I was lucky that I grew up in an age of self acceptance. However, as young girls entering into puberty many of us were defining our looks by what we saw in magazines, and on television. I looked for flaws and imperfections in my body and strived to be something I was not. We had weekend sleepovers and even defined ourselves within the confines of discussions we had those nights. We dared compare ourselves to our peers. Often times it was ugly and shameful.
My self criticism at that time involved the size of my breasts. Every picture that you looked at seemed to exploit women who were well endowed. It was professed that women with bigger breasts, were sexy and made great lovers. I was young and I sucked this crap up and sadly believed it.
I am so glad that I had the opportunity to grow up in the 60’s and 70’s. The eras of freedom, hippie love, self acceptance and an I don’t give a f*ck attitude. I learned during that time that my body was ‘my’ temple. I didn’t need anyone else’s acceptance and I certainly didn’t need their opinion about how I looked. I put that on my list of things I didn’t give a shit about a long time ago.
Today, I don’t let my age define me and I will not hold myself to someone else’s standard of perfection. I hold myself to a standard of grace. Others often comment, “you are thin and you look so good”. My thought is, hey let me take my clothes off, I will show you my battle scars. My body tells my story and I embrace that story.
With age comes an understanding and a sense of knowing. Doing this solidified and gave substance to what I already knew. Being beautiful and sexy is not about how you look or what you wear. It’s about self confidence and attitude.
Portraits of Denise by Stela Zaharieva.