Recently we moved our bedroom mirror to the other side of the bed as we reshuffled the room. The new positioning means that when I get out of bed naked in the morning I am able to fully see myself, which is something I have rarely had before. Before this I was unused to seeing only a glimpse of my naked body. I realised that my body is lovely, rounded, full, curvy...
This surprised me. I have struggled with my body image whilst choosing clothes to go out in, or viewing myself in the changing room. All I could see was unflattering bulges of fat, squeezed by my underwear or skirts, and my bra. I was not seeing my rounded curves. Instead it was a bumpy set of rolls. I hated it. I felt ashamed and that I'd put on too much weight and how could I feel sexy with this? No matter how attractive you find other people, somehow you still manage to not do the same for yourself...
And then I took my clothes off. And it was wonderful.
I realised that my clothes were not running smoothly over my body. They were not riding my curves, caressing and emphasising them. They were squeezing them unnaturally. It was the clothes I disliked, not my body. It is such a relief to realise that! Allowing the body's curves to flow naturally looks beautiful, no matter how many curves there are! When you start restricting them with clothing them start to look squashed and trapped.
At times this in unavoidable, although replacing tighter clothes for flattering one that embrace my body rather than clasp would help.
I also loved seeing ancient sculptures of women with their lovely round bellies showing. Nowadays we 'need' a completely flat belly to go with our close fitted dresses. Love handles and round bellies are unsightly. Well not to me. I need to accept this in myself and wear my belly with pride, but I find it so sad that this natural part of us, that cushions babies on our hips and contains our wombs, is not allowed to be there in society's eyes.
We are made to feel ashamed about our body's natural shapes. Women are made to be curvy, full bodied, and rounded. That is why we are so lovely to look at. The eye follows these shapes. They demonstrate our fertility and ability to hold life. They are abundance. So naturally a patriarchal society that is scared of women's creative and sexual natures would want to shame these things.
I remember a meditation I experienced with Jane Meredith at Witchfest in 2011. During this she lead us to Aphrodite's Temple where we gazed into three different mirrors. In the first mirror we saw ourselves naked, to which I was not overly impressed; the second mirror reflected the Goddess and I saw a voluptuous woman with full bodied curves and rounded thighs. In the final mirror we saw ourselves through Aphrodite's eyes ad this then made me cry. I looked the same as I had seen in my first reflection, only now I realised that I am actually the same shape as the Goddess was. I had the same big thighs and rounded belly. Through Her eyes I saw my body for what it really is, and not what I think it should be. I was made in Her Image.
I recall that memory now, as I honour my body again.