No matter what size, it’s my body

I have been photographing myself nude for almost two decades. Daily during some periods, while other times I stopped for several years but always started again, because even if I was hugely resistant towards it, I had to admit it helped improve my body image. It made me stop hiding from myself and really look at the body I have. Drawing the photos afterwards was a further act of acceptance, and often became a process of very peaceful contemplation.

This series was taken when I was at my heaviest; perhaps not obese, but not very comfortable in my own skin, and well above a weight that felt healthy for me. I was not happy with myself in general during that period of time, and I think my compulsive eating habits and lack of activity were simply being reflected in my body shape.

This is how the drawings look in process. I choose an image, maybe crop it or fix the contrast, then print and trace it, and finally, sketch in the highlights. These photos of the drawing in progress were just taken with my cell phone. Look how much softer it appears when the contrast is adjusted; the drawing looks more skin-colored, like I’m gently hidden in the shadows.

During this photoshoot (a close friend was behind the camera), I felt shame and disgust with my body. I was trying to kneel down in this image and was struggling to bend my legs and sit on them. It is not a natural position for bigger bodies to get into, and although there is nothing wrong with that, I was embarassed. Seeing these drawings later, I just see softness. I see lovely curves and a roundess that is full of life, like an abundance. The abundant body gives much to those it envelopes. The abundant body, to me, is a shared body, a beautiful body, a gentler, softer body that is inviting and available in a way that a firm body isn’t. That was me at one time in my life, and it was okay. I wish I had known so at the time. I was SO hard on myself.

Seeing ourselves nude is of course very revealing.

Being “stark naked” means being extremely vulnerable.

biggerbody1-c I think we all prefer to be strong and in control. Ideally, Instragram perfect. But we’re not just that, and we can’t always  be strong and in control. Accepting our vulnerabilities, our nakedness, our weaknesses and our doubts is the best way to recognizing our strengths, even if it means going against a society pushing us to perform and improve, no matter what. 

11 thoughts on “No matter what size, it’s my body

      • I wouldn’t have the guts to do it and be able not to judge myself so harshly ☹️. That’s what I meant

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      • You are an amazing artist and are a beautiful woman you should be proud to be your own subject. Your posts were very inspirational.

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      • Thank you so much. I’ve come to believe we’re most beautiful when we think so ourselves, and it’s taken me years to believe it (and it still comes and goes). I really hope that by sharing my practice some other people can make peace with their bodies too. We only get one, and as you well know, we aren’t fully in charge of it’s size, shape or condition, we have to work with what we’ve got!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have a new favorite blog and maybe one day I’ll take the plunge and try it. ☺️ however know that you’re an inspiration already.

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      • Thank you so much! Let me know if I can support your plunge when it comes 🙂
        I’m really enjoying exploring your blog too and have sent it to my friend with MS. Keep up the great sharing, you are an inspiration too!!!

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    • Hi Peggy! Thank you for visiting my blog. My drawings have been a long healing process for me, much more about a peaceful practice than being an artist. I hope to bring this practice to others who suffer too as it is deeply calming to spend time scratching a pencil on a piece of paper, and even better if it’s allowing you to see yourself in a new light!

      Liked by 1 person

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