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Can’t Be Arsed

I should really use the scanner on these pictures, but it’s so much quicker to just use my phone to grab a snapshot and in hectic chicken-pox-filled world any impediment to moving forward with something that isn’t absolutely necessary to our survival increases the likelihood of my just abandoning it by a factor of about a hundred.

So, a second one done. I’m not “on track” for getting a whole forty of them done before I leave the year labelled with that number but that’s fine. I’ll keep going ‘til I’ve forty of them even if I’m fifty when I finish. (And maybe then I’ll even get around to finishing some of the other projects I started.)

I’ve got an internal picture of my backside and it in no way resembles the reality of it. I don’t have a problem with have a large arse – I don’t even think it’s proportionately large, but in my head it’s all rotund curves and smoothness. The reality appears a lot more square than I feel so comfortable with. And there are lines and stretch marks and even the occasional spot (though thankfully none at the time of drawing).

Just in case anyone’s inclined to give some, I don’t need (or want!) reassurance on any of this, by the way! I’m just trying to be a little bit curious about the suggestions of society and our internalized perceptions of ourselves vs the (probably equally subjective) truths of camera or pencil or lighting.

I want to feel accepting of what my body actually looks like. I don’t feel great in it a lot of the time. I feel pretty self-conscious whenever I meet people “out” and try to pick clothes that “disguise” parts of me. Clothes to hide in.

What’s so wrong with a square bum? I have a pretty square car and I’m really delighted with it! My square backside is pretty strong and can wiggle and dance and carry me up stairs and around the Lough on runs, and hold children on its hips.

To be revisited – I can say the words to myself, but I’m not sure it’s sinking any further than surface deep. Do you think 38 more will do it?

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Forty for Forty

I’ve been thinking a lot about my internal image of my body and the reticence I have around really thinking of it as it actually is. I’ve shied away from my image in the mirror since I’ve given birth. I feel shame over my belly apron and breasts that sag down.

It’s been kind of horrible to hang around with myself to be honest.

So I’ve been working really hard to change my own self image, and I’m not doing too badly at it, but I wanted to take things a little further.

I turned forty recently. It’s one of those milestone ages – you know the type that meant certain things to child-you all those years ago. Forty meant grown-up. Not on the way to grown up, but fully there.

My body isn’t going to get younger from here. I’m not going to miraculously de-wrinkle or undo the effects of forty years of gravity, five cycles of IVF and 8+ months of carrying twins (or the cesarean to get them out of me).

But I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend the next forty years feeling shame about the vessel that has carried me through so much and to be honest hasn’t done a terrible job all told.

So in praise of my body’s forty years I’ve decided to attempt forty self-portraits, as honestly drawn as I can manage. By and large these will be nudes and somewhat “warts and all” so if that’s likely to offend you for some reason, it’s time to head elsewhere.

Here’s my first. (Note: photographing drawings seems to flatten them down, so I messed around with a bit of photo-editing to try to get as close as I could to what it looks like in the world. I couldn’t decide which I liked best, so you get all three.)

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