent it to my husband. Promptly came: "Do it." So said, done - I wrote an application! When I received the answer shortly afterwards that they would be calling soon, I still thought that it would not work anyway.
But when the phone rang the next morning, I knew it could get serious. I learned that it was about a format on Sat.1 that should run at 20:15 p.m. The show should be called "My New Me". They want to accompany people who feel uncomfortable in their body due to an illness, an accident or the like and have little or no self-confidence. The film should be shot on Mykonos in early October. As luck would have it, I was free during that time. Many phone calls and emails followed, a casting in my living room and at some point I was accepted.
This was followed by a day of filming with my family and me in private before going to Mykonos in early October. As the day approached, my excitement grew. I had only flown a few times before. To travel completely alone into the completely unknown was my first test of courage. There was also the strange feeling of being without my daughter and my husband.
A journey into the unknown
I had agreed and so after a night shift I started my journey early in the morning and boarded the plane from Frankfurt to Athens and from there to Mykonos at noon. I didn't know exactly what or who would be expecting me.
The trip was quite relaxed, although it is not so easy as a lipedema girl in a tight plane. But that's another topic.
I landed in Mykonos late in the evening and was met by the production team at the airport and taken to a hotel. It should start the next noon. The night was restless. I phoned my husband a few more times until the next lunchtime and was really excited.
The production team came at noon and picked me up. Then we picked up the other two: Nadine and Francis. I found out why they were there. Nadine had both breasts amputated because of the BRCA1 breast cancer gene. The surgery or the healing did not go according to plan and therefore she was very unhappy with the result. In addition, after having three children, she had massive problems with her stomach and the excess skin there. Francis is a very slim man and it just doesn't make him feel manly enough. The three of us liked each other straight away and I was sure that we would have a good time. A few more pictures were taken and then we went to the villa. Our excitement increased because neither of us knew what to expect there.
We entered the villa and sat by the pool. And then came the moment that I will never forget. We sat there and talked nicely and suddenly I saw Francis lose all facial features. I turned around and then I also saw our (almost) naked coaches. All three of us were stunned. Nobody had expected that. When the title of the show followed, I was in deep shock.
I was not at “My new me”, but at “No body is perfect - the nude experiment”.
The nude experiment
Oh my god, what was it that I got into? The shock was there. I was immediately afraid of what others might think of me. What if this is on TV? What are people saying I would have loved to take my suitcase and leave. But it was useless, I was there now and ready to face the whole thing. I realized that the four days there will simply revolve around me. No child, no man, no household, no job, just me and my damaged self-confidence. In addition, we were told we won't do anything we don't want. That calmed me down and I was ready for the nude experiment.
The background to it all is that a British psychologist has found that people feel more comfortable when they spend time with other naked people and time with their own naked bodies. The aim of our stay should be to jump naked into the sea on day four.
We got our first assignment right on the first evening. We should go to sleep, stand naked in front of the mirror for 20 minutes and look at ourselves. We should say three negative and three positive things about our body. There was this task every evening. And without wanting to spoil at this point: it is really healing. From evening to evening you look at yourself with different eyes and become more forgiving of your body.
Day 2 held the next task ready. photographer Silvana Thinker called for the swimwear photoshoot. I was allowed to start and was supposed to act as a Bond Girl. For me it was a completely new experience to be self-confident despite lipedema. I ended up feeling uncomfortable especially in swimwear and with bare legs. Thanks to the motivating words of Sandra Wurster and Daniel Schneider, however, I increasingly trusted myself and it was even fun.
In the afternoon I had the next task and I drove to the beach with Sandra. We walked a bit together and talked about why I attend and why mine self-confidence was so kinked .. Since I've always been strong, I was teased in my youth. As a result, I just felt insecure and didn't like myself. We talked about it openly in conversation with Sandra.
Then I should go into the water in the tankini. That very moment was always my fight. As soon as I was bare-legged and lightly dressed, I felt uncomfortable because I couldn't hide anything. Over the years, my compression has simply become a piece of security. The more I went to the sea and back, the safer I became. I noticed how much it makes your own attitude. Because if you walk upright with your head held high, you have a completely different feeling about yourself and feel more secure.
