International Women’s Day: Nikki’s Empowerment Shoot

“I would love to be able to accept and even celebrate my body, for all that it’s carried me through, and how strong and miraculous the human body truly is.”

What Nikki hoped to receive from this shoot

I’d love to be able to embrace all that I am. I have many scars, after multiple surgeries and injuries. I have never felt comfortable in my body, always seeing the flaws and evidence of trauma. I would love to be able to accept and even celebrate my body, for all that it’s carried me through, and how strong and miraculous the human body truly is.

I’d like to be able to have images that reflect a turning point in my life, where I can be authentic and happy. I also think that empowering images will inspire other women – to help them celebrate their bodies, no matter what. To help them see that social media isn’t real and nothing for them to aspire to! I keep reminding myself that I am perfectly imperfect- now I’d like to truly believe that

What Nikki’s love note to herself…

“You are perfectly imperfect”

Nikki’s Story

I’ve never had much confidence, either in my appearance or what I have to offer in relationships. I’ve always felt like I don’t fit in, or belong – and I’ve become more and more introverted over the years. I have recently been diagnosed with Autism and ADHD, which came as a huge shock -‘whilst also making total sense.

I’m going through a slow process of forgiving myself for always feeling like I wasn’t good enough, and being a failure. Letting go of limiting beliefs and judgement from myself and others. I’m doing a lot of work on my mindset, spiritual growth and finding positive ways to know my life forward. I’m hoping to build meaningful friendships, and have positive, kind people on my life.

I saw the post on Facebook, and this felt like it would be a perfect step in my journey of self acceptance and love, whilst connecting with like minded women.

When Ginny & Lauren asked me to share my story, my brain went into a spin – thoughts got muddled and I didn’t know where to start! Which brings me perfectly to the place to start my story!

I’m 46 and have recently been diagnosed with Inattentive Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Having spent my entire life thinking that I was just rubbish at coping with day-to-day life – feeling everyone was better at adulting than me – it was a relief to finally find out why I’d felt the way I had, for as long as I remembered.

What I wasn’t prepared for, was the psychiatrist explaining to me that I’d passed the threshold for moderate autism. Autism, he said. He explained, with absolute kindness, why he had made this diagnosis – and told me he would be making a recommendation for a full autism assessment. I was knocked for six. I had thoroughly researched ADHD, prior to reaching out to my GP for help – so this was not a shock for me, in fact – it was a relief.

When I heard the word ‘autism’, I felt like he’d got it wrong – because I didn’t fit the stereotype of what I imagined someone with autism to have. He kindly pointed me in the direction of where I could find out more and help me to understand the impact of ADHD and autism masking each other. As I read more, I began to see so much of myself in the stories of other women, who, like me – had been diagnosed in later life.

I read the stories with tears in my eyes, an utter feeling of relief and the fact I am not alone. I can now see where ADD and autism show up for me, and how they have impacted my life. It’s triggered a combination of emotions – anger, confusion, and sadness, but mostly, of empowerment, self-forgiveness and understanding.

I feel like I am the start of a whole new chapter of my life, where I can finally be authentic, and learn who I truly am. To be honest, I’m impressed that I’ve managed to get to 46 – juggling with my challenges and emotions and knowing how to play to my strengths and mask and hide the bits I find hard. There are so many positives in having ADD and Autism, I truly believe I wouldn’t be who I am, and where I am – without the gifts that come with them.

On the other side of this coin is the sadness and realisation that I have led a very isolated and insular life, in my bid to manage my anxieties, triggers and utter confusion about being an adult in a world I find really overwhelming. I really struggle with social interactions, I get overwhelmed with too much noise, lots of people, bright light – the distractions literally make me feel sick and dizzy.

I can’t figure people out – I’ve learned to be versions of myself that best serve the people I’m with, and the environment I’m in, leaving me feeling exhausted, drained, and fake. Always, like I don’t fit it, that I’m flawed, that I’m not good enough. This has led me to periods of depression and sometimes, crippling anxiety.

I saw Ginny promoting the Empowerment shoot a few weeks after my diagnosis. Everything about it put me out of my comfort zone and challenges my inner desire to retreat and hide away. But, I wanted to see this as an opportunity, to stepping into an authentic version of myself.

I want to embrace the wonderful elements of ADD and Autism, and empower other women, like me – to celebrate their gifts.

I want to step up and break the stereotype of what someone with ADD and Autism looks like, to help change the perceptions and assumptions, and to somehow be part of a positive movement, to understand and reframe what being on the spectrum looks like.

I knew I’d be terrified when the shoot day came. I had to fight my overwhelming desire to cancel – fearing social interactions, mixing with others, breaking my routine, and not having control over how things go. But I showed up, put my big girl pants on, and started my journey of being authentic!

When I think about why I was terrified, it was because I know there will be people that don’t believe I have ADD and Autism – I don’t fit their version of either. I have already had this from someone in my close circle. And, I thought to myself, ‘that is the EXACT reason why I MUST do this.’

We have got to be better at recognising and embracing neurodiversity in our communities. To help to see the wonderful gifts it brings, and to help us all to get along better, be more understanding.

I am lucky to have my own business, which I absolutely love. I help women to feel confident and happy in their skin, often after trauma. As a skin and scar specialist, I love working with my scar clients – to help given them freedom to wear clothes and show up, in a way that makes them happy. I also ease the challenges of ageing, by helping my clients to look and feel fabulous, and keep those pesky signs of ageing at bay!

Having a positive impact on other people’s confidence is so rewarding, I am lucky to have found my purpose in life. I have found my vocation and purpose.

Now it’s time to find that joy in the personal areas of my life. I am excited to learn how I can play to my strengths, and find ways to bring more joy, balance, and happiness into my life. I am excited for a new beginning, to find my ‘tribe’, and to learn how to show up authentically, and not hide away.

I really hope that my story will inspire other women who, like me, have been hiding away. I hope that we can all find more joy, happiness, and a sense of community together.

Nikki’s advice to you lovely reader

Reach out for help and support.

Forgive yourself for all the times that you have beaten yourself up for not being good enough.

Know that you are gifted, unique and brilliant.

Reach out and find someone to support you, that can help you to find more joy and happiness in your life.

Know you’re not alone, I am your tribe!

HOW TO CONNECT WITH NIKKI

If you’d like to know more about Nikki, her story and her business then do reach out to her. If you’ve been inspired by her story then I’m sure she would love to hear from you.

Email : Nikki@nikkibutler.co.uk

Website : https://www.nikkibutler.co.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NikkiButlerSkin

Flowers for the shoot were provided by the beautiful, talented Nia of Luv Shifting Flowers: https://luvshiftingflowers.com/flowers/

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