This is actually a tough subject for me to talk about. I actually had no idea how I felt about my body until I contemplated writing this post. I wish I could say that I love every inch of my body from the bottom to the top (can you tell which song my daughter is playing loudly while I type these words?).
The truth of the matter is that ever since I was a young girl, I have struggled with body image issues. After reflecting on this as an adult, I imagine that my issues stem from being sexually abused starting at such a young age (one). How could something like that not influence how I feel about my body? But as I look even deeper, I can visualize the many moments in my life where the original negative messages I received about my body were reinforced. Beyond what I am able to remember, I know there are tons of moments, images, and messages that have penetrated my subconscious mind without my conscious awareness.
As beings living in a digital age, we are bombarded with images and messages on a daily basis. Some of them make it into our conscious awareness while others settle in the bottom of our minds lurking around waiting to knock our self-esteem on its ass. Just as we accept an aspect of our body, someone is saying something negative about the very things we were feeling positive about.
A prime example is a woman blessed with beautiful, luscious blond hair. Need I say more? I think not. Messages about hair color, facial features, breast size and penis size are rampant in our digital world. Of course, there is another message being spoken, one that I find equally appalling. I am not sure if everyone has noticed, but recently there seems to be an attack on skinny people.
I mean, I totally get it. For years and years, people who have excess weight on their bodies have been criticized and often times even ridiculed and been called “fat”. Unfortunately, rather than grow our consciousness as a society to embrace ALL body types, it has now become socially acceptable to insult the slender, willowy bodies. Will we never get it right? Will we never realize that every body is beautiful in its own unique way?
I was discussing this with my lovely fellow blogger, Lee the other day. One of my daughter’s dearest friends is anorexic. She is dangerously anorexic. Over the years, regardless of what psychologists, doctors, or alternative practitioners her poor mother has taken her to, her daughter is still slowly starving herself to death.
Now that she is in this state, people are continually telling her how ugly she looks. I think their intention is to give her the message that she is too thin, but all she hears is “You are ugly,” which clearly reinforces the vicious cycle she is in. I understand that there is more to anorexia than body image issues, but hearing negative feedback has likely never helped someone who is struggling to feel better about their body.
As for my own body, I shall begin as Lee did, with my feet. Since I was in grade four or so, I have had size 10 feet. Despite their large size, they are quite beautiful. As a girl, I hated the size of my feet, but I got over that a long time ago. Recently someone told me that deities have large feet and it is a sign of their spiritual enlightenment. LOL. Not sure I’m buying it, but either way, I like my feet.
I have pretty decent legs. They are adorned with some body art, which illustrate the stories of my life. I have a black rose on my right ankle, which represents the death of my little sister. I have an Om symbol on the inside of the same foot. My daughter Eden designed and tattooed my Om symbol, so it holds a lot of meaning for me. On my left foot, I have the man in the moon, simply because I love the moon. I was told it would fade almost immediately because the skin is so thin on the top of my foot, but he is still there smiling up at me.
Even though I have had 5 miscarriages and given birth vaginally to my four stunning children, I don’t have any stretch marks, or other drastic signs that at times in my life I was able to rest a plate on my belly without any fear of it falling off. The only telltale sign of birth on my belly is the slight discoloration of my dolphin tattoo. The family joke is that when I am pregnant, my dolphins turn into whales, but I have a good sense of humor, so that never bothered me.
My breasts have been a point of contention since I hit puberty. The first person to point out that I was developing breasts was also the man who molested me from the time I was a one-year-old girl until I became a teen. Let’s just say that his public focus on my newly developing buds set the stage for some serious issues connected to my breasts. Some days I wish they were bigger (I love the idea of having cleavage literally spilling out of my bodice). Yet other days I imagine having my breasts removed just to avoid the attention they attract.
It has always seemed odd how much focus my breasts get, considering their fairly small size. I think it is my always erect nipples that cause all the fuss. I remember walking down the street once and this young man stops dead in his tracks and says something like “Oh my, how nostalgic to see such perky little itty bitty titties!” At first, I was taken back by his candor, but after thinking about it, I decided to embrace his sentiment. The world is full of man-made breasts, which I will never judge, but I guess it does bring more focus to naturally small breasts.
I am slightly self-conscious of my neck because I had surgery to remove 50% of my thyroid during a cancer scare that toppled my life on its ass. No one has commented on it since it healed, but a day or two after the surgery, when I had just removed the bandage, I was walking downtown and ran into the videographer who had filmed my Tantric massage video. He called my name and when I turned towards him he literally jumped back and gasped while dramatically covering his mouth with his hand with a look of horror on his face. “Thanks a lot, asshole.” was what I wanted to say, but instead I just politely explained what had happened.
As for my face, it’s not terrible; I get complimented on my lips quite often (I guess they look kissable). My eyes, which are greenish blueish gray seem to attract a lot of attention. Quite a few people say I have “bedroom eyes”. I guess they think I am saying I could bend over and get screwed at any moment. I think they are misunderstanding me. I am more likely in that moment saying, “Why don’t you go fuck yourself,” but I suppose that would be more of an after thought not the thought in my mind when they comment, so maybe my eyes do exude a level of arousal at all times. Who knows.
Overall I don’t hate my body and I work really hard to truly love it, but I am not always able to do so. Somehow when I am sprawled out, legs open, body vibrating with pleasure, then and only then do I fully love and embrace my body. Oh, that reminds me. It feels odd saying it, but one of my favorite features on my body is my yoni (vagina for those of you who aren’t familiar with the Sanskrit word yoni). It was my high school boyfriend (who had seen his fair share) that first told me I had an exceptionally beautiful “pussy”.
Later in life, after seeing my own fair share of vaginas, I began to realize that my yoni was quite beautiful in her own way. Beyond the lovely pink hue, she is perfectly proportioned to the rest of my body. When she is aroused, she parts her lips ever so gently, as if she is saying “come-hither”. She also tastes lovely, or so my lover tells me. Sorry, I got a little off topic there. You may be able to tell I just got finished writing erotica. Writing erotica always gets me revved up, which is funny because I don’t like reading it, but I love writing it. Gosh, still off topic. My bad.
The times I have seen the true beauty of my body more completely is when I have been slathered in body paint from head to toe. Somehow stripping away your identity with paint and looking at your body through the eyes of the beholder rather than the inhabitant is refreshing and illuminating. I recommend you try it sometime. This Spring I will be hosting Wild Tantra Retreats in Arizona, Florida, British Columbia, and possibly at this awesome retreat center I found in Maine. If you have ever wanted to dive in and connect your inner and outer landscapes through Tantric exercises, body paint, and sensuous meditation, email me and I will let you know the specifics.
PS: the picture of me with the red hand prints was for an anti violence against women campaign. The hand prints represent the parts of my body I remember being violated.
I hope your day is bliss! From my heart to yours, Joy