Yesterday I introduced #TheStrippedProject and shared my response to it. I truly appreciate all the comments with initial reactions and thoughts to this project. I thought it would actually create a dialogue, with conflicting thoughts. I knew it was only MY response, and welcomed the dialogue. After all, sometimes these topics are challenging to talk about. I am learning a lot from people responses and am truly grateful for that!
In this Part II I wanted to share another response to this project. I have followed this woman on Twitter since I started ViR, and have been truly inspired by watching her fight for her recovery on a daily basis. She truly is a Recovery Warrior, and I am honored to have her share her words here, her first time as a guest blogger on ViR! Thank you hun.
Written By: @ThisisMessy
There has been no shortage of struggling though my eating disorder recovery process. Meal plan adjustments and clothing size adjustments. Tweaking perceptions, switching therapists, seeing specialists, slipping, tripping, stumbling… and righting myself to trying again. Discovering the value of positivity and choice. Battling the destructive self-depreciation that so dictated my life.
It was my third round of treatment before I fully understood the statement ‘Recovery Is Not Linear’. And damn, am I a prime example of that. The trajectory of separating myself from bulimia has looked a whole lot more like a toddler-squiggle-crayon drawing than a straight upward trending line.
A whole lot of the dips and back-loops along the way have been body image hang-ups. In the throes of the eating disorder, I would wake up at three o’clock in the morning to step on the scale and then scrutinize my thighs in the mirror, panicked i had somehow infinitely expanded during the night. In early recovery, I covered all the mirrors from the neck down, absolutely petrified to catch a glimpse of my changing body. There were days I blurred my outline with baggy sweatpants and heavy sweaters, embarassed to show my silhouette to the world.
I am now at a healthy weight. The mirrors are uncovered and the scale has long since been banished to the garbage dump. But body consciousness continues to crop up. With all the plastic-surgeried-airbrushed-thin-equals-glamorous societal bombardment, it’s not so surprising that the desire for the ‘prefect’ body is so pervasive. Which is why I so immediately, overwhelmingly appreciated The Stripped Project. The simplicity and unabashed realism of so many naked bodies is beautiful. There was not a single image with which I found fault or flaw; I was simply grateful and awestruck that each of these individuals contributed in such an intimate way to shattering societal beauty barriers. There is nothing ‘perfect’ about these unclothed images. But every one of these people was perfectly comfortable enough with their form to bear it publicly. And that self-acceptance is exuded from these images. It’s what makes them so gorgeous.
Through recovery, I have realized that it’s not the shape of my body that needs to change; it’s my attitude towards the shape of my body. One of The Striped Project portraits looked like me. Her shape mirrors my own. I spent time staring at this woman’s body. It is still difficult to objectively view my own reflection. I immediately jump to the flaws and must rein in the impulse to criticize my perceived imperfections. But examining her, I found no faults… nothing I would change. She’s curvy and sexy and unafraid to show the world. It struck me that if I am so readily able to wholly appreciate a body so similar to my own, I am capable of the same for myself.
I did not have to talk myself into liking this woman’s body. I did not immediately add fabricated pounds to her frame. I did not think she had a single anatomical feature to be embarrassed about. Her hips were not too big, her breasts not too small, her thighs not disgusting, her arms not flabby, her parts were not out of proportion. And yet, I have criticized my own body in all these ways. I am grateful for The Stripped Project. I have no barriers when it comes to accepting someone else’s naked form. The beauty of my own body also exists in my ability to uninhibitedly appreciate my undressed self. Starting with a Stripped viewing of myself in the full length mirror, forgetting the flaws and focusing on embracing exactly what I see.