Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Unbound

When I photograph myself, I think only of anatomy, angles and perspective. Any self-consciousness is lost. It's only when I begin to draw that I remember it's me.
My relationship with my body used to be austere and loveless. I suppressed every desire for physical pleasure. I ate like a bird, took drugs to deaden the senses and 'did' sex, when required, with clinical efficiency. When I looked in the mirror, all I saw were flaws – and not just with my body.
Over the past few years, I have, in every sense, let myself go. It's been a wonderful experience. I freed myself from wrapped-too-tight notions about how I should look and act and and threw caution to the wind. I ate for pleasure rather than to "feed the machine", as I used to put it. I responded to the sexual curiosity I'd repressed since I was in puberty and fucked both women and men, setting no boundaries for what I'd do with them. I fell in love, hard.
I even exposed myself in my art, allowing it to express the raw, unrefined tumult of my emotions.
Right now, I am reviewing a sheaf of study photographs of my body. Suddenly, I realise, I'm no longer critical of what I look like, of whom I think I am. My body has become the repository of more good memories than bad and even if it isn't quite as tight or as elastic as it used to be, it's the vessel of a freer, bolder, more imaginative and ultimately more satisfied self.

11 comments:

Aaron B. Brown said...

What brought about the change in how you see and feel about yourself?

Jennie Rosenbaum said...

I'm still trying to stop being critical about how I look. my body issues are so insanely deep seated but I relish the idea of being free of that self hatred. I'm glad you've found that release. your recent photographs of yourself have been so honest and open and beautiful. they have a sense of ease of self that I hope, one day, to attain.

Mona said...

Brilliantely put and I think that it (unfortunately) refers as much to males these days (at least that is what they tell me LOL!) ME? I blame Murdoch and his bloody empire for a lot of it...after all "tits" were on the top shelf previously!
Regards/

Elizabeth said...

Thank you!!!

Deacon said...

It's interesting how our bodies hold on to memories, even if our mind doesn't want it to. You sound refreshed, like being out of debt.

And - I recently discovered your blog, and have rather enjoyed it.

Adelaide Damoah said...

The beauty of age, experience, self love an art.

To be free to explore and express oneself fully and not to be held back by fear, self loathing and insecurities. That is when the best art comes...

I will get there too, soon :)

Wallflower said...

I had a similar switch since I entered my thirties 7 years ago. I used to spend so much energy adjusting my skirt, or trying to make the reflection say something other than what it was saying. Since I turned thirty though, it's like I am settling in and I appreciate my incredibly strong healthy self. I am thick and curvy, but I never get sick, and I am so strong---strong enough to do my art and keep up with people 15 years younger than me. People complain about getting older, but letting go of a girls self loathing has made me grateful to finally grow up.

The Vamp Aesthetic said...

I love your blog & art.

Erik said...

Interesting.

I tried letting myself go for a year. I nevern felt more worse. I was more depressed than ever.

Now I'm back to working out like obsessed, eating as clean as possible. I'm angrier, more confident, and people like me less.

And I feel a little bit better.

Mike Wood said...

Thanks an interesting observation. A friend of mine who does figure modeling for artists sees it the complete reverse. When she is sketched she feels she is all anatomy, and angles with no self consciousness, and when she is photographed in identical ways she becomes so. The anonymity of the sketch saying 'thats not me' as opposed to the photo 'yikes! that's me!' And yet she ends up at the same place being bolder freer and satisfied. All roads can lead to Rome. :)

Keiko32482 said...

I love this article. I've always eaten for my body and pleasure, well except for when my health was bad or I was actually overweight. I think that a beautiful face must be complemented by a beautiful smile and true confidence and self love, otherwise the face is not so beautiful, dull, just another typical anorexically thin "typical" model face/body.