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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