As a reward we went to stand up paddling. My first thought was what might someone think who sees me doing it. But when we started and tried to get on the boards in the water, all thoughts were gone. I was so focused on myself that it didn't matter.
This moment really moved me forever. I've learned that life is too short to go without things just because others might think something of you.
In the evening, the mirror task was again to come. On the second evening it was much easier to look at each other that long and you were more forgiving with yourself.
Day 3 started relaxed and we had time to ourselves and enjoyed the sun. In the afternoon we were presented with the next task; the body painting. We were allowed to choose motifs ourselves. When I went to my room, I thought about showing myself in underwear as much as possible and choosing dark colors. Liz Webster was waiting for me in my room. We both had a short conversation the day before and we were in direct contact with each other. I was relieved and ready to get involved in the project. Liz asked me what I like and what my favorite colors are. I felt that I was in good hands and spontaneously decided to let paint what I like and what defines me. And I definitely don't care about dark colors. I chose white, pink, and pink. Liz conjured up a wonderful floral design. We chatted about God and the world, about my family and my daughter. We had the idea to depict the love of mom and child and the only motive that Liz had with us was a deer with a fawn. It couldn't have been more appropriate. Thank you universe.
I felt sick when they said I have to get out. I had a strange feeling just doing body painting in front of the coaches and my colleagues. But when I came around the corner and everyone was clapping and I saw their faces, I was relieved. Strangely enough, I didn't feel naked, I felt good. I stood there, only in bikini bottoms and with body painting. Nothing hid my stomach, nothing hid my legs and I felt beautiful. That moment was really great. I could feel as comfortable as I am. Also that evening I went in front of the mirror and it was the first evening I had nothing to complain about.
Of course I didn't think everything was beautiful, but I made peace.
I could see myself as I am. I even felt a certain gratitude for my legs and the path I had to walk through them. Because without my illness, without those fat legs, I would never have flown to Mykonos. I would never have found myself like this.
The Naked Beach
The last day followed! Day 4 - the day of the "Naked Beach". Because the aim of the nude experiment was to be so at ease with yourself on the last day that you jump naked into the sea.
But before that, another task awaited us. We were allowed to choose a coach and were supposed to stand naked between two towels for five minutes. I chose Sandra. Sandra is a very attractive woman for me and I had noticed in the last few days that we have a very similar physique. This task was therefore not a problem and was done quickly.
Then we had to make our decisions. Was I confident enough, despite lipedema, to go to the beach naked? I made my decision and then I went to the "Naked Beach" in my bathrobe.
I made up my mind not to jump into the sea naked. The background to it all is simply that the lack of pants would not have changed my self-confidence. I also didn't want to be so publicly naked. Because this area belongs only to me and my husband and to nobody else. So I presented myself in underpants and then it went into the sea. 4 days of naked experiments were behind me. 4 days that really changed a lot in me.
Confident despite lipedema?
Can you be self-confident despite lipedema? I can now answer this question with a very clear yes. "No body is perfect" Above all, taught me one thing: It doesn't matter what other people think of you. It is important that you do things yourself that make you happy! I made all the decisions on this show for myself. For the first time in my life I was unable to speak to my husband, girlfriends or family. It was really weird. Because I'm usually someone who asks ten times what someone else thinks of it. This time it didn't work and that was exactly what was important to me. I made decisions and had to stand by them afterwards.
In retrospect, this was the biggest challenge of the nude experiment for me. To face the public with my decisions was tough. Especially the fact that my participation appeared as an article in the Extra Tip made me nervous. I was on the front page and it ended up in every mailbox in my county.
But all's well that ends well. In conclusion, I would like to say the following:
Do what is good for you, wear what you want. Don't worry about the opinions of others because there will always be someone who thinks you are stupid.
And never forget: “You are unique, unique and imperfectly perfect!”.Thanks to Sandra Wurster for this sentence
Dear Anna, you did a great job. You are such a beautiful young woman with awesome charisma. You can see your joie de vivre and you can encourage other affected people to face their fears and doubts. Hats off, a very well written blog. I wish you all the best and good luck.
Many greetings Claudia ♀️