Sunday, 25 July 2010

Lets Get Real- Self Portrait Challenge

Mmm, This is trickier than I was hoping, and not just because my ancient laptop keeps freaking out every time I use the 't' key.

I am always amazed how the universe provides. Sometime it deliverers just what you needed in the nick of time, sometimes it produces something before you were even aware that it was missing, and at other times it presents you with just what you need even though you may feel a little uncomfortable about it. This definitely falls into the latter category.

I have been reading Shakti Mama's post about posting a series of real unedited self portraits on your blog as an honest expression of ourselves and as a way to make friends with our internal and external images. I was inspired to take part by Childhood Magic's post in response to the challenge.

I don't hate the way I look. I am short (about 5ft 3) and have always struggled with my weight, usually successfully. I have never been skinny but I have often felt happy in my own skin, which I am grateful for. I have put on nearly a stone since we moved into the 'project' at the end of January due to various health problems that I'm not quite ready to post about just yet. I'm am not happy about my current appearance and have got into the habit of hiding behind the camera, rather than facing it head on.

My problem with my appearance isn't just vanity. I teach Natural Active Birth classes which involve a lot of health advice and yoga based exercises, and I feel that a teacher in that situation should look a certain way in order to be taken seriously, and at present my external image doesn't fit my internal one. I am no less able, but I feel it compromises my credibility somehow.

I also feel such empathy with both of the above posts. The wavering energy flow that can lead to feeling sometimes that you just aren't quite 'you' at times, and the hiding behind photo's of our children so as not to leave our own comfort zone. Events of the past few months have really knocked my confidence and sense of ability and I feel it shows. I think you can see it in my face, but that may be my own perspective.

So, I decided to join in. Just take some photos of me, up close and personal as it were. And I am going to try to join in with the full 8 week challenge. I am going to try to post an honest self portrait on Sunday for 8 weeks. Having decided to do this I am going to do it, but like I said at the start, I am feeling well out of my own comfort zone here, far more so that I expected.
 So here I am, sat at my computer, tired from having a very hectic couple of days, and blotchy from having eaten things I knew I shouldn't and drunk things I definitely shouldn't. 

I was blowing a bit of cotton off the top of my camera and took this one by accident in the process, but I thought it showed a different aspect, as it were, so I put it in anyway! 


  1. Thanks for your honesty and bravery. I think you are very pretty, with amazing eyes and obviously a deep wisdom! I have often considered becoming a doula or natural birth teacher--- how truly wonderful.
    take care,

  2. You have such pretty eyes!
    Lovely portraits.

    (visiting from Shakti Mama)

  3. You are beautiful, and I love the first photo of you because you're looking toward us ... you have lovely eyes and lips. The third one is so unexpected and wonderful too!

    I know what you mean about wanting your physical self to mirror, as it were, who you most want to be inside. I struggle with this too, and I am still not happy with my body after having given birth. A different issue than yours, but similar ... somewhat ... in that I'm struggling to accept myself as I am also. I think that once I can do that, accept myself as I am, then it will be so much easier to move on to wherever it is I need to be :). I don't know if this makes any sense, but there you go!

    Your post is lovely and resonates with me. Thank you. I look forward to coming back and reading more and seeing your future self-portraits.

  4. I think you are very pretty. I have to agree with Juliana about acceptance. My body has had it's ups and downs over the past 7 years. I just need to get my brain and what my eyes see of me to believe that I'm okay they way I am. Looking forward to seeing more of your self portraits.

  5. Thank you everyone for your lovely comments. I am really excited by the potential of this challenge. And immensely enjoying seeing everyone else's self portraits and reading all these beautiful women's deep and profound thinkings about our selves and our image.

  6. I LOVE that third picture!! It takes a playful and fun soul to get a picture like that! The thing that strikes me is that every "let's get real" picture I've seen is of a beautiful woman, (yours included)! I think your outer persona does indeed match your look to me to be healthy, radiant, playful, fun! I would love to have a teacher like you!
    I'm a huge advocate of doulas...I have 2 good friends who are doulas and had one of them at both of my births! Doulas rock!
    I look forward to following your journey!
    xo maureen

  7. you are lovely and i don't think you should worry one bit about your weight in your profession. you are a mum to 3 boys! you are real! your youngest is still a toddler. be forgiving with yourself. i think you are beautiful and it's definitely a pressure from society to be thin in your case. you do not have a problem. but, just so you know - i can understand where you are coming from. i think we all like to look and feel a certain way, but i thought you should have some love and a dose of reality from a stranger. you can get yourself into shape! something that really helped me was to change my dietary habits going from vegetarian, to vegan, to now being 75% raw. we don't drink any alcohol as i think that is a huge weight gain contributor. mostly we just drink water and tea. i guess we're teatotalers. ha!

  8. After a life time of being unhappy with my body, at 53 I find that I have finally grown into it quite nicely...sure there are things I wish were firmer and more uplifting but's served me well so far so it's time to lighten up on myself.


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