Today I’d like to write about something that has nothing to do with art, at least not at first glance but it has been on my mind for a while and I’d like to share it with you. I’ve been thinking a lot about women’s relationships with their bodies and how it can effect every aspect of our lives. I’ve never head any particular issues with my body, not even when I was a teenager I’ve never had any major insecurities and have always felt ok (if not exactly fantastic) in my own skin.
But in last few years I noticed I was feeling more and more insecure about my looks. I couldn’t really point out why, I had no reason to feel insecure or self-consciences. Quite contrary, I’m in really great shape and I have never been healthier. But still, I felt constant presence of this annoying little voice in my head that kept telling me I’m not attractive enough, thin enough, that my skin is not clean enough, my belly not flat enough, my hair hasn’t got enough volume… None of that made me truly concerned or upset and I was still able to feel good about myself and enjoy my body but I noticed that constant presence of subtle dissatisfaction, of this nagging voice is preventing me from being fully comfortable in my own skin and that is slowly and subtly siphoning my energy.
I know that happens to a lot of women, even to those women who can say they love their body. It seems no matter how confident we feel about ourselves there is that tiny irritating voice that somehow crawls into our hear to whisper we are not pretty enough, young enough, fit enough and that we should definitely not eat that extra slice of pizza or have that piece of cake… I’m not going to go into why that is so (social conditioning anyone?) but I know in one moment I have had enough of it. I have had enough of having my energy drained by this never ending self-questioning and I said to myself, in most defiant and decisive manner: “I’m done with this bullshit. I’m done with continually judging myself and my looks, I’m done with subtly criticizing myself and undermining my self-confidence.” I’m not quite sure how I’ve came to this point but just making that decision felt like a great relief and more decisions naturally followed.
Suddenly I felt very rebellious. “I’m perfect. I look perfect, not great or good or cute, I look perfect!“, I’ve said to myself. Of course, a voice of criticism instantly replied “Nobody is perfect, don’t be silly.” But, hey, that’s not true, we are perfect, in our own way we are all perfect! Our bodies are inherently perfect biological constructions that keep us moving and breathing and accomplishing all kinds of amazing stuff in this material world and they make pretty neat vehicles on our souls journeys. And, even if my body image does not perfectly fit society’s expectation of what is beautiful, I still have a right to claim my own perfection and I most certainly have right to say one big fuck you to society’s expectations.
So, I kept saying to myself I look perfect, that I look perfect when I’m all dressed up, but that I also look perfect in yoga pants covered with sweat or that I even look perfect when I have flu and been throwing up all night :) I kept repeating it to myself until I felt that treacherous voice of criticism had completely disappeared. I was ready to let it go forever and make space for full self-acceptance.
Now, the main reason I’m sharing all this with you is because after I decided to fully accept my own looks I noticed another big, completely spontaneous shift in perception. My attitude towards creativity and art changed. I begun feeling there is no such thing as “bad art” and that if sometimes we create work that doesn’t fulfill our expectations it doesn’t mean we failed. It often just means that in that given moment we didn’t have enough resources or time to fulfill our artistic vision. For example, if I work on a painting while feeling tired and unfocused and it doesn’t turn out how I imagined it in my head, it doesn’t mean I’ve failed, it simply means I lacked energy and my painting reflects that. And that is perfectly ok, as we all have right to feel tired or unmotivated or be in a bad mood sometimes :) Or, if I don’t manage to take a gorgeous photo of a misty landscape that’s been haunting me, it doesn’t mean I’m a bad photographer, it probably means I haven’t been in the right place at the right time and that’s ok, too. I simply need to keep on looking and taking pictures.
To conclude, after making a conscientious decision to fully accept (and love) my body and after I rejected constant (however subtle) self-criticism I gained new positive, encouraging insights into my own creativity as well and it helped me create more freely and with more ease.