I went clothes shopping today.

Well, that was the idea, but 15 minutes of trying on clothes and immediately peeling them off later, I stomped out of there.

And promptly burst into tears.

My startled partner comforted me as I tried to find words for how I felt.

You don’t know. I said. You don’t know what it’s like to struggle to find clothes that fit, let alone look good. And when you find something, it’s often too expensive to justify.

You don’t know what it’s like to have to fight every day to accept yourself for how you look, to not beat yourself up. To hate what you see in the mirror some days.

I snuffled a bit and went on…

You feel jealous of the people who can just grab something off the rack and it looks great. You feel judged by others, because you realise you are judging yourself.

Yup.

Now for the record, I know that others have it worse, that these are privileged problems to have, but this is still my reality.

I even found myself considering buying laxatives.

And then immediately felt ashamed.

Then guilty.

I will keep fighting to accept myself, validate myself independently of media and other external influence.

But it ain’t easy.

If I’m honest…

June 29, 2011

…I’m still struggling to love my post-baby body.

Ironically when I look back over old photos of myself I am astounded. I now think I was gorgeous back then, but I remember the baggy T-shirts I used to wear, unable to love my body then either.

I’ve just finished reading some great posts on ‘Shape of a Mother’ and it’s always awesome to read stories by mothers and other stories by women about body acceptance. I admire the strength that some people portray and simultaneously I feel wistful. I want some of how that feels. I admire their journeys and envy their self-acceptance and love that they seem to have.

Yes, a body is just a thing, but it’s my thing. It’s the thing that is most me and most mine. It’s my vehicle for transportation, self-expression and sensation. I do appreciate my body for all those things but I don’t love how it looks. But I wish I did.

I identify as a feminist, body acceptance has been something I have advocating for since ages ago. I was first influenced by some amazing people who had created a life-size Barbie (and it broke in half due to the wacky proportions) and gorgeous Ruby here. But I still struggle to apply all the wisdom I’ve read to myself.

One of the coolest things I’ve ever done to take active steps towards self-accept and self-love was when my friend and I did plaster body casting. It was an incredible way to experience and then view my body. At the time it helped by contextualising my body.

It’s a known fact that women often have incorrect mental images of themselves. We tend overestimate our size. I created a couple of casts form the mold and I’ve still got one. It is beautiful to look at and touch, but it doesn’t help me feel better now. It’s not how I look now.

I know I should say ‘fuck the hype’ and start loving my body but it’s not that easy. If it’s all in my head then why can’t I will myself to get there?

Some people say that a mother’s body is ‘supposed’ to look like this. But to me my body looks ruined. When I look at my body (particular parts of it) I am not filled with a sense of wonder, awe or pride. It almost feels like … luggage. And I wince as I write that.

I’m sure there is a whole bunch of theory out there and I should probably look it up, but this post is a honest confession of how I feel about myself. I say confession because I am pretty confident in many areas of my life. To expose my insecurity about my body like this feels almost like a betrayal of my confident parts.

I’m inspired by someone I’m following on facebook. Fleur is a photographer and her portraits are amazing. I often wonder if one day I’ll have the stones (and money) to ask her to take photos of me. Perhaps if I could see myself through her eyes, I would accept/love my body better.

I wonder if I should do a new plaster body mold. Maybe it would help me contextualise my body again.

This body with baggage.