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.