I felt extremely vulnerable having posted my first 2 blogs last year. So much so that I stopped. For a long time. But I feel ready to do this again.
As you might have gathered, I have issues with my body. About 2 1/2 years ago, I started painting a nude of myself to help me get over hating my body. The intention was to see my body as beautiful in the painting. Well, I stopped painting instead! For the longest time. A definite dry spell as an artist. Now, I am happy to report that I finished it in one quick rush.
I was intrigued with the image I created of myself: my body IS beautiful in the painting....... as the Botticelli's Birth of Venus or beautiful : rounded and womanly. Or just plain fat as The Voice says in my head! I realise now that my idea of a perfect body is more FHM-Bikini-Shoot-beautiful than 15th-century-Renaissance-beautiful!
I have been informed culturally (as we all have) in this time and space, that my body is less than desirable. Who decides this, may I ask? Apparently, it is one particular lady sitting in an office in New York. The September Issue is a documentary following the making of the American Vogue Magazine's Spring edition. It is very revealing. It confirms what Meryl Streep so beautifully portrayed in The Devil Wears Prada (2006) as she played a fashion magazine editor inspired by Vogue editor Anna Wintour. In both movies, it becomes evident that the editor of Vogue dictates which designers are promoted in her magazine and therefore are guaranteed of success in sales. But more shockingly, which clothes of each designer "makes it". She decides on trends, fabrics, textures, attitudes and all manner of things that the rest of the world interested in selling magazines and buying clothes slavishly follows.
Then, the magazines employ models that are underage (13 - 20 years old) and underweight and then retouch the pictures of the "perfect" models anyway! This was revealed to me on Vanity Insanity! This is a program on TV that interviews all walks of life and their views on beauty, their influences and what lengths they go to to conform to that image of beauty. These are extreme cases but an indication of the distorted ideas of what we hold to be beautiful. I don't think I would have been out of place among these people!
Amazing really : how divorced from reality magazines are. And we all give them that power by following their lead in fashion and other "cool" and "in" trends in body and behaviour. And we use these illusions of women printed in the magazines as benchmarks to judge our own bodies and fashion sense from! Well, I certainly have. But now I question it. Please bear in mind, though, that I am 41 years old and have been judging myself in this way for 28-odd years. This will take some adjustment time. My mind feels that I need to change from 4x4 mode into 5th-gear! Love myself as I am! What a concept! This makes me feel like I need to call a conference to discuss this possibility before I can find this acceptable.
Geneen Roth wrote a profound book called Women, Food and God which I have just finished reading. She is onto something for sure! I felt like each page slashed me across the heart and left me bleeding. Raw. And thoughtful. In tears. She speaks the truth. About how those of us who emotionally eat don't even like the food we eat, how we eat to numb ourselves and leave our lives, because we believe that the pain we are trying to numb is bigger than us and will surely shatter us should we allow ourselves to feel. So we work really really really hard at leaving, with food. It is our drug of choice. And so she advises eating with awareness and dignity (as if you were in plain sight of someone else) and then a daily practice she calls Inquiry where we allow ourselves to really feel so that we will understand that the painful emotions will just wash through us without shattering anyone. And we become strong and real and present once again. Our weight then normalizes as a result and we start to live from and in a place of joy. Which is exactly where I want to be! And I can use food to get me there. After all, I can't give up eating like I did smoking. Eating will bring me back to myself and to the present where I can access Joy! with every mouthful.