Tuesday, 15 October 2013

#BodyConfidenceWeek Day 2

You can read yesterday's post with a little explanation as to what Body Confidence Week is here.

*Please note this post contains brief discussion of self harm and an image of scarring.*

Despite being meticulously careful about a lot of things in my life I have instances where I am very impulsive and make snap decisions without really thinking about the consequences. Sometimes they end badly, sometimes they are marvellous. The thing I'm going to talk about today definitely falls into the marvellous category. 

A couple of years ago I saw ReeRee Rockette put a tweet out asking for photos of peoples' thighs for a blog post she was writing about what real thighs look like. She'd already published the first draft of the blog and had a handful of photos already up there. Some were slim, some were chunkier but they were just normal thighs. Not one photo made me recoil in horror or turn my nose up, they were all lovely. So I impulsively decided to whip my pyjama bottoms off in the middle of the living room and snapped a photo of my own! 

At that time I didn't know what body positive meant, I had never heard of fat acceptance or anything in that area. I wasn't very confident with my body at that time, in fact in the photo I angled my legs in a specific way so they looked a little more streamlined and a lot less wobbly. My thighs had always been chunky (thanks Nana), I did not like them much at all and I never had any intention of anyone other than my husband or mum seeing them. So much so that years before they had become the chosen area for my self harm simply because I knew nobody would see. I never wore anything above my knees and on the rare occasion I went swimming and actually managed to get beyond the changing room I would make the person with me get out before me and bring my towel to the side of the pool so I could hide my ugly, scarred legs. And yet for some reason that night I decided I was okay with sending a photo of them to Ree Ree to share with the world!



It was such a wonderful feeling seeing my anonymous thighs up there next to so many others. I realised that other than my scars mine were no different to anyone else's. There were a few comments about whether or not it was appropriate to include images of self harm and at first I was really quite upset but then comments like these happened...

"...my response is yes, yes I did need to include it. That brave lady is trying to love and accept her thighs for what they are, and she was brave enough to email it in. Just as I can't un-tattoo my thighs, she cannot un-scar hers. I didn't censor my post. Any lady who wanted to contribute to a general accepting of thighs, for however small, big, scarred, tattooed, dimply etc was welcome to. I want her, and you, to love your thighs too. I hope that in some small way, by having her thighs here, she gets something positive from it, in the way others are getting something from hers."

"I thought it was very good of you to make no distinction or special attention to the self harm aspect, you didn't draw attention to it, you just accepted her beauty as equal to everyone else's."
"I am so glad you did not censor the post by saying those thighs could upset someone and should not be shown. As someone who has recently come to terms with the causes and begun to seek help to stop hurting myself in a similar fashion, seeing those thighs makes me feel good about myself. I know I am not the only one who has done such a thing to themselves (you can be told you are not all day long, but with out seeing it on someone else, it sounds like an empty greeting-card message) and that the scars I have don't have to define who I am or my self-worth."
A big part of my learning to love my body means learning to love my scars. Unlike my fat bits those are absolutely never going to go away. It took a long time to be okay with that, especially as my scars are completely self inflicted. I chose to do that to myself and I was angry at myself for it for a really long time but eventually I realised that rather than fueling that cycle of hatred I could just take a step back and be a bit kinder to myself. Taking part in that exercise shook me a bit. I didn't compare myself to anyone else or cringe when I came to mine. Instead I marveled at all the beautiful, soft, fleshy loveliness and felt pretty proud of myself as well as all the other brilliant women who took part. You can read the full post here. 

Two years later and I bloody love my pasty, dimpled, squishy, scarred thighs. I even want to get them tattooed! I don't mind people seeing my scars anymore, no more than I mind them seeing my fat body. My body might not be what I want it to be but it's what I've got right now and it is far less damaging to my brain to accept it and try to like it than it is to loathe it. 

Blimey, this is really becoming twee, huggy, hippy nonsense. Don't worry, tomorrow's post is less about the feels and more about ALL THE PRETTY CLOTHES.

Love,
Mrs D x

ps. There are similar projects on a larger scale - The Body Images ProjectThe Beautiful Body Project and The Stories Project by BeauCoo.
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4 comments

  1. I'm always so proud when I read about your reflections on that post. I've also just posted about this #bodyconfidenceweek thing, as it confuses me somewhat. I'll have to go and read your first post.

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  2. I am so proud of you and you squish bits - you have come a long long way in the last couple of years. It took me a lot longer to come to terms with my body and accept it as it is.

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  3. It must have taken courage for you to share the photo on the blog post back then, and I'm so glad you were given such kind responses when the photo was questioned. You have beautiful legs, scars 'n all and nobody should tell you to censor them. They're a part of who you are; a part of who you were, and what you've gone through and overcame to be where you are and who you are today. They're lovely, just as they are! :)

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  4. what a difference two years can make, and it started with you doing something monumentally brave, and you have beautiful legs! I am quite fond of mine (apart from my 'senile spots'!! seriously, I have them and we are really trying to get along!) x x

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