Women – Honouring our Body Image and Appreciating our Reflection

When we look at ourselves in the mirror, what is the relationship we have with the image reflected back at us? How much do we appreciate ourselves?

A while ago I was in a shop trying on some clothes. The lady in the next cubicle came out looking stunning. She was trying on a beautiful dress – and her friend immediately expressed to her how gorgeous she looked. This lady did look gorgeous, and I could feel she loved the dress. The dress fitted beautifully and I could feel a grace in her quality as she stood in front of the mirror. It wasn’t that the dress made the woman into anything, it was that the woman in her beauty made the dress shine – she shone in the dress. I observed as the woman in the dress got distinctly more uncomfortable as she looked at herself in the mirror, and made some comments that picked fault in how it looked to her, and she decided not to buy the dress.

Continue reading “Women – Honouring our Body Image and Appreciating our Reflection”

Accepting and Expressing Greatness — A Story About Shoes

Since childhood I have had an issue with my feet.

They always looked too big to me and my toes seemed too long, out of proportion as to how I judged beauty to be. As an Asian woman, I grew up holding onto the image that beauty is being soft spoken, never drawing attention to oneself and about having tiny and delicate feet, as most of the women that I grew up with had small feet, and I would compare myself with them. I would deliberately buy shoes that were a little bit too small, convinced that my feet should and could fit into them. In consequence, my feet would suffer but there were always justifications for doing this, such as in time the shoes would either ‘magically’ stretch, or that my feet were actually as I believed them to be, smaller and more delicate than they are.

Continue reading “Accepting and Expressing Greatness — A Story About Shoes”

Body Image: Vintage pictures vs Modern ideals

Recently I was looking online at ‘vintage pictures’ for inspiration of images that I could put up in my room. What I discovered littered between sepia images of flowers, old keys, and the Eiffel tower, was quite revealing: I found articles/advertisements, similar to the one below, for women who have poor body image, advocating weight gain by saying: “Don’t think you’re “born” to be skinny and friendless”…. “If you want to look better by adding desired pounds and inches of welcome weight… try WATE-ON”, and “Men wouldn’t look at me when I was skinny”. In a nutshell these body images show skinny as the undesired body shape and the one to get rid of. Continue reading “Body Image: Vintage pictures vs Modern ideals”

Self-loathing, My Closet, and Me

The weekend before last, I was feeling great in myself, no feeling of self-loathing in sight and whilst tidying my room I decided to go through the clothes in my closet. I was in the mood for a deep clear out, and it was definitely needed!

My Closet and My Body Image

Around two and a half years ago I put on a substantial amount of weight (around 10kg) and within a number of months another 5kg got added more gradually. This was a consequence of not wanting to move forward in my life, and instead digging my heels in. As a result a lot of my clothes, especially jeans and dresses, didn’t fit me any more. My body image hit rock bottom, and my self-loathing skyrocketed. Continue reading “Self-loathing, My Closet, and Me”

A Vulnerable Moment

by Kate Greenaway, BaAppSc (Physiotherapy), Goonellabah, Australia

The other week I had one of those Stop and Take Notice moments. I was walking around the local swimming pool to the women’s showers in my wet bathers, after having a lovely time in the pool. I was a bit cold and one of the males on staff was walking towards me. I had spoken to this man before and I knew him to be sensitive, sweet and completely harmless. I could feel he was going to look at me as we passed and all of a sudden I was feeling extremely vulnerable – my body went into an old pattern of pulling my shoulders inwards and caving my chest in – like I did when I was a teenager at the beach in my swimmers walking past men who stared at my breasts. You see, even though I have a petite frame, I had really large breasts as a teenager and I used to get awful, sexual comments from boys my age, AND older men. Being a curvaceous young woman was agony for me so I used to hide my body in large shirts. I thought I had moved through this and healed those self -conscious years, so I was shocked to feel this in my body now – in my late 40’s and feeling mostly content with my body. Continue reading “A Vulnerable Moment”

Women, Comparison & Love

by Anonymous

Having grown up with 3 sisters, I know all about comparison and jealousy and competing for attention… And I know all about covering things up with niceties, manners and politeness when presenting to the rest of the world, yet knowing full well the feelings that are underlying between us.

When I reflect now, it’s sad to feel the way that we were with each other and in some ways, still are. How is it that 5 beautiful women (including my mum) were all living in the same house and, for a lot of the time, there were unspoken resentments, jealousies and judgments towards one another. It’s been hard to admit, but if I am really honest, that is the truth. And I played a full part in that. It is painful to feel that I measured myself constantly with my sisters and also with my parent’s expectations. Instead of expressing and getting it all out there in the open, we tended to hold things in and keep it all under lock and key, letting it all build up – with the inevitable emotional explosions from time to time. And all the while, so often our words and actions were laced with the insidiousness of anger, frustration or disappointment under the guise of ‘politeness’ or ‘niceness’. Continue reading “Women, Comparison & Love”

Returning to Tenderness

After a life of tennis training, drug taking and ‘Do-It-Yourself’ in overdrive, practitioner Mary-Louise Myers shares how she eventually came to find a truly tender way of being with herself.

by Mary-Louise Myers

I was a gorgeous little girl who started playing competitive tennis at seven to win my father’s attention: each time I won a match he would pat me on my head and say, “well done, little one!” (I don’t think he could remember my name!). That was my way of getting the attention I was craving for. I was Victorian junior champion at a young age and continued to spend all my younger years training or playing in tennis tournaments around Victoria. As I reached teenage years I realised that I did not even enjoy playing tennis. I now know that I only did it for recognition and acceptance.

I gave it all up and started down a path of anorexia and bulimia. My father was obsessed with his own weight and his family’s. My sister was given diet books at around the age of 13, mind you, looking back she was simply going through a chubby stage and I was championed for being skinny. From a young age there was a lot of emphasis on how you looked, not your being. (Please note I am not in any way, shape or form blaming my parents; they were good people who did the best they could.) Continue reading “Returning to Tenderness”