Last night I had a conversation with a good friend of mine about the way we women appear to ourselves. She mentioned that she felt she looked fat in a picture and I laughed out loud because she wouldn’t appear fat to me if she gained 50 more pounds. She’s tiny, petite, gorgeous. Then Greg (oh wise hubs of mine) said that there was a huge difference between someone saying that they think they look fat compared to actually thinking they are fat. He also said that women, as a general rule, are much too hard on themselves and that we all need to pull our heads out of our asses. He has such a way with words.
His comments started my brain off on another direction, though.
How often, as a woman, do you take a good look at yourself and say, “I love such and such about myself”?
No, really. I’m serious.
Now, how often do you look in the mirror and say, “I hate my such and such,” or, “I wish my such and such looked like this or that”???
There is something very wrong with this picture…pun probably intended
I won’t even allow myself to really get into a post about this kind of bullshit and how it starts with girls at such a ridiculously young age these days. Suffice it to say, when I hear my friends talk about how their very young daughters (some as young as age five) talk about how kids at school call them fat or how their daughters look in the mirror and cry because they aren’t perfect, it makes me want to grab a pogo stick and bounce down the street screaming, “HOLY SHITSNACKS! WTF???” at the top of my lungs.
Instead, I want to share something with all of you. I not only want to share it, I want you to pass it on in whatever way you see fit.
I am not like a lot of other women. I don’t spend a lot of time picking out my flaws in front of the mirror or talking people out of giving me compliments about myself by saying, “Oh, you’re just saying that” or, “You’re too kind.” However, just because I don’t spend time picking out my flaws, doesn’t mean I spend time admiring myself either.
Yes, that’s right, I just said admiring myself.
You see, I was born with a skin disease on my face (which many of you know already) and it shows up so well in photos that I look as though I went a round or two with an MMA fighter. In fact, Greg and I have been out and about occasionally and the light has been just perfect for my disease to look like bruises. Guess what happens? He gets the dirtiest looks, as though people suspect he beats me (Trust me, if anyone is doing the beating in our relationship, it would be me. He’s much too nice and peaceful!). My point is, unless I spend a few minutes retouching a photo of me, I am really not keen on posting any photos of my face anywhere. In fact, I have never, until recently, looked at my face long enough to figure out whether or not I like it because I’ve always let my disease cloud my vision of it.
This aversion to looking at myself too long has somehow transferred to all other aspects of my body as well. I don’t look or dwell because I think I have always been afraid that I won’t like what I see. So, I sort of skirt around all things to do with my appearance and focus on living life. It’s not that I don’t like my body or my face, I just don’t look at them overly much.
Not anymore. This morning, in a fit of lucidity, I stepped out of the shower, towelled off and stood in front of the mirror, staring at EVERY INCH OF MYSELF, for almost 20 minutes. I suppressed my instinct to shy away from the diseased side of my face and I forced myself to stare at it. I looked at each vein through the translucent, fatless, skin on the right side of my chin until I could see past it and actually see the shape of my chin and my neck. I stared at my right eye until my perpetual “black eye” disappeared and I could see my eye, my eyelashes, the curve of my cheekbone. I bisected my face with my hand and studied each side of my face in turn.
I realized, for the first time in my life, that the left side of my face is beautiful. Totally symmetrical, with a nice line from my chin to my neck, pretty cheekbone, a nicely shaped eye and an aesthetically pleasing forehead – not too large, not too small.
I have, literally, NEVER looked at the left side of my face before. I’ve spent my entire life looking briefly at the right side – the diseased side – of my face and completely ignored the obvious beauty of the left. Silly me.
From my face I moved on to the rest of my body. I once again forced myself to look past the obvious flaws – stretch marks, scars, bruises from derby, etc. – until pleasant pieces of me started to catch my attention.
I realized that I absolutely LOVE my shoulders and arms. I should, too, because I work really hard on keeping those muscles strong. The slight bulge of my tricep muscles when I flex my arms made me smile. How wrong of me to admit to the world that I love something about myself…
In the 20 minutes I spent staring at myself, I discovered a lot about my body. I hear people comment on my ass all the time and although I joke about it, I’ve never really given it much thought. After careful inspection, I realized that my rump really is quite shapely. I work hard on that too! I also fell in love with the curve where my waist meets my hips, my large and very muscular thighs and, strangely enough, my toes. My toes are well-proportioned. Who would have thought I could find something to love about my toes?
After the 20 minute body and face evaluation, I felt drained. Drained from forcing myself to find something to love about myself. RIDICULOUS, I know!
As a boudoir photographer, I feel as though I spend a good majority of my time finding the beauty in each one of my clients and then using my camera to prove to them that I’m not kidding them or humouring them, but that I genuinely think they are beautiful. It can actually be a very exhausting task – forcing a woman’s own beauty back in her face, so to speak. Just look at how tired I was after turning the “beauty eye” on myself.
I don’t want to have to work my ass off anymore to make a woman fall in love with her own image. Instead, from now on, I am going to help women find the things they love about themselves…and by help, I actually mean force them to look at themselves and tell me about everything they love about their bodies, faces and selves. Call it an epiphany. Call it a movement. Call it what you will. I call it about friggin’ time I came to my senses!
Shame on us. How do you think wee girls these days get the idea that they can’t love their bodies and faces when we all spend so much time being critical of ours in front of them????
So, now that you’ve read about it (and probably shook your head in amazement at my audacity or my utter bravery), get off your ass and go look at it in the mirror. Go, RIGHT NOW, and have a pants off dance off in front of that full length mirror in your bedroom – you know, the one that makes you grumpy and critical most of the time. Get naked, put on your positive goggles and start looking for anything and everything that you enjoy, like or even downright LOOOOOVVVVEE about your body. Don’t just notice it, rejoice in it. Run down the hallway to the living room and show your spouse the parts of yourself that you love too…unless you have company or your in-laws live with you…that shit could get awkward.
GO! FLY! BE FREE! When I’m naked, I’m free!
And, just to reinforce the obvious, I’m going to post a few boudoir shots that I’ve taken lately. A wide range of ages, body shapes, faces, etc. and all of them gorgeous in a completely unique way.
Have a great day my friends! I wish you all enough…