When I made the decision to do this photo shoot, I really expected it to be a walk in the park. How difficult could it be? I was however feeling very nervous, a bit excited at the thought of doing this. In many ways I was convinced that I was comfortable with my size and my age, that I had learnt to accept my rolls, my many imperfections and my fine lines.
Strangely it turns out I was feeling intimidated, vulnerable and scared at the thought of confronting my body in such a candid way…I could no longer hide behind layers of clothing or props. Instead I would have to look at the camera head on and show the world who I really was. I suddenly realised that the labels attached over the years have indeed left me slightly battered and a little bruised. Labels like “morbidly obese”, “fatty boom boom” and “my baby elephant” come to mind. Words often said gently and lovingly, and sometimes out of ignorance. I have often felt judged by others about my weight, feeling I was not good enough, pretty enough, sexy enough; never enough.
I had over time taken on society’s expectations of the perfect body; lithe, thin, young, photo shopped and wrinkle free. Today, 50 years later, I needed to take a hard look at my body and what I stand for. I am slowly learning to embrace who I am. I can accept that my body does not define who I am (well most of the time)! I am a strong, independent, sexy, caring and adventurous woman. I am learning to like who I am and I like being me. I have at times travelled alone, at times I have been broken down and at times I have stared despair in the face. I have hated my body and cried at my imperfections. I am not alone. Mine is not a unique story. Ultimately, I know that I am surrounded by women who have walked the same road. I take courage from them and can only hope to inspire someone to take courage from me. Together we will build a world of strong, capable, wonderful, diverse woman.
For now, I am focussed on building a stronger, healthier body; one that will support me in years to come; a body that will serve me for the next 50 years while I love and nurture it. My hair is greying and I love my platinum look. My belly is soft and comforting like an old friend, proof that I have given life. My breasts sag (a little); a reminder that I have nurtured and cared for my child. The lines around my eyes are starting to show in a canvas that proudly declares that I have laughed, pouted, sulked and cried. My double chin greets me every time I laugh out loud and long and yet, I would not want to change a thing.
It is sad really that when you are young you are so busy chasing that ideal image that society imposes, that you make yourself miserable in the process. Life is cruel in that when you eventually come to the realisation that YOU are all you have, it is then that you realise and regret that you wasted so much time wanting and wishing to be slimmer, sexier, older, funnier, friendlier…
Love yourself unconditionally and the universe will love you back. Take courage and love yourself as you are, for you are enough.