Tuesday, February 13

SPC: body image



Since my first self-portrait challenge last week, I've been quite preoccupied with examining the mental image I have of myself. I'm stunned to notice how I ceaselessly criticise various parts of my anatomy, how I fail to see the beauty in the laughter lines around my eyes when I look at my face in the mirror, and how I beat myself up for my lack of control when I greedily indulge in one more slice of chocolate cake.

I believe that what I need is a prescription of acceptance, love, enjoyment, lots of laughter and an end to the useless comparison of my 38-year old body to how it used to look when I was 21... There are so many sexy, confident women in their 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s who don't seem to be suffering from this body angst at all. 38 is kind of like being a teenager, but instead of being stuck between childhood and adulthood, now it's all about no longer being considered "young", but definitely not feeling "old" either.

I dared myself to spend some time really looking at myself: my face and my body, and then eventually I took out the camera... The initial inhibition soon gave way to a carefree sense of enjoyment... A step in the right direction, definitely.

Alexandra of Marvelous Madness posted a wonderful quote by the American ballet dancer Allegra Kent, which ends, "As an adult, I met people who talked passionately about their new Rolls Royce. But that isn't a real posession. All we actually have is our body and its muscles that allow us to be under our own power, to glide in the water, to roll down a hill, and jump into someone's arms."

24 comments:

Edvard Moonke said...

not at all, you deserve it. i wouldn't hold my breath though, I get the impression they're quite a cliquey bunch lol

P.S. love the picture

Sophie said...

Love the photo and think it is a wonderful thing to do.

You go girl :)

XO Sophie

acumamakiki.typepad.com said...

great photo and yes, it's hard to accept our body when it's the easiest aspect of ourselves to beat up. As one that has real issues with my body image, your post really resonated.

Vanessa said...

beautiful picture, caption, post, quote.... wow I HEAR you!
Vxxx

Carolyn said...

Thank you for coming by my blog and the lovely comments.

Your post is very timely. I turn 38 very soon and have been spending much time peering in the mirror at my dissapearing eyes and appearing turkey neck.

It's so hard to be accepting of this darn aging. You have a good attitude about it.

I may try to steal it. :)

My Marrakech said...

Ah...take it from someone who is older than you...it is good to find some kind of acceptance b/c the aging process does take it's toll and the desire to fit into your skinny jeans takes time to ebb...

luzie said...

That's a great photo! And yes, I think I need one of those prescriptions for self-acceptance, too! It's so difficult to change something as fundamental as body image. And I love the quote! x0

Janet said...

Yes well, that getting older thing there's no escaping it really. Great quote and as someone who's always had body issues, I really try to do that, you know focus on what my body can do.

I think once past forty, one really has to accept being in the middle years. A bit easier than late thirtes IMO.

And as your portrait shows, you are beautiful!

stuffed said...

Great shot and wonderful post!

Jamie said...

What a beautiful picture and truly thoughtful post.

La Cubana Gringa said...

As a former dancer (took ballet throughout my childhood and double majored in biology and dance in college) I HEAR YA sister!! A day doesn't go by that I don't make some self-depricating remark about the size of my butt. Massive as it may be in comparison to my younger years, it's really not that bad. And through studying more "liberal" forms of dance (as ballet is far from liberal) like afrobrazilian, jazz and salsa...I've come to enjoy my extra helping of hips. Much more fun for shaking! ;) (Doesn't mean I won't keep ranting about it though!)

girlfriday said...

Lovely picture. Acceptance is a good goal (and it doesn't mean *giving up*) :wink:

Vedrana M. said...

beautiful photo and the mesagge, acceptance can be really hard...great post! :)

paris parfait said...

Great photo and I particularly like this: "...what I need is a prescription of acceptance, love, enjoyment, lots of laughter and an end tothe useless comparison of my 38-year-old body to how it used to look when I was 21..." Hear, hear! But easier said than done, of course. I struggle with this issue as well (and I'm older than you).

gay said...

my biggest freedom came when i let my hair go gray, i suddenly gave myself permission to be what i was and not hold myself up to standards of others. i felt more beautiful.

Nicole said...

i think your photo looks beautiful!

i wish there was a secret, a secret that we could all pass along to help with the acceptance of who we are and how we look, no matter what our age...

strauss said...

I am loving your website by the way, your writing is exquisite.
The quote you placed in this post was fantastic too, nice choice.

nina said...

lovely, lovely photo and post!

Uber Mer said...

this is just lovely. What a beautiful post, we should all take the time to rediscover out bodies.

Happy Valentine's day.

` mer

Jeremy Stockwell said...

Great picture and accompaning thoughts. Very nicely done!

sarala said...

Lovely post. I'm a few years past 38 and don't feel like I've hit the downhill slide yet. Think young.

Colorsonmymind said...

This is beautiful as is the process you describe-really looking to accept.

Your words have soothed me.
Thank you

The Crafty-Girl™ said...

beautiful image...the journey into self-portraiture is really enlightening and positive! enjoy it...

JC said...

It sounds like you are well on your way to being happier with yourself. Good luck. And I love the photo.