Second Glance

Same Body, Second Glance: A Bold Attempt to See Myself Anew

A few days ago, I promised to unveil a new project today …

One that was vulnerable.

One that scared me.

This is it.

*

Almost a year ago, I found myself in a kind of a rut.

I’d been recovered from an on-again, off-again eating disorder for more than a decade by then.  I was healthy, but like a lot of recovered anorexics, I didn’t always love the person in the mirror.

(Maybe that’s an understatement.)

Meanwhile, I was just starting a special online course in beginner’s contemplative photography, and I was jonesing for a project to share with the class.

So I did something brave.

I made a commitment to myself:  every day for forty days, I’d take one photograph of my body that I could honestly see as beautiful.  Then I’d share it with my class — a small band of women who were trying to re-see the world in their own ways.

My rules were simple, even spare*:  I’d shoot not with my DSLR but with my iPhone 4S, in understated black-and-white.  I’d take every photo as if it would never be cropped, and I’d edit nothing.

Turns out, that project became one of the single most empowering acts of my life.

*

Over the next forty days, I’m going to share every one of those forty photographs on this page — something I never thought I’d be courageous enough to do.

These images represent my first tentative acts as a brand-new baby photographer, so they’re not my best work from an aesthetic perspective.  I’m not apologizing for that, because I don’t really think aesthetics is the point here.

I should also tell you that most of these images are fairly PG — nothing you wouldn’t see at the Y on a Saturday afternoon.

Still … they are personal images, sometimes startlingly so.

I understand that that may bother some readers.  If that’s you and you’re a regular here, it won’t offend me if you unfollow for awhile.  If you like, mark your calendar to come back in a month and a half.  I promise, by then I’ll probably want to post pictures of puppies and kittens and rainbows.

(Okay, not really.  But you know what I mean).

As often as possible, I’ll be sharing the photographs and words exactly as they appeared for the original class.  If I need to stop now and again to explain more,  answer questions, or maybe just step away for a day or two, I will.  Please know that it is hard for me to share these images.

But I also think it’s good for me.

My hope is that maybe it’ll be good for you, too.

If you’re with me, please know: I think you’re amazing. ❤

 

 

*If you want to read more about my aesthetic and philosophical reasons behind my choices, you might check out this post.

 

 

 

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40 thoughts on “Same Body, Second Glance: A Bold Attempt to See Myself Anew

      • This is such a great question.

        For me, the most important thing was the simple act of seeing myself through my *own* eyes — a privilege rarely afforded to women in this world, and a privilege I didn’t know I’d been denied until I began.

        That said, the sharing was a beautiful part of the project, too. I was lucky enough to be working with a group of kind, loving, open-minded women who gave me permission to be myself and be vulnerable in their (online) presence.

        What I’m doing here now is a different kind of sharing, among an audience that may not always be as kind. I’ve decided I’m okay with that, and that okay-ness is also pretty empowering.

        If all that makes sense. 🙂

        Like

  1. lbdesigns1 says:

    Prefect idea! I think this will empower many women and I am proud of you for stepping up and sharing the most personal parts of you! Way to go! You’ve got my support 🙂

    Lauren | LB Designs
    xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Olivia, thank you — from the bottom of my heart — for being such an important part of it. I’m so grateful for you women who allowed me the openness and space to embrace myself there. You are amazing. ❤

      Like

  2. Bonnie Christian says:

    Everyone has their own cross to carry, this is yours. I not only admire you for the open struggle but also the strength to carry your cross. Jesus was tired, beated, bruised and stumbled to show us he was human, but continued the journey. This post can help so many people, opening and sharing already shows your enter strength.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re so welcome, beautiful Jennifer. It touches my heart to know that this little project has been an encouragement to you. 🙂 And I’m so glad you’re here. Just say ya know. ❤ Thank you so much for saying hi!

      Like

  3. Very courageous. I’m pleased it helped. I probably won’t look at the rest, because, as a recent follower, your project wasn’t addressed to me: and anyway, your beautiful first picture tells all I need to know

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love your project. It is BRILLIANT!
    I’ve never had an eating disorder, but after breast cancer and knee surgery am working hard to restore my own image. I really am not concerned about weight or beauty as I am strength. It’s been a long haul…
    Thanks for stopping by the party. Life pulled me away from the party. Usually I’m around to read and promote everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, thanks Susie– you are truly such an inspiring human being, & I’m flattered you found some inspiring things to enjoy here, too.

