I’m working on accepting my body, exactly as it is. We live in a world where it’s all too easy to pine for a thinner frame where clothes hang a certain way and where we feel like we are winning at the game of healthy eating and exercise.
One way I’m pushing myself toward body acceptance is through the background work I’m doing as an actor in film and TV. I recently took Ava in for new headshots for her acting and I booked myself in at the same time. Choosing her new photos was fun and easy for me. Choosing mine were more challenging.
These were some of the thoughts that came up as I scrolled through my images: Do I really have that many wrinkles around my eyes? Why does my face look so puffy? I thought my skin looked smoother than that! And my arms…what the hell is going on there? They look so bulky.
And in the few full-length shots with Ava and I together in case we get called on for mother-daughter work? Forget it. She was lovely, vibrant, healthy. I looked, um, rounder around the middle than I’d prefer to imagine I look.
I’m determined to love myself through these pictures (and updated measurements for wardrobe on the last feature film I was on). I’m not 14 like Ava is. I’m 44 and I’ve birthed two rather large children. I am worthy of love and care when I’m thinner and when I’m pleasantly plump.
Sure, these experiences could motivate me to up my game in the exercise and eating game. I am making small changes that I hope will be sustainable. I lost 30 pounds five years ago and kept it off until last fall, when the stress of my appendix rupture followed by a provincial move seemed to jettison my good habits and get my weight back to where I started. But I love the idea of being gentler and kinder to myself this time around.
Body image is a thorny issue in our world today. We seem to have polarizing views on the subject with obesity on the rise in our culture. I think the key is to cultivate love and generosity towards ourselves and others. The goal is to feel beautiful and sexy in our own skin, no matter how the number fluctuates on the scale.
It’s hard. I know it is. I’m being deliberate about working in the body-conscious film world and pushing myself to accept what I look like in photos and onscreen. I’m doing my best not to compare my arms or thighs or belly to anyone else’s. We are all different and aren’t meant to be carbon copies of each other. I have no interest in starving myself to be a size 0. But if I’m a size 14 or 16 instead of a 12, I don’t want to beat myself up over it or feel less-than in some way.
How do you manage to accept and love your body exactly as it is? I’d love to hear from you and keep the dialogue going.