Self Esteem, Body Acceptance, And Being In My Undies On The Internet

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content note: I’m going to be talking about body-shaming stuff.  If that’s a trigger for you, proceed with caution. Also, this post contains more swear words than normal. (Man, I thought I was done with writing trigger warning when I abandoned my old blog.) By the way, this post is pretty long. If you start to get bored and want to give up, do yourself a favor and check out the links at the bottom before you leave.

So you post pictures of your scantily dressed self on the Internet.  You must be pretty comfortable with your body…?

Nope! Not at all! Writing this blog is actually pretty terrifying! Funny thing, though: The more I do it, the more comfortable with my body I get. See, I have to look at pictures of myself to do this. All the time.  I’m seeing my body from angles I barely ever see it in. I see the “flaws” that I usually do my level best to cover up and not think about. And seeing leads to normalizing. I don’t love my body most of the time, but I don’t hate it anymore, either. Because it just…is. The body that I have right now is the only body I can have right now. No amount of wishful thinking or hateful self-talk is going to instantly transform it.

I’m not saying that there aren’t days that I struggle. There are days when I think that every. single. photo. I take for a post is horrifying.  And I usually take a lot of them. But the post needs to go up on schedule. Because this isn’t a “look how pretty I am” blog. It’s a bra fitting blog. The fit of the bra I’m reviewing doesn’t depend on how frizzy my hair is, or how prominent my stretch marks are, or how huge my nose looks from certain angles. So I try not to worry about it. And that gets easier over time.

Just bra fitting, huh? You aren’t doing this for attention or validation?

Good god, no! The fact that other people (especially people I know in real life) can see me is the terrifying part! I’m really,  really trying to focus on the lingerie stuff.

So what’s with Something Else Sundays, then? And why don’t you just edit out your face?

Because while I would like to keep the focus on the pieces I’m discussing, I want readers to identify me as a whole person. I’m not just tits in a bra, and I’m not just a faceless entity pushing these ideas. (Not that there’s anything wrong with other bloggers who do things differently. Different strokes and all that.)

Plus, one of the things I really love about the whole lingerie blogging world is seeing regular women in lingerie. Again with that normalization thing. If you’re a woman, really think about this question: How often do you really see regular women’s bodies naked, or nearly so*? Probably not too often, especially if you’re in the US. Where do we see women’s bodies? Advertising. Media. We are inundated with airbrushed, photo shopped images of women who’s goddamn job it is to look amazing. Think on that, by the way. Really give it some thought.  The beauty ideals that we’re all supposed to live up to don’t even exist a lot of the time. Celebrities in real life don’t even look like the celebrities we see on magazine pages. Really let that sink in. And then think about how silly it is to strive for the impossible. 

Well, that’s all very noble, but let’s be honest here. Some of your readers don’t give a shit about bra fitting.

Yeah, I know. I’m not new to either the Internet or society. Honestly, if someone were to prove to me that none of my images have been used as either a masturbatory aid or an object of mockery, well, I would probably keel over and die of shock. Am I overjoyed about those things? Not really. But I can’t really do anything about it. So I basically ignore it and secretly hope than the people who come here for those purposes might soak up some bra knowledge while they’re here.

***Special information for those who are here for the aforementioned nefarious purposes***

You may feel an urge to use either the comment section or the contact form to let me know how hideous I am or perhaps to make sexual comments. Don’t. That’s just going to get you banned. I don’t want your sexual attention. And your insults are losing their power to hurt me more and more everyday.

quotefdjks

Wow, you’re a hard ass!

Eh. We’ll see. I haven’t received any such communications yet. I know myself well enough to know that when I do it will probably send me into a terrible hate and shame spiral.  But probably for a short time. Shorter than it would’ve been a few months ago.

Sexual harassment is nothing that I haven’t dealt with before.  I’m pretty secure in the idea that unwanted sexual comments reflect badly on the person making them, not on me. And insults really are losing their power. At least the ones about physical characteristics.  I mean, what can anyone throw at me?

