Something I've seen a little bit lately in the blog world has been posts about body image. Most of the posts I've read have been written by women, who in my opinion, have a more culturally ideal body than I do, and who adamantly say they have no body issues, but here's their opinion on it. I'm not writing this to negate anything they have said or feel, but rather to say that I find it odd that they are the voices on this issue, but also that as a society we are embarrassed to admit we struggle with body image or with being overweight in general.
It almost seems like you aren't supposed to admit you're unhappy about your body or appearance, but if you don't fit the ideal of our culture, then you will be bombarded with images and weight loss suggestions until you change. Of course, you will be simultaneously subjected to lots of food advertisements and people saying you have to be happy with your body right now and that you should just flaunt whatever body you have regardless of societal norms. So, to be unhappy with my body or weight is taboo, but in reality we don't want to be overweight either?
I struggled with posting pictures on my blog when I started it for a couple of reasons. I didn't want to give up a lot of my privacy, which is why you won't get my full name here, where I live exactly, or many pictures of my kids. Yet the main reason was because I was and am unhappy about my appearance. I used to be very active and never stick thin, but definitely a lot thinner than I am now. I used to have the time and ability to exercise every day, to go to the gym, and to run as long as I wanted.
Now, I'm not saying this to decry the effects of motherhood and pregnancy, nor do I want to use that as an excuse or crutch. Rather to say we have a wrong way of perceiving women and mothers in our culture. I am much more than my body or my appearance, and my body is more than my appearance, as well.
There's nothing wrong with enjoying exercise, I actually enjoy it, I just don't get to do as much as I would like, but only to say maybe we should question why we are talking and posting so much about our bodies. What's the point of that picture? Am I showing it only in hopes of making others feel bad? Do I take pride only in my appearance or am I more than the body that houses my soul? Why do we have to be embarrassed to have any body issues? I have a feeling all women in our culture struggle with body image to a certain extent, it's kind of unavoidable.
I realize this may seem like an odd topic to come from someone who is a blogger and has multiple pictures of themselves posted on here, but I am asking myself these same questions. I do take more than one picture for each post and I do only pick the ones I think make me look my best, but I am starting to question my motives. Am I doing this only to feel some sort of validation or is it only to share a love for certain styles of clothing?
This is partially why I have chosen to post pictures of myself post-partem, swelling and all. I want to show what motherhood actually looks like, not what we're told it looks like and in some way to celebrate that. To show the imperfection and yet the strength of the human body. The fact that we have been created to do so much with it and how it changes and survives and thrives in spite of all our bodies are put through. I don't want to hide behind motherhood or physical conditions as an excuse to being unhealthy, but rather choose to not hide away in spite of them. I'm not there yet, but by God's grace, I will get there.
How do you deal with your body image? Do you feel like there's shame to admitting we're unhappy with our bodies?