Sam | Portland, OR
Images by Lindsay Stark
"I would not know this life without my body. I see it now as my true life partner, and will hold it with the honor and gratitude it deserves."
"Before, I knew I was attractive, BUT my body wasn't good enough and never would be good enough. As a younger woman, I felt pretty and attractive. I got attention from others for my looks and spent a lot of time and energy trying to keep my body looking good. Still with all that, I never felt like my body was "good" enough, because I was always self-conscious of having such small breasts. Self-conscious to the point of embarrassment and feeling like something was wrong with me. The wrongness of this thinking hit home a couple of years ago when I had to have a breast biopsy that took tissue away and made my small breast even smaller. I realized how fortunate I was to have two healthy breasts, no matter their shape or size.
As I have gotten older, seeing my body start to age and change was hard to accept. I felt like I had to exercise even more to avoid being old and fat and flabby. I felt like my body wasn't good enough and never would be good enough, because of my breasts - and as such, *I* wasn't good enough. I needed validation of my attractiveness from outside sources; the mirror, my husband, other men... because I was so critical myself and couldn't validate my attractiveness.
Now, I see the impact social and family conditioning had on my feelings about my body. Because I am part of this culture, I will still come face to face with all of that everyday. But I can bring more awareness to that now. I am getting older and my bodyis changing. I can bring more acceptance to that.
The new and exciting part of my body story is that I also realize what an amazing companion my body has been. It' been with me literally every step and every breath I've ever taken. My body is the reason I have experienced every sensory experience I've ever had! It sounds obvious, but for me it was something I'd never really given much thought - my body has a deep and beautiful purpose for being.
The shifts I've experienced as a result of this project: I think it's temporary, but I've not been as motivated to exercise! It's made me consider changing my exercise program to include more stretching and breathing and a different kind of strength training.
I've only recently truly understood what it means to be a spiritual being in a human body, and now I know my body's purpose has been to get my through this human lifetime. I would not know this life without my body. I see it now as my true life partner, and will hold it with the honor and gratitude it deserves."
Images of Sam by Lindsay Stark.