I Woke Up Like This #023

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Self-Esteem level?
Today I woke up at about a six.

How is it now?
I would say I’m at an eight now. I definitely enjoyed it.

What was your favorite part of the shoot?
Seeing from the other side, being a model instead of a photographer and feeling that enthusiasm from you was honestly my favorite part.

How did feel to be nude in front another person?
Absolutely petrifying. Wonderful. Challenging, really challenging for me.

Why challenging?
I’m not very open about how private I tend to be with my body. At times, when I’m feeling ashamed and self-conscious, I feel more ashamed that I feel self-conscious.

It’s very hard to be representative of the body positivity movement and not feel guilt when those inevitable feelings of shame and doubt come up.
It’s embarrassing to express that type of weakness about yourself. I will say, I’m very lucky. I’m very healthy, which makes me feel guilty to have those insecurities.

Are you ever thin shamed?
Yes. I’ve always been. When I was younger, very small. I was almost like a boy when I was a teen. It’s hard to open up in front of other women about insecurities when you are a genetically skinny person. Naturally. Honestly, I think most of the time women who are thin are disregarded as having nothing to complain about, “no right” to express difficulties accepting other parts of their bodies that they struggle with. But in this society that we live in, you have to have perfect breasts, a small nose, perfect skin… There are plenty of things that divide us from ourselves. It is a shame to also be divided from each other because one woman does not validate another woman’s struggle.

What is the typical reaction when you express discomfort with your body in front of other friends?
“Shut up, you don’t know!” That typical, “What do you know about it?” That kind of blind complimentary, “Oh no! You’re beautiful.” The person almost feels like I’m phishing for compliments. It’s kept me from even expressing my feelings because of those reactions.  

What insecurities do you feel around your thinness?
A lack of feminism. No curves…no breasts

How do people inadvertently make you feel bad about your thinness?
Mostly in my dating life. When I was single and dating, men will make comments about being flat-chested, never really saying you don’t have a woman’s body, but just not being seen as sexy I guess.

What is your definition of sexy?
Confidence in what you have. But also, if it were on the more shallow body type scale, that curviness that Marilyn Monroe’s body would give off. I think that’s very sexy.

Do you find yourself sexy?
More now than in the past.

How do you feel about your body in bed?
I’m very comfortable in bed. I also have a really wonderful partner. I would say our relationship has brought me so far along comfort wise.

What makes you feel womanly?
Being pregnant. I’ve wanted to be a mom for a lot of years, I’m thirty-three. I waited. I became pregnant in early December. I think I felt more beautiful than I ever have. I discovered the day after Christmas it was an Ectopic Pregnancy. I was taken to the emergency room with a ruptured left fallopian tube. My abdomen was full of blood. It’s an emergent situation, it’s life threatening.

So it went from being this beautiful experience to being an extremely terrifying one.
Surgery that night, removal of left tube baby.

How has your fertility condition affected your feelings of womanhood and femininity?
It’s just lost…a little bit. *she slowly begins to cry* We make choices. We make choices for our career. Or motherhood. Or marriage. And if there’s always this surrender if I’m choosing one…I’m giving up the others. And god forbid your body makes that decision for you…so I’m not really sure what it’s done.

Do you feel like less of a woman?
I feel like less of a woman if kids are off the table for me, which I don’t think that they are, but there’s just a big question mark there.

Our femininity is so tied into our ability to have children, when that is taken away from you. You feel like you’ve lost a part of yourself as a woman.
Our past effects, I think, what we want for our life in the future. What kind of family we have…what kind of family we want. So, I can’t speak for all women but for me…it’s one of those dreams. Those things you’ve always wanted. 

And there is a little shame there too as a feminist.

See, I believe being a woman is doing whatever you want with your life. Whether that’s choosing a career, or having children, or staying single for the rest of your life. And when one thing is taken away, we can’t let that define ourselves as a woman. But when it’s a life goal it’s different.

Yes, when you’re an artist. You pre-visualize this. I pre-visualized my life to include raising children of my own. It puts into perspective how little control we really have when it comes down to it.

My fertility was affected by my endometriosis as well.
Did they give you a number?

No they never did.
Me either.

Have you been trying to have children? If so, how long?
Yes, since October. We got pregnant right away, and then we lost it. So, we’ve been trying ever since. It’s been the longest three months of my life. Every month that goes by without becoming pregnant feels like failure.

Why do you personally think that makes you feel that way?
It has nothing to do with society; it’s just my heart. I just want it so bad.

I think we’re born with these human/motherly instincts, and some choose a different path but yours has been to follow those motherly instincts. Because of who you are, which a great point for this interview because it tells people that it’s not only society pushing these ideals of women getting pregnant because it’s their duty. Some women have this innate desire to be a mother. Some feminists look down on that.
Yes, that’s where the shame comes from. Because I want it so bad. What kind of feminist does that make me? It’s bullshit.

After everything you’ve been through, do you now understand that wanting children does not make you a bad feminist?
Yes. I think I always knew that, but as a strong woman you always feel the need to prove.

Are you a feminist and what is your definition of feminism?
Hell yes. Women are the most amazing, strong, capable creatures. And that’s true whether people believe in feminism or not. I see it everyday in my friends, and my clients. And you.  Feminism is a woman who decides to be a stay at home mom, a woman who decides to have a career and family, or a woman who decides not to have kids at all. I have all those women in my life, and they’re all amazing.

Any finals for those who are reading?
All of the hardest things that happen to us, are also what stretch and shape and push us forward. Don’t avoid those things. And by God, fall in love with somebody that deserves you. I am so much closer to the kind of person I want to be, because I was lucky enough to meet my husband. I thought I would just settle, and that would be life. This is not to say I’m half a person, I’m just an enriched whole person because of him and because of my women. Because of the love, it doesn’t have to be romantic. You just need love from every direction.

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