What places on your body do you hope to see differently?
My stomach and my legs. I am a recovered bulimic and I used to self harm myself on my legs when I was younger. My weight gain from my recovery sits mostly in my stomach and my legs have battle wounds on them that other people often look at with pity. While for me these areas show strength and show how far I have come, they also have a layer of shame and guilt because of other people's reactions. It takes practice to shake off other peoples reactions and to remember I am me and my story and my body is beautiful. I am a survivor, and the scars on my body prove it.
What stories do you tell yourself when you see these parts?
If I focus on these parts of my body my brain can often replay painful old memories or old thoughts. When I look at my stomach I can start to focus on my old eating disorder thought that I am no longer beautiful because I a do not have a flat stomach as I used to. I trained in dance my whole life and always heard I needed to look a certain way to be successful. It took a long time to shake that idea and to realize I can still move beautifully no matter what my body looks like. When I look at my legs I remember the moments I caused myself physical pain because of the emotional pain that was tormenting me. I then have to remember how much time has passed, and how much work I have done to get to where I am today, and that I should never be ashamed for something I lived through and learned from.
Who would you be if you loved your body?
Honestly I do love my body. Every scar, every curve, every tattoo I have tells a piece of my story and my fight to discover who I am. Self love and body positivity is something that must be practiced daily when we have been trained since childhood to constantly compare ourselves to "perfection." Some days it is easier to self love than others, but I always remind myself that I am alive, I made it through my eating disorder, and my body is not a reflection of who I am. I am so much more than a weight on a scale or a few scars. My body is healthy and it lets me experience life.
What hopes do you have when people see these images?
I hope others feel inspired to embrace themselves and their bodies despite what flaws they may have. Every body and every story is beautiful.