      And yes — STRENGTH. I need some of that. Please pass a heaping portion my way. 🙂

      Thank you for stopping by. You rock! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey!! I just came across your blog and found it firstly, very empowering. The fact that it’s coming from someone who has been to a part of life which wasn’t very positive only made it even more amusing. I must mention, I looooooove the way you look! You’re extremely gorgeous in my eyes and I wish you could see yourself through them! You have beautiful lips, long lush lashes and the most interesting pair of eyes (honestly, I could stare at them forever). I had drawn inspiration from your project and I’d love to do it as well. I love your courage, and mostly your writings. It’s beautiful. You’re so beautiful I hope you know it as well. Great day! X

    Like

    • Thank you for that kindness! 🙂

      Sometimes I think that seeing our own beauty is a lot like riding a bike — it doesn’t come naturally to most of us humans, but once we learn it, it *feels* natural … even freeing! 🙂

      I’m learning, slowly. I hope you are too!

      And I would absolutely love to see you work through a similar journey. That would absolutely make my year!!

      Let’s keep seeing and making beauty together. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s true! But somehow, somewhere that darkness still exists and it’s easy to fall off track and end up going back to our old ways. It does get better, really! And I love to read your journey about it- you make it so close to everyone’s hearts. Thank you!! Your courage is such an aspiration to many. I hope women out there get to know about your project and derive just as much courage as it took you from the start of this. It’s amazing! Though I am a little apprehensive of it, I’ll try my best! Hugs!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Your words made me smile this morning … Thank you! 🙂

          It’s true that this kind of thing takes a lot of courage. I took the photographs and shared them with a much smaller group long before I had the nerve to put them on my blog. I knew myself, what I could handle and what I couldn’t, so I took my time.

          I think it’s its own form of courage to admit when we’re not quite ready, when we need to go slow.

          So, I hope you take all the time you need in doing what’s good for you… We all need gentleness and patience, especially from ourselves. ❤

          P.S. You're beautiful, too. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • I’m glad, I really am! Because I swear, when you smile you must be so gorgeous!

            Just a little curious, have you ever thought about how people who saw it would think of it? I’m still a little afraid because I am unable to walk out of this personal bubble where I feel safe, and without any judgement. Even when you shared them in a smaller group, do you find it hard to step out of this comfort bubble? Because to be true, I really still do find it hard! Hahahaha! Is it a individual thing or have you been at that stage as well?

            I love your words of kindness and warmth, really. They remind me of self-love and the appreciation for ourselves. (which I have to admit, I forget most of the times). I hope you’re well, and I hope you’ll always love yourself more than anything else! Because you’re more than worth it. Xx

            Liked by 1 person

            • Oh, girl, I totally understand. For the longest time it was hard … SO hard. But as I began to have more confidence in myself — the strength that comes from knowing that no one’s opinion matters more than your own — it didn’t bother me so much anymore.

              A lot of people have seen those photos of me. Some of them viewed them without the most genuine intentions. But I’ve come to a place where I realize that what they think of the images isn’t really in my control, and that’s okay. There are two beings in the universe whose thoughts toward me *really* matter … Mine, and my Maker’s. That’s it. 🙂

              And by the way: you’re worth it too. ❤

              Liked by 1 person

              • Whoa!!!!! I am currently really amused at what you just said! I never knew how we could all think of it this way, and how much easier our lives would be if all of us just thought of it this way! Your words seem very familiar, like they used to be inside my head, and I am so glad you mentioned them because I need this reminder so much! Thank you, talking to you keeps me on track. Have a great day! Thank you soooooo much!! ❤

                Liked by 1 person

              • I love that feeling … Stumbling over another’s words and feeling like they were my own, but lost long ago along the way.

                I’m glad I could encourage you … Keep being yourself and enjoying your own loveliness … There’s much to enjoy. 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Alfred Einstein – Joseph E Bird

    • What an honor to have been mentioned, Joe! And I love your slow, subtle story. I’m willing to bet you have plenty of special anecdotes to share — they often show up in your poetry. 🙂

      (And here’s to making up new stories, too!!)

      Like

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