Anastasia was struggling with dieting and really frustrated with her body; not at all at peace with her shape or her weight at the time we met. Talking about it honestly, I think she was surprised to hear that even though I was slim, I felt just as uncomfortable in my body as what she described, and I’d always felt that bad about myself, for as long as I could remember. I told her how using imagery to fight for the cause of improving body image and loving our bodies was helping me work on my issues. I explained that for several years already I’d been photographing and drawing the nude body, including my own, and how liberating it was. She seemed to understand how this process could be helpful, and liked the idea of doing a photo shoot with me. It didn’t happen right away, because as I well knew from my own experiences, a lot of inner resistance came up in the meantime.
Our photo session finally happened about a year later. It had been a rough year for Anastasia; a break-up, a move, and quitting a boring office job that led her to enroll in a course to become an esthetician. She told me about these studies, in particular how the practice periods required intimate contact with other students’ bodies through massage and skin care, and how this had made her a lot more relaxed about everything body-related. She said she now felt ready to be photographed nude, as a challenge to herself. Instead of trying to lose weight or change her body, she just wanted to change the negative opinion she held towards herself.
To explore a body symptom is to enter it, as it has entered us, and to partake in a sacred mystery. It is with the greatest respect and humility that we undertake this task.
— Rose-Emily Rothenberg, The Jewel in the Wound
2 thoughts on “Anastasia (series) – II”
Wow! What a really amazing idea to do this. I can relate to this so much. I also use food as a clutch to deal with emotional issues and it’s been so hard to get out of it. Whenever I compulsively eat I feel really bad about my body afterwards. It feels like an endless cycle and because I’m slim people don’t really take it seriously. You’re so talented, I love your drawings. I never thought that drawing your body can make you learn to accept it more. It totally makes sense when I think about it. Great post 💜
Thank you Ash! It’s important to note that I’ve been drawing for a long time so I get nice results, but it’s in the process that the healing happens, and this practice can be done with no drawing talent or experience. It’s all in the seeing, not in the end product 🙂
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