Morgan Raleigh Campbell is from California and she lives in a van, traveling full time with her husband and dog around Europe. During their time in Spain we met and we talked about bodies, women, acceptance and self-confidence.
We women are subjected to judgments about our bodies from a very young age. “As first long as I can remember, I’ve been aware of my body, consciously and unconsciously taking in the feedback that other people talk about bodies, mental health and taboo things in general”
When taking pictures of ourselves, we tend to discard hundreds of them because we think we don’t look good, and this is a problem that affects our self-confidence. Raleigh tells us how she felt during a self-portrait session, and how these pictures have helped her reconcile with her body.
“I felt free and comfortable, and that’s amazing. Photographs is one of the key elements to anything that has changed my relationship with my body, both photographs and telling my story publicly” But, when we talk about bodies “Sometimes we compare ourselves to the way other love themselves, not with their bodies but with their confidence”
She encourages women to accept our bodies and normalize cellulitis, body hair, … It’s a process and we don’t feel the same way every day. “I still have those days too, and I think for a lot of people they find some bubbles where they start to feel comfortable whether it’s like a small part of the internet, a few people the can be around”
For instance, “Body hair it’s something you actually have control over, you can shave it, you can get rid of it, you can keep it. There’s some level of control you can have over it. Much faster than body weight or cellulite.
But how do we get to normalize our body and accept it as it is without others’ help? “People standing in this middle zone where from one perspective people could think that they are “normal”, they work for a tech company but also go surfing for a week and they don’t shower for two weeks. I think the people that stand there have so much impact, they are more interesting and beautiful because they are not changing their appearance”
“I still feel really insecure about my body, I’m still comparing myself with other people. This is an uncommon advice but when there’s something you wanna change about yourself, surround yourself with the people that have already made that change or already lived that thing that you want to live. When we feel insecure we tend to isolate ourselves, most of us can’t make changes to feel more confident in our body, to embrace it because the people we have around are just as tied up in the pain of all of it as we are.”
And what about social media?
“When we talk about something on social media we only get the people that are ready, at the same place as us, we are not changing someone’s mind”
“We want people to understand us and be on the same page as us, agree with us. We want approval. But, we are mostly doing it in situations where people have other interests. How often do people that are passionate about anything bring up a conversation and people want to shut it down because it is overwhelming? It’s really important to find people in different stages (on the same level, ahead of us or behind us) because being only in one of these places can make us feel really stuck.”
“Find PEOPLE THAT LOOK LIKE ME IN This MOMENT so we can see ourselves in their shoes but they are slightly different so they makes us think, investigate and get more passionate about something”
Living in a van helps you to feel more confident about yourself and be more natural. “You have to get over all things that are uncomfortable. It can take time. You don’t have a space to escape to not be messy, to not be human, and it just becomes more normal. The more we talk about it the more it feels to me so weird that we hide so much. We are hyper aware with others about if we smell bad, if there was a hair on my chien, if my weight had changed. Needing the closest standard that I could reach”
Around topic Nature connection, “Spending time outdoors, connecting to ourselves or feminism, all of these things have stereotypes attached to them and it can be hard to talk about them without somebody automatically applying a filter before they even hear the conversation.”
“Genuinely I do think that as humans for a long time we have been part of the planet, living close to nature doesn’t necessarily mean hugging trees. We are nature and a part of it, in some way now we shifted our focus to how we are seen or perceived and in so many ways it doesn’t matter.”
“And we are oversaturated with information and we don’t have room for curiosity, or making questions. And we don’t have time”
Raleigh handcrafts kitchen utensils and other tools and also organize workshops for people to create their own bowls, spoons, … so we can value them.
“I think we don’t pay much attention to the objects we have around us, who and how they were done. I guess a good way to appreciate the value of things is by making them but we don’t always have the opportunity to attend a workshop. How can we raise awareness of the cost of things?”
Sizing has also a direct impact on our self-confidence. In females’energy, we try to design comfy pieces even if they are slim fit. We love to see a woman wearing a skinny piece, no matter the size. But around us, women with bigger sizes prefer to wear oversize because they feel uncomfortable with their bodies.
“We want to see people wearing clothes and living life, not posing, in movement. I don’t really want to see how the brand wants people to look in it. I just want to see people wearing it”
But, “For a lot of companies producing a variety of sizes is not cost effective, there’s waste because you have to produce a certain amount of each product to make it viable and it makes things too expensive. How to address all of those things? There’s many ways but this is a systemic problem, the fact that we have fast fashion as a normal thing. “
“But there are certain things about the past that do make sense: fixing clothes, making your own clothes or buying them from local brands, not buying in excess. Making thing because you really need them.”