(Disclaimer contains nudity)
“What makes you think that I think you’re more attractive when you’re skinnier? What makes you think that skinnier is better?” Shaun my magical encouraging husband asks me.
I ponder this for a moment and have one of those moments, “So I don’t look any better than I do now, when I’m skinnier?”
We live in a world where skinnier is better, by mainstream media’s standards anyway. We have it thrust down our throats every where we turn, in advertisements in the shop windows, on Tv and on social media it is the worst; follow any ‘fitspo’ instagram page and prepare to wallow in self hatred because your life isn’t fitness, your life doesn’t have time for constant healthy eating and fancy exercise regimes 5 days a week.
I don’t know about anyone else but my days are filled with kindy and school lunches, drop offs, dinners, and wine nights and working, the only exercise my body sees these days is walking to the shop to get food for dinner or sex with the ole husband. I had to unfollow most of those pages because they were’t inspiring me, they were crushing me, they were reminding me that my body wasn’t a piece of art work to be admired by the masses.
My half naked body wasn’t going to get the kinds of compliments those bodies did.
I walk past shop windows looking at the size 8 mannequins, “That’s not what it’d look like on me” I’d always think. And it’s true, it wouldn’t look like that because I am not a model, I have cushion where some people don’t, I also have it in places where most people do. These days I can find most bodies attractive, in almost every form, I am not perfect and accept that other people aren’t either.
I appreciate the female form, I appreciate all kinds, models and and the rest of us.
I appreciate it all, all but my own.
My body has brought me a lot of pain. I have blamed my body for the sexual abuse it has endured, I used to think that maybe if I wasn’t so cute, or if I wasn’t a girl then maybe the man who abused me might have stayed away, if I wasn’t so appealing to him, then maybe it would have been okay.
I blamed MY body for that. My body brought me nothing but guilt, shame and the wrong kind of attention, all from age 5.
To my child self, my body caused this heartbreak, that was a cycle of abuse I inflicted on myself with my own thoughts that have continued into adult hood.
I have never thought of my body as something to be proud of, I have never thought that my body is this amazing vessel that grew 3 whole babies, that birthed them, loved them and nurtured them with the milk it made itself.
I was never proud of that.
That my body despite its almost perfect imperfections was something to marvel, just as much as any other body?
That same body along with my very strong and courageous mind got me here, to this point in my life where I no longer want to die.
This is what sexual abuse does to a child, a young adult, a grown woman, it teaches them that their bodies are nothing but a thing, an object and that it serves no other purpose than to be sexual, to be used and to be broken.
But…My body IS something to be proud of, it has done amazing things, beautiful things, my body IS beautiful because it is mine. It’s the only one I have.
This photo shoot has changed the way I see my body.
My body, while not perfect, is perfectly made for me and it is perfectly capable to deal with anything that can be thrown at it, it can be bigger or smaller, that it can stretch to capacities I never knew capable, that my body will tell me if I’m working too hard, if its tired or happy.
My body can endure years of abuse and years and years later still be loved by a real man, who treats it well, who treats it with the respect it deserves. A man who loves it always, bigger or smaller, well rounded or faulted.
My body can take me into a beautiful forest with a group of beautiful strangers and be beautiful with other beautifully different bodies. No one body being any more or less beautiful than the next.
I have learnt that there really is beauty in my curves, that there is love and heart in my chest, that my very own breasts fed my very own children.
That, that alone is something to be proud of.
That body, conceived life. My body conceived and brought life.
The body that I punished with negativity, hatred and doubt still carries me every day, even after all of that I have done to it.
My body still contains life despite the hardships placed upon it in its earlier years.
This body is mine, and the only person that needs to love it is me.
A woman’s body is the container of that very person’s secrets. Secrets that she may not even be aware of herself. This means that we can’t judge a woman (or anyone’s) body by it’s appearance, because no one else but that body knows what it knows.
No one knows just how strong that woman had to be, just to stay inside of it.
Love your body, because its the only one you have, love your own because it’s no one else’s.