BARE is one of the few words that I’ve given thought to prior to the week it occurred. I had plans for BARE. But as the date approached, I chickened out.
You see, a couple years ago I came across an art project consisting exclusively of beautifully lit, black-and-white photographs of women’s thighs. Not in a sexual way. I hesitate to say even in an particularly artistic way. But in a completely, undoubtedly, beautifully real way. There were thin thighs, thick thighs, cellulitey thighs, stretch marked thighs, thighs gaps, thighs that didn’t even separate near the knees. No thighs looked just like mine. Because none of them looked the same. And much to my surprise, for the first time in my life, I didn’t feel ashamed of my legs.
If you were to ask me what part of my body I’m most insecure about, it’s my thighs. Always has been. Even as a small child I tended to sit with my feet pointed so only the balls rested on the ground. I thought it was weird and gross that my legs spread so much when I sat down. I assumed if I could tell this flaw from my own vantage point, surely others could, too. My peers never let me forget that I was heavier than most, so I routinely posed at school to disguise my girth as much as a seven year old can.
When I hit puberty, my thighs grew so quickly that they were striped with deep purple stretch marks. They chafed against each other when I wore skirts. Pants that fit my waist couldn’t accommodate my legs and often I’d have to buy a size or two up (which is particularly traumatic for a girl suffering with anorexia). I don’t know if my ex-husband ever saw the back of my legs in the full light of day during our eight years together. That’s how deep the disdain runs.
So after seeing that art project and becoming so deeply riveted by my lack of insecurity — I wanted to take and post a picture of my bare thighs for this post.
But y’all… I couldn’t do it.
As evident by my other recent posts, I’m struggling with my body right now. And while an aspect of my head thinks it’d be partially healing to dive in and just do it anyway, my heart is begging for respite. For a small break in the trial.
And as HRH Brene Brown preaches, you should never share a source of shame until you’ve owned it. If I shared such a picture now, I suspect I’d hear lots of love about my bravery, my vulnerability, my beauty. But if one person made the slightest of negative observation, I’d be ruined. And my hair can only be a life preserver so many times before it drowns with me.
So this is my BARE post. This is me telling you that I’m not strong enough yet. That I’m damaged and scared and insecure. That despite the body positivity accounts I share on social media, the beauty myths I deconstruct, and the small steps of allowing my current boyfriend to watch me walk past him naked… I’m still not ready to be quite so bold.
In the meantime, please enjoy these amazing individuals who did what I couldn’t. It isn’t the same project I discovered so long ago, but it has the same heart. Cheers.
This week Steph and I devour Brene’s new book and PROTECT what’s ours…
Check out Steph’s wonderful #VOWbare post here