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Illustration: Identity


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"Most important, in order to find real happiness, you must learn to love yourself for the totality of who you are and not just what you look like." ― Portia de Rossi, Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain

Best Friend, Babe and 15 are clay pieces I made while revisiting my teenage years and how I struggled with my identity.

Trying to be as attractive and slim as my mum, my peers and the perfect body adverts, I developed an eating disorder. As my breasts developed I felt betrayed by my body. My behaviour and interests were typically masculine and when I began to develop I felt very 'other' but there was nothing I could do about these rather large aliens protruding under my football top.

I also went through a phase of desperately trying to embrace my body and femininity which was very unhealthy and I was quick to learn that you were meant to be attractive but not to be sexual. I feel it's important to be open about this; young girls receive so many messages from multiple sources about how they should and should not be. I feel we need to have this honest conversation in the age of social media. It was tough enough back then, never mind having your self-worth hung on Instagram likes.

Best friend // Beverley Irving

Babe // Beverley Irving

15 // Beverley Irving

Read more about Mental Health from the National Student

See more work from Beverley Irving here.

Lead Image: Best friend Beverley Irving.

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