The joy of a good body image


I am having a good day. Not just financially, but in myself, too. I have been surrounded by people that I like and love all day and it does make such a difference to my outlook on life, but it passes. I still long for endless continuity; wanting things to stay good all the time, but is so childish and I am working so hard at being a grown up. Here I am, 48 years old. Third or fourth career, mother of children, married, washing machine, 4×4 car and I still feel like a child most of the time.

I look around me, at times, and wonder if all other women feel the same. Do they look in the mirror and wish it was different? Suck in the cheeks, tilt the chin up slightly, bring one foot forward and then lie to themselves? I honestly think they do, but they just hide it better. Or perhaps not even that. I am sure I hide it really well and that there are those out there who know me, but most would think I have it wrapped, sorted and ready to go.
So there we are. I do not, and as I ponder yesterday’s epiphany, I can see that my entire adult life has been spent in the field of body image. From a body painter to a photographer, a yoga teacher to a clothes designer, it has all been focussed on the body in some form. Most of it, probably all of it if I really think through, has been about transformation, change, illusion, alteration and archetype.

I have always had my own body issues and endlessly deal with those of others. As the mother of a daughter, now I really do realise the extent of the carnage we all move through. All the time. I can rant, I know I can and have been told that I do, but I would like to propose that on the new website, that Devotion will present in a couple of weeks time, there is a section on body image. I know it is not a purely female issue and if there was a way of opening a forum for all of us who deal with this to add comment it could be interesting.
How it will then move anything in the public arena, I really have no idea, but within each of us with issues there is so much angst that can be so painful and being able to see that we are not the only ones is a powerful tool for change.

I watched two drunk women in mini skirts the other night. Such high heels they could barely walk, and thought about how that is an acceptable face of women as far as the current media projection is concerned. It is a sad sight, but as far as licensing laws, alcohol advertising, fashion magazines and so on, totally perfect. Of course I could be so wrong, that there are other ways, and hey, what is wrong with a pair of heels now and then? I can be seen as being judgemental of the choices of others, I know, but at the same time I can look at the most successful boy at my children’s school and see that he is chunky, bellied and badly dressed. By contrast, the most successful girl is skinny, well dressed and preened to the cheeks. Quite a contrast.

I cannot change any of that, the journey for every one of us is profoundly personal, but I can change me and my reaction to myself. And the most powerful tools for change are identification, awareness and a desire to do things differently. For me the shop is a huge statement of the other options and the dressing for work each day in the clothes I make, another. But there is more to grounding one’s self than just what is worn. The more it is part of the consciousness, the simpler and easier it gets. The most engaging and attractive are always those who totally accept themselves. Victoria Beckham being an excellent example of someone who does not accept anything about herself at all, and so she never looks real, comfortable, attractive.
Gosh, another sweeping judgement. Could also be an observation. Let it be just that.