Okay, let’s roleplay! You’re ugly!

That’s subjective. I don’t think I’m ugly (usually), my husband doesn’t think I’m ugly, my children don’t think I’m ugly, my friends and family manage to look at me without recoiling with terror. I can’t be attractive to every stranger who happens across my blog. Nor am I trying to be.

You’re fat!/You’re out of shape!/You have a big nose!/One of your eyes opens wider than the other sometimes!/Your boobs are saggy/Your thighs are touching!/You have stretch marks!/etc.

Yep! All of those things are true! That is what my body looks like at this point in time! You have astute observational skills! You’re also pointing out things that I’m aware of, and I’ve already made myself feel worse about them that you ever could. I’m about done feeling bad about my body. Like I said before, my body just is. There are things about it that I can change. There are things about it that I can’t change. There are things I want to change (I’d like to be able to run more than 3 minutes without feeling like I might die, for one) and things I’m not concerned about (I’ve made my peace with my nose and I don’t give a fuck whether or not there’s a space between my thighs). How my body looks right now is just how my body looks right now. It’ll look different next year. It’ll look different the year after that. My body is going to keep changing until I die. Well, it’ll change after that, too, huh?

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Okay. Well played. So what’s the point of this post, exactly?

That’s a great question! I’ve kinda been all over the place here, haven’t I?

Yeah. Try to wrap it up.

I guess I wanted to explain a bit more about why I blog. And I think, at the core, I’m blogging about body acceptance. Proper bra fitting is just the path to body acceptance that I’m highlighting here. A lot of women have negative feelings about their breasts. I used to hate mine. I’m still ambivalent about them, but my feelings are getting more positive. I want to help other women feel better about theirs. If you can learn to accept your breasts, you can eventually learn to accept the rest of yourself.

I really don’t have to blog to accomplish that. I could just spread the word about other bloggers who are already talking about bra fitting. There are a lot of them. (Several are linked on this blog: VISIT THEM!) Or I could spread the word about the body acceptance movement, or Healthy At Every Size, or tons of other similar body affirming things. I blog because I hope to do for someone else (even one person would make me happy) what a lot of the other bloggers have done for me. What they did for me is expose me to real bodies. A huge range of them. Bodies that are fat, thin, dark, light, smooth, bumpy, scarred, hairy, REAL. And that has helped me to normalize and accept my own body. Maybe my photos will help some other woman to do so. Hell, if my photos make you feel better about yourself because “at least I look better than her”? Good! I’ll take it! Really, I will. Because it’s a first step for some people, being able to compare yourself favorably to someone, anyone. Maybe not a very nice step or a very healthy step, but a step nonetheless. Keep feeling better about your body however you can, but see my next point.

I’m also learning (and it’s a process) to look at other bodies without judgement. Human bodies vary so much that there really isn’t any “right or wrong” way that they can look. There are only different ways that they can be. And I’m learning to find all of them beautiful.

How fantastic is Hilda, the plus-sized pin up??? If I ever get a pin up tat, it wil be her.

How fantastic is Hilda, the plus-sized pin up??? If I ever get a pin up tat, it wil be her.

*Want to see regular women naked? Yeah, you do! (Nope, I have no compunctions about using nudity to make a point.) Check out A LOVE LETTER TO THE WORLD THROUGH OUR MAGNIFICENT BODIES from Jes at The Militant Baker. It’s an absolutely amazing, awe-inspiring post and project. Fair warning, I had an embarrassingly emotional reaction to this post. By which I mean I started sobbing like a baby. Finally, bodies that look like mine! Finally. And after you read that post, sit down and read everything else at The Militant Baker. Seriously. For more information on The Beautiful Body Project, go here.

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2 thoughts on “Self Esteem, Body Acceptance, And Being In My Undies On The Internet

  1. Pingback: Best of October | Les gros bonnets

  2. Pingback: In Which I Ramble About My Feelings | Filling A Niche

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