In my early twenties, I found a good therapist, discovered alcohol and broke out of my shyness with men. A late bloomer with dating (another column), I think all of this contributed to re-discovering my body. You have to look at your body before you know what you like about it, right? I had never looked in a full-length mirror. I wore loose-fitting clothes, used little make-up and rarely brushed my curls. I wanted to portray that laid-back, hippie bohemian look. Who was I kidding? I don’t think I pulled it off.
I often wondered: How did I come to accept, see and like my body? Body self-acceptance is a process for all of us, but a little more complex for a disabled woman. Liking and accepting my body has been a zig-zag journey, and it is ongoing. I’m still in it. Something began to shift for me when I came out of my shell with men; having that exterior validation helped. Another experience that helped me see was when I posed nude at 42 for my Raw Beauty photography show. Face it -- women have it hard with media-driven superficial standards of beauty. Even the average able-bodied women are screwed. No one looks like supermodels…not even supermodels!
But over time, I stood alone, and my need for the external validation lessened. I only saw what I didn’t like and always compared myself to others. I couldn’t see the stuff that wasn’t so terrible and uniquely me. In my late thirties, I took the plunge, looked and really saw. I joke to Robert, my adorable husband, that God gave us a broken body, so it seemed just that he would bless us with some so-called “perfect” exterior features. Yes, this is going to sound superficial and Robert does love me for my mind/soul, but when I look in the mirror, this is what I see now and feel grateful for. I love my...
*Round butt, more perfect than geometry.
*My brown curls, bouncy, non-kinky, the kind women would pay a lot of money for.
*My big eyes, green like emeralds.
*My full pink lips.
Don’t get me wrong; there are days I am so frustrated with my body that I can’t stand it, when I hurt a lot or it’s hard to walk or get into the car. Or I’m having a bad hair day! All of this is part of my whole, my good, bad and ugly -- perfectly, imperfect me. What do you see when you look in the mirror? What do you like?
[Photos via We Heart It]