Why is it always so hard to start at the beginning? I have dreaded this blog, felt hesitant to start something with which I may not keep up. Then, I had to ask my Self, "Why? Why do you think you won't keep up with this? It's important to you. It's what you think about on a daily basis." My body is important to me. It's the thing that holds the me in place so that she can experience the world. As a teen through my early college years, I didn't pay much attention to my body. I treated it like shit, in fact--five Mountain Dews a day, pizza rolls and popcorn chicken for dinner, full-sized candy bars, chips, and french fries on the regular. Fruits and vegetables? What the hell were those? I developed allergies, dermatitis, digestive issues and sudden weight loss due to a wheat intolerance, and a really poor morale. I had been so innocently confident growing up. I rarely felt awkward in my body, aside from making sure to keep my "Wilson women thighs" (which was often a phrase used by the women in my family accompanied by grabbing their thighs and jiggling them) covered. It was a gesture that said there were certain things they couldn't fit into or pass off. Whether it was intended as humor or not was lost on me. I thought something that required such a charade must've been something to feel bad about, and if you couldn't make fun of it, you kept it hidden. Yoga helped me move past the size of my legs in college, but then my confidence plummeted with those other varying physical issues.
Numerous doctors, allergy pills, shots, and creams later, I said, "Fuck it. This shit isn't working." I turned to holistic medicine and natural healing. I turned toward healthy foods. I turned toward positivity. Some days, I think this is all bad karma. Maybe I was too judgmental of people. Maybe I was conceited. Maybe I blah blah blah. I can blame it on anything, but it doesn't change anything accept my mental state, and for me, my mental state has a helluva lot to do with my physical state. So move forward I shall. I owe it to my Self to be proactive and positive.
This has brought me to The Body Project, which popped into my head one night while having a discussion with friends about the phrase "body positive." We came to realize recently that, "body positive" has been a phrase connected to fat women owning their fat and stating that they, too, are beautiful. I wanted something all-encompassing, something that spoke for all women struggling with their bodies or their body image in a society that bombards us with visuals of what a body should be. Body positivity is awesome, as long as all women are included. I want body acceptance and Self love.
What will follow are stories from women all around me--friends, friends of friends, and family. I have asked these women to write affirming messages on their least favorite body part/parts for a photograph. All of these photographs will eventually share a space in a photo book along with short bios and quotes taken from letters that I have asked each woman to write me about their bodies, their opinions on how women are portrayed in society/the media, and health. Beyond this, I hope to share how my life develops through this, what inspires me, and how I bring positivity to my body, mind, and spirit.
There is so much more I want to tell you, but I'm sure it'll develop as we go. Just know that this is only the beginning. These women inspire me and lift me up daily. They are taking a stand against society's standard of beauty that has been so instilled in our minds since forever. They remind me to stay strong. I am asking you to love your body and your Self. It won't hurt. I promise. Begin with me.
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