How do you react, what happens, when you see these parts of your body negatively?
When we indulge in negative thinking, we feed the ego. The ego needs these bad thoughts to survive. It loves the negative thoughts. Having an ego isn’t inherently a bad thing—but allowing the ego to constantly assert itself puts a barrier between ourselves and others. It creates separation and conflict. What I strive for is more acceptance. Accepting will always lessen the negative thoughts and thus loosen the ego’s control. We have to accept our bodies instead of struggling against them. I see so many people in the world trying to convince me to struggle with my body, instead of accept. As a model, you are always told to change things about yourself—your hair, the way you do your makeup, any physical trait that doesn’t fit with the trends of the moment. Even as a curve model. I’ve been told to gain weight, to wear padding, to lose inches off my waist while gaining bulk in my hips. I could allow these comments to make me feel like my body is not good enough—not enough to be a model, not enough to be considered beautiful. Just not enough. And I have succumb to those thoughts in the past. You have to become so zen, because the alternative is to a constant state of being uncomfortable. Of thinking of everything I could and want to change about my body. Which is pretty fruitless.
What places on your body do you hope to see differently?
I think we all constantly struggle with self-acceptance. I’m in a period where I try not to voice specific concerns over parts of my body. I feel like voicing what I don’t like gives the ego power—feeds the negative thinking. So I don’t write or say “I hate my ______” I just try to turn those thoughts around by saying “I’m so lucky to have my practice.” Or look at what I did! I ran a half marathon (in May). How amazing are our bodies? They can do so much. Run long distances, birth babies, give us pleasure, even simple things like walking around the city on a hot day. I become grateful instead of feeling empty.
How do you feel about them currently?
Self-acceptance is a practice, just like training for a sport or getting the right amount of sleep. It involves discipline and commitment. I’m not happy with myself all the time but I try to actively work on it. And to not judge myself or give up if I’m feeling “less-than.” I remind myself that I am not my body, or my thoughts. We are greater than these things.
Who would you be if you really loved your body?
If we all found a way to accept, accept, accept, we’d be in a constant state of nirvana.
What hopes do you have that would arise when other people see these images? When you see these images?
I hope the media will continue with the current trend of showing all different types of bodies. The world needs diversity in its representation of humans. We need all stories.