Friday, September 19, 2014

A Body of Work

Something I've seen a little bit lately in the blog world has been posts about body image. Most of the posts I've read have been written by women, who in my opinion, have a more culturally ideal body than I do, and who adamantly say they have no body issues, but here's their opinion on it. I'm not writing this to negate anything they have said or feel, but rather to say that I find it odd that they are the voices on this issue, but also that as a society we are embarrassed to admit we struggle with body image or with being overweight in general.

It almost seems like you aren't supposed to admit you're unhappy about your body or appearance, but if you don't fit the ideal of our culture, then you will be bombarded with images and weight loss suggestions until you change. Of course, you will be simultaneously subjected to lots of food advertisements and people saying you have to be happy with your body right now and that you should just flaunt whatever body you have regardless of societal norms. So, to be unhappy with my body or weight is taboo, but in reality we don't want to be overweight either?

Not to mention the pressure put on moms in our day to look no different after giving birth (no matter how many children you've had) than they did as a teenager. If you don't bounce back than you just have no self-discipline or restraint and the implication is you are a failure as a woman, a wife, and a mom, and trust me, everyone puts in their two cents worth on this. Doesn't that just make you want a Hershey bar?

I struggled with posting pictures on my blog when I started it for a couple of reasons. I didn't want to give up a lot of my privacy, which is why you won't get my full name here, where I live exactly, or many pictures of my kids. Yet the main reason was because I was and am unhappy about my appearance. I used to be very active and never stick thin, but definitely a lot thinner than I am now. I used to have the time and ability to exercise every day, to go to the gym, and to run as long as I wanted.

Now, I'm not saying this to decry the effects of motherhood and pregnancy, nor do I want to use that as an excuse or crutch. Rather to say we have a wrong way of perceiving women and mothers in our culture. I am much more than my body or my appearance, and my body is more than my appearance, as well.

No matter how many times the 22 year old skinny feminist tries to tell us that it's men making us feel this way, I refuse to believe that. I've never had a man, including my husband, say anything about my weight, yet have had girls and women make comments about my appearance since elementary/grade school. Men are much less obsessed with our weight than other women seem to be. Not to mention that it's women whom we dread their scorn in this area. It's women whom we hope notice just how "hot" we look after losing weight or while wearing an outfit that makes us look amazing. After all, they are the ones who can really appreciate it, right? Just go on facebook/instagram and see how many women are posting workout photos and bragging about their bodies to other women. I know when I first went on facebook and saw just how many of the women I had went to high school with now posted almost constantly about their workouts I was a little shocked, then I felt guilty for what I was or wasn't doing. Now isn't that the point of posting those pictures?

There's nothing wrong with enjoying exercise, I actually enjoy it, I just don't get to do as much as I would like, but only to say maybe we should question why we are talking and posting so much about our bodies. What's the point of that picture? Am I showing it only in hopes of making others feel bad? Do I take pride only in my appearance or am I more than the body that houses my soul? Why do we have to be embarrassed to have any body issues? I have a feeling all women in our culture struggle with body image to a certain extent, it's kind of unavoidable.

I realize this may seem like an odd topic to come from someone who is a blogger and has multiple pictures of themselves posted on here, but I am asking myself these same questions. I do take more than one picture for each post and I do only pick the ones I think make me look my best, but I am starting to question my motives. Am I doing this only to feel some sort of validation or is it only to share a love for certain styles of clothing?

We live in an age of discontentment and I am resolving right now to not be ashamed that I've not got the perfect body, the figure I once had, or the figure I really want. But I will choose to be content where I am while endeavoring to make needed changes (seriously, I want to fit in my jeans, not have to buy new ones). I'm grateful that my body has withstood the growth and birth of four babies as well as the death of two. I'm amazed when I look at my children to know they were and are such a part of me and have such a connection and bond with me. I'm blessed that my husband still thinks I'm the most beautiful woman in the world and am sure he's lost his mind or eyesight when I look in the mirror.

This is partially why I have chosen to post pictures of myself post-partem, swelling and all. I want to show what motherhood actually looks like, not what we're told it looks like and in some way to celebrate that. To show the imperfection and yet the strength of the human body. The fact that we have been created to do so much with it and how it changes and survives and thrives in spite of all our bodies are put through. I don't want to hide behind motherhood or physical conditions as an excuse to being unhealthy, but rather choose to not hide away in spite of them. I'm not there yet, but by God's grace, I will get there.

How do you deal with your body image? Do you feel like there's shame to admitting we're unhappy with our bodies? 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I've Plaid Enough

 Well, it definitely seems like forever since I have posted, but I did have our baby girl and she's beautiful and perfect and we didn't know how incomplete our family was without her. I'm hoping to start posting more regularly again, but can't make any promises.

Today's pictures are of a vintage Kerrybrook plaid shirtwaist dress I actually purchased while pregnant and couldn't wait to wear afterwards. So, at our daughter's first check up with the pediatrician I wore it.

I've always loved plaids and the colors of this plaid are actually more vivid in person and not so dull  looking.

Shirtwaist dresses are awesome for breastfeeding as that usually makes wearing most dresses impossible, and a fuller skirt is a good way to hide that mommy tummy. ;)

We've just been trying to get back to some kind of normal around here and re-figure life out with four kids. We've gotten back to a similar schedule, are homeschooling again, and her older brothers and sister can't get enough of her. But some changes had to be made, like a bigger vehicle, more stuff to carry everywhere and this last week a cold has went through our house. Just the everyday craziness.

I'm going to shift the focus of this blog more away from just outfit posts and hope to blog more about sewing and about just being a mom, but there will be vintage clothing still involved. I hope that doesn't make anyone upset or annoyed, but that's my life right now, so that's what I'm going to blog about.

Do you love plaid as much as I do?