Friends, last night, fueled by some last vestiges of post-partum depression, I had a teary text conversation with my husband about my own physical self-perception.
That guy….thinks I’m pretty. That I’m sexy and lust-inducing. That my extra 20 babyweight pounds and acne-riddled skin and other flaws too numerous and embarrassing to name are inconsequential and imperceptible. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around this concept, honestly. And of course at first I didn’t believe him.
“HOW can’t you be bothered by my universally ugly flaws?!” I texted angrily.
“I don’t know how to defend you against you,” he replied. “Wouldn’t it be so much better to go through life without constantly flagellating yourself? I wish you could see yourself the way I see you.”
That got me thinking more about perception.
Ben and I share a private board on Pinterest (you can see a public one I curate for him here) and on it I like to pin pictures of beautiful, mostly naked, VOLUPTUOUS, THICK, GIANT-THIGHED women. Seeing them makes me feel incredibly beautiful, because they are built just like me. When Ben sees me, he sees me in the same way I see the pictures on the Pinterest board. But since Kai’s birth it has been so difficult to see myself that way, too. Mostly impossible. I couldn’t even begin to tell you why.
I don’t know how to defend you against you.
I wish you could see yourself the way I see you.
The problem is in my perception. As a [amateur, hungry, ambitious] photographer, I know that I have to begin to tackle this problem for my own developmental benefit. But I really need to tackle it for my own sanity and that of my family’s. They deserve a happy mama and partner and friend. So, I plan on slowly slowly changing my perception of myself through the medium of the self portrait.
This is by no means going to be a scheduled or rigorously followed project, at least not now. I’m just going to take some selfies as often as I think of it. Not just on good hair days or good skin days. Not just when I’m feeling cheerful and bouncy. On any old day at all.
Today was any old day. My hair is clean and shiny. My eyes are a little tired but still inquisitive. I miss my little guy. And I’m clearly a little bit wary of being in front of the camera. But…those shots…they look like me. And I don’t want to wince when looking at these. So, it’s a good start, I think.
I hope you’ll accept the occasional publication of these, friends. Thanks for letting me share with you.