What places on your body do you hope to see differently?
My stomach, my thighs, and me as a whole person instead of just the parts.
What stories do you tell yourself when you see these parts of your body?
When I see a part of me that's not the "ideal" shape or not firm or muscular "enough"...wtf is enough?... I tend to think I'm fat, ugly, lazy. I am wholly defined by my inability. Period. Inability to eat with discipline. Inability to workout regularly. Inability to develop muscle. Inability to not BE fat. Inability to hold onto relationships. Inability to follow through on projects. Inability to change my mindset. Inability to change my circumstances. It seeps into every fiber of my physical, emotional, and intellectual being, and I'm ashamed.
Who would you be if you really loved your body?
As cheesy as it sounds, I would be the change. I want so desperately for my mother to see herself as beautiful, because she is!!! I am terrified that my nieces will suffer these internal battles and I won't be able to stop it or help. I am shocked that some of the most impressive women in my life are just as hard on themselves, on their bodies, as I am on myself. I want to have a family someday and I refuse to contribute to one more generation of self-judgement and hatred. If I can truly overcome this within myself, I can more authentically help others through that battle with experienced sincerity and compassion. There's an energy to experience and earned wisdom. I want to find it and share it with everyone I encounter.
What hopes do you have that would arise when others see these images?
I hope they find courage and compassion. I hope they realize how beautiful every body is, including their own. I hope it spurs them into action.
When you see these images?
When I signed up to do this, I knew I had to take the leap and act immediately. Otherwise, I would talk myself out of it, or I would choose to starve myself and workout more to try and be as "small" as possible for the shoot, which defeats the purpose!!! I thought, I want to love myself in any and every state. On any and every day, even if I just ate nachos or pizza or both and a bottle of wine. I thought that perhaps it would be an immediate, monumental change. Finally. Instead, I've found that I still battle my body image on a daily basis, but this is a step. It's a reminder, every day, that I did something brave and beautiful. I bared myself without any prep, despite all reservations, and it will carry on in me and in others.
One thing I didn't expect at all, was the recognition of universality in this experience. Also the fact that it's multi-generational and inherited, to a degree, by those before us and those around us. When I look at a dimple in my leg I used to hate, I now see my mother's legs that I love. It's one part, a very small part of my body, that I've learned to love thanks to all of this. I hope to find more parts I love, and eventually, to find myself whole in my own eyes.
While it is such a small start, it also feels like the beginnings of an avalanche, feeling more connected with my womanhood, and therefore women. While we should all be allies in this fight for love and equality, I've typically experienced the opposite in my life. Other women tend to be threatened or threatening, competitive and divisive. This feels like a distinctive change in that regard. A tipping point in the unity of all of us to create change for the better.