I began this post back at the beginning of the summer, I wasn’t feeling very confident about myself, I had recently began the tedious task of “online” dating and struggling a little bit with my self-worth. It’s amazing how words will reenter your consciousness when you’re feeling down, things you never believed about yourself surface and you begin a spiral. Instead of being reactive, I decided to be proactive and begin my journey to loving the parts of me that I’ve always ignored. It’s not to say that I hate those areas, it’s more like I ignored them and never gave them the love and appreciation they deserve. Leaving out all the wonderful things our bodies can do, and what mine has done for me, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank and celebrate it- because I have been blessed to be in good health and at a time like this- that is very important. This is me reclaiming my body. This is my love story to it. This is my battle cry. I am entering my 36th year full of love and appreciation for how far I’ve come; be it mental wellness, confidence and just being content in myself.
I procrastinated on this post for a long time, mostly because I didn’t really know what to say, couldn’t find the words to accompany images like this. Did it really need words? Well here I am backing it up with words. I began this series of photographs, not because I truly believed the words, but because in some way, shape or form- I asked myself these questions. In a time where we are so consumed with images after images on social media of people and their perceived pristine lives, you can’t help but compare yourself to them. Even within the real bodies movement, I still don’t know where I fit. The words; some of it directly linked to my body, others just negative self talk which has floated around in my head. Even within the normalizing of real bodies aesthetic, we still see certain standards of beauty, certain body types and certain types of “stretch marks”. So, it took me a minute to wonder if I really fit into this club, but I’m normal (ish) and the last time I checked, I had a body. So, just like that I’m here. I have discolouration all over, I have scars and marks from when I caught chicken pox- all that to say my skin is a map of my life’s stages and what a story they tell. Housing a baby is no easy feat on the body, it maintained life for 9 months, it stretched, expanded and grew and honestly, at certain stages I couldn’t recognize my body as mine. Looking back, I regret not taking more photos of myself to keep for memories sake, but mentally, my body wasn’t mine then. I didn’t know what to make of what was happening to it. It felt like my body had a mind of its own and in some ways I kind of gave up. But after Neveah as born, I struggled to recognize it and for maybe a year, I didn’t know how to dress my body- I kind of gave up on it. A year post baby, I found myself wondering if there was any worth in the aftermath of what giving birth left me with. Meeting stretch marks and droopy breasts in the mirror left me feeling hallow and unsure of what I was seeing. This photo is me reclaiming my worth, because stretch marks or not, saggy boobs or not- my worth isn’t determined by either of those things. I have moments, when I look at myself and I think- you look pretty today and then other days I look up and wonder if anyone could find me attractive and why? What feature on my body was really worth lusting over? But, at the end of the day, my body is merely a vessel, it carries my thoughts, my happiness, my pain, my cuts, my bruises, but it also carries my hopes and fears, my dreams and passions, none take up more space and none are less worthy, but all make up my tapestry.