This is a selfie of me in my new bathers that I took with the full intention of posting as part of Shae's I Heart My Body day a while back. But I never posted it, and I never wrote that blog. I didn't, because I was ashamed.
I was going to write a post about how much I like my bright and cheery new swimmers (I do! they are comfy and pretty). I was going to write about how my body's worth or acceptability is not reduced by my fat tummy or big legs, my double chin or loose arms. I was going to say that the lines around my eyes and the blemishes on my skin are part of me, telling my story, and that I wear them willingly, and won't try to erase them.
All of these things are true, but they are not the whole story. They are not the whole story of how I feel about my body, and they never will be, because I am heir to a tradition that sees my skin as shameful, and I have soaked that in, deep into my bones, and oh but it is hard to shed.
To post a picture of myself in less than "full" dress is an act of rebellion for me, against the idea that my body ought to covered, ought to be as invisible as possible. To own that my body is not just weak, flawed clothing for my mind, but an integral, potentially joyful part of me, feels transgressive in many ways. I have never been ashamed of being fat, or wrinkled, or freckled, or big-nosed, or short-sighted. I have been ashamed, at a deep, semi-conscious level, or being embodied at all; of being the possessor of female flesh. Of being seen.
But as Mumford and Sons put it, "In these bodies we will live / In these bodies we will die..." I think I am ready to accept my body as part of me, truly of me and for me, and let go of the idea that it is somehow other than me, and something to be hidden away all the time.
So I am being brave, and offering this not particularly salacious shot of me, as part of my journey. I want to have an integrated vision of myself, and this is part of it.