Stacia | Minneapolis, MN
Images by Elizabeth Barnwell
"I'm putting my foot down and literally saying, "stop it" to nearly five decades of body trash-talking."
I was projecting every negative, abusive, shaming, judgmental thing that anyone (old boyfriends, family, friends) had ever said about my body onto my body. I only heard their voices shouting at -- and piercing arrows through -- me when I looked in the mirror, and especially if my clothes were tight. I blamed myself; I shamed myself. Horribly, brutally so.
I turn 50 this coming year, and I want to see my body accurately without crippling judgement. I want to gently hold my body image like I would a velvety baby rabbit cupped in my hands, that I protect fiercely from external message imprinting. I want my story to be about surviving, thriving, bearing three children, being an athlete and artist, a lover and vibrant being. I don't have a flat personality; I shouldn't have a flat body.
As I was journaling, I let my brain list every hurtful thing I tell my body daily, and I didn't hold back. I was shocked that NONE of those messages originated from me. I take great pride in being a kind, loving, empathetic human being, yet I was directing none of that to my body. I'm not entirely sure what my "body voice" is. That will evolve. But for now, every time I hear a "not mine" message when I look at my body in the mirror, I verbally say out loud: NOT MINE. I'm putting my foot down and literally saying, "Stop it" to nearly five decades of body trash-talking.
Portraits of Stacia by Elizabeth Barnwell.