Befriending my body
A couple of years ago, I realized that I think other women’s imperfections are take-your-breath-away beautiful. Crow’s feet, gray hairs, stretch marks and scars, overly rosy cheeks, pores, the light and shadow of human skin, outer thigh dimples, “age spots” and freckles. Not beautiful in a “your flaws are what make you unique and that’s beautiful” kind of way.
But I’ve had a pretty hard time extending that appreciative and reverent gaze to my own dear self. So I scheduled a Fearless Session with the ridiculously talented Abbey Moore Photography in an attempt to make friends with my face and with my body and to find beauty in the physical self that I've spent an awful lot of time trying to control or ignore.
When I got my photos back a few weeks after my session, I vacillated between disbelief that the gorgeous woman in those pictures was actually ME (brain: “that can’t be you — you don’t actually look like that!”) and obsessive, detail-oriented self-criticism (brain: “ugh, look at that dumb face you’re making”). And then I noticed that so many of the photos Abbey took of me made no attempt to hide or camouflage what I consider to be my most obvious flaws…
The scars on my left arm, my eye crinkles, the softness of my jaw and the asymmetry of my face, the stretch marks on my thighs, the comically round tip of my nose.
Features that, no matter what I do, will never obediently blur into the perfected face and body that I consider “ideal.” For a few moments, through Abbey’s lens, I saw how all of my imperfections coalesce into a quirky, real, objectively beautiful whole.
It’s messy — this self-acceptance thing, this vulnerability thing, this unshakeable and boundless love thing, this being-a-woman thing. It’s hard and it’s dynamic and it’s a journey.
But every day, I want to keep working towards making peace with my body and being tender with myself, grateful for the friends, teachers, and practitioners who let me borrow their eyes from time to time so that I can see myself with a new perspective.