Written by: @StarrLitLove
This week I had a revelation. An epiphany. Call it what you wish. It was fantastic.
First, I’d like to give a little background on my struggle with body image. I have highly disliked my body type for almost as long as I can remember. The feeling was ESPECIALLY strong after puberty. EVERY girl around me was still “stick thin” in 6th grade, with no chest. And here I was, with a full B-cup at least (and still growing), and womanly hips. I had curves! EEK! No one had those! So that made me not normal…which (to me) equaled not good enough…which equaled FAT.
Even throughout high school, I was still curvier than most girls. Looking back at pictures of me with my dance team squad, I was one of a couple (out of 12) girls who actually had an ample chest. I look back at those pictures and think…”Wow, I thought I was OBESE then…” But I SO wasn’t. I looked GOOD. I had curves where all the other girls were straight, which was fine for them, it just wasn’t me. And I didn’t accept that at the time.
I’ve gained somewhere between 10 and 20 pounds since my dancing days in high school. And those 10-20 pounds have crushed my confidence in the past 12 years. To the point where, if I get above a certain size or weight, I get constant disordered eating thoughts and have to fight the urge to give into them. There was a time that I ended up in the hospital due to mal-nourishment, because I was basically starving myself and had lost 20 pounds VERY quickly. And that was just one instance.
The Stripped Project’s mission statement is “to provide a fair representation of real beauty in hopes of repairing the damage done by the skewed depictions of the human (especially female) form in traditional media.” And boy, did it repair some damage done to me! While scrolling through the pictures of all different “au naturale” body types, I came across one that struck me. “That…looks like my shape!”…”Those are MY hips!”…”And she looks BEAUTIFUL!”
Seeing that nude body that looks so similar to my shape, my curves…and seeing true BEAUTY in it…struck me to the core. I sat in stunned silence for what must have been 5 minutes. I had to go back and scroll through to that picture. I looked again. Beautiful. Tears welled up in my eyes. The feeling of mind altering/life changing ACCEPTANCE I felt for my body was overwhelming. Seeing what my disordered mind had blocked me from seeing, on another person, but a very similar form…was incredible.
I jokingly (but also very seriously) apologized to my hips and curves for despising them for so long. I apologized for hating the body that I’ve been given, and hating it for SO long. That night, I accepted my body. And it was the most freeing feeling I thing I’ve ever felt. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted from me and I had taken a deep breath of relief.
The Stripped Project has made such a difference in how I feel about, and how I now accept, my body. So, to Gaby Loisel, the creator of the project, I extend my overwhelming thanks and gratitude. You have helped to wake me up to my body’s beauty. And that’s something I’ve been seeking for so long. Thank you so much.
Now…to wrap up my post here, I am going to be doing my own revealing. Not “Stripped” per se, but it’s pretty damn revealing for me. I NEVER post pictures of my body. It’s always shoulders and up shots. Because I hated how my body looked. Now, I choose to show my curves and not hide them anymore. This (for me) is just as scary as putting up a nude shot! Because that bad body image voice is still screaming at me “You’re FAT! You look like a WHALE!” Now, though, I’ve learned to reference The Stripped Project whenever I hear that voice telling me that I’m not beautiful. Because looking there, I can see what beauty truly is. And it comes in so many forms. Including mine.
And as I said while signing off that night, after having my epiphany…”I wasn’t made for skinny jeans, but I look damn good in MY jeans!”