On You, Your Body, And The History Of Our Bodies | Body Acceptance & Self Acceptance | Boudoir Photography
Isn’t it wild we live in a society where we have to learn to love our bodies? I wonder when I learned to un-love mine. Do you know when you did? I think it’s gradual, like most things in life. The accumulation of body shaming in the media and the comments from women in our families on their weight formed the false conclusion for us as kids that some bodies are better than others.
I remember being in the backseat of my dad’s car; it must have been July or August because the East coast summer was in full swing. I can still feel it, the ping in my chest when I looked down to see my thighs squished against the dark grey leather seat. I couldn’t have been more than ten years old. I don’t think I thought much of it. I didn’t suddenly hate my body; however, I do remember thinking “hmm my thighs look bigger when I’m sitting”. It wasn’t the first time I thought negatively of my body I suppose, but it was the first time I analyzed it. It was the first time I saw my legs as anything other than a mode of transportation.
I read the other day that 80% of ten-year-old girls have been on a diet.
I wish I could shake my little self. I wish I could tell her how perfect she is. How strong she is. How those thighs made her a horseback-rider, a figure skater, a leapfrog on the playground. That moment in my dad’s car was followed by years of collecting different parts of my body that I thought could be “better”.
High school came with the crave for love and acceptance teenagers experience so strongly. We believed, as many women still do, to receive both of those we had to be somebody. This “somebody” looked a certain way. My eating became quite restrictive, and I learned in later years many of my friends’ did as well.
We viewed our bodies back then as projects, things that needed “fixing”. I’m sure at some point you decided you needed fixing too.
I must say, it is so easy to passively do anything, especially the negative. Once I entered my twenties though I decided I didn’t want to live hating these physical aspects of myself.
Like unlearning to love my body, learning to love it is gradual.
Just as the voices I heard and content I consumed taught me to hate parts of myself, I had to consume the opposite.
I made myself look in a mirror and list parts of myself I loved. It took energy and was a practice, like anything new in life. If there was an outfit I felt confident in, I wore it. Again and again. I took note of those moments I felt beautiful and recreated them. From outfits, to red lipstick, to who I followed on Instagram, I became acutely aware of what made me feel good in my skin.
It feels tedious, doesn’t it? Undoing those years of finding what’s wrong with your body. I’m right there with you. Every woman is right there with you. Loving our bodies takes work because unfortunately, the world is telling us not to.
Just as I don’t remember a moment where I decided this body is one worth hating, I don’t remember deciding it was worth loving: it just was.
I remember brushing my teeth in my underwear before bed one night and casually thinking I looked hot. It felt easy, and it sounds silly writing that. But, I remember the little voice in my head speaking so kindly about myself. I remember being taken back by that moment. I revelled in it. I went back to my room and put on my favourite bra and underwear. I soaked in this moment of not seeing flaws and feeling peace and excitement in and for my body.
Little moments like that still catch me off guard. Those moments where I reflect on how far I’ve come. As I sit here writing this though, I don’t fully understand how I learned to love my body. I think it’s better described as unlearning the hate.
Many women think they have to be at that last mirror part of this story to do a boudoir shoot. Some women are. Some women use this experience as a celebration of loving their body. But, you don’t have to be quite there yet. I offer you this possibility as well- that this photo-shoot could be a step towards being there, towards being the woman who sees no fixing to be done. There is no fixing to be done.
Whether or not you do a boudoir shoot, I hope you unlearn the hate; I hope all women unlearn the hate.
Above all, I hope eventually we don’t have to learn to love our bodies and that it’s just something we don’t let young girls lose along the way.