Exposed – one year later

A year ago, I got The Boy to take a headless photo of me standing in a hotel bathroom. We were in Wellington, I think. I took the photo and posted it on the blog as part of the Exposed Movement and felt really quite literally exposed.

I felt so vulnerable. So silly and slightly vain. Vanity isn’t supposed to be good but it is. Sometimes it’s good to be vain. To be proud of yourself and your body.

Posting my exposed post made me face up to the fact that for the first 15 minutes, I couldn’t think of anything positive to write about my body. All I saw was cellulite and flabby arms and legs. I saw all my flaws first and I had to keep looking to see the strength and the beauty. And once I did, I promised myself that I would work on seeing that first all the time.

And now. A year later.

I’m sitting on my old bed in Melbourne, at my parents’ house. The Boy is back in Auckland in our flat. We’re getting married in 10 days and I’m working frantically to get everything done in time.

I have a very expensive dress hanging in my parents’ walk-in closet and I feel gorgeous in it. Beautiful. I still have those flabby arms since my workout regime kinda slipped down the priority list (Michelle Obama has no competition from me!), but I don’t see those arms. Or anything else. I see me.

That’s it. I see me, the woman The Boy fell in love it. The woman who is going to be a wife in 10 days. I see someone who is loved and who loves herself.

Sure I have my bad days – who doesn’t? I have days where I have to focus a little longer to remember my Exposed post and the strength it gave me. There are days where my clothes seem to hate me. Those days I find myself donating more clothes to charity since I only want clothes that make me feel good. Dress makes me hate my knees? Donate it since it makes me feel bad and I don’t need it. Shirt is tight on my arms? Not keeping it. I’m a bit more ruthless that way but if something doesn’t make me feel good and strong and gorgeous, I’ve got no business keeping it or wearing it.

That’s me, a year on. Did you take the Exposed challenge last year? How do you feel this year?

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9 thoughts on “Exposed – one year later

  1. Wow, congrats on the progress you’ve made 🙂
    I have days where I really struggle with my body image. I often just see my belly and I am paranoid that I look pregnant on bad days (when I’m not). I love that you took part in the Exposed project. Looks like it was really worthwhile.
    I hope that I will start to be able to see my good physical attributes the same way you do now – great post!

  2. I love what you’ve written and how honest you were. It was so interesting this year reflecting upon where I am. Physically I haven’t changed, in fact have gained a couple of pounds. However, my relationship with my body is so drastically different and better..that it makes the body that I have seem so much better and happy. Thanks for reflecting and being part of this!

  3. Pingback: Exposed: One Year Later | Eating Journey

  4. Mandy,
    Working on seeing the beauty first – I LOVE that!! I love it, because it is there within all of us…it’s just that sometimes we don’t see that.

    Keep shining you amazing into this world!!

    And big congrats to you the Boy on your upcoming wedding!! Woohoo!!!

  5. Ohhhh this gave me chills…I wish I’d felt this confident before my wedding. I wish someone had told me — your man loves YOU for YOU!

    I know it now…and posts like this just make me happy that I didn’t waste more years wishing…

  6. Congrats on the wedding!

    I have had self esteem issues that I’m working on.

    My high school did not require any of us to shower after gym classes, but we were allowed to if we wanted too. At the time I was glad that we were not required to shower in those group showers, but now as an adult I kind of wish that we all were required to.
    Probably at least 50% to 60% of the girls in my gym classes chose to shower in gym class, and I envied them for their comfort in being willing to appear nude in front of each other. I also envied that they were then able to go through the rest of the school day clean and comfortable.

    I’m still good friends to this day with two of the girls that I had in my gym classes in high school. They were two of the girls I envied that chose to shower in gym class. A few years ago we went to a women only Korean spa together. The spa requires total nudity in the baths and hot tubs. The nudity was not a problem for my two friends, they became acustomed to communal female nudity back in our school days. They were able to be fully relaxed and enjoy themselves the entire time.

    I on the other hand was very nervous and tense the whole time we were there due to my embarrassment over being nude in front of the other women at the spa.

    I do not want my daughter to grow up feeling shame over her body like I did. My daughter is only 11 years old and has not yet learned to be shamed of her body. We just started a swimming class together a few weeks ago at a local YWCA. The Y has group showers like the ones at my high school. I did not want to be a bad example to my daughter, so I decided that it was important that while were in the locker room after swim class I should never act as if I’m embarrassed or ashamed being seen in the nude.

    We shower in the nude in the group showers and carry on conversations with other mothers and daughters while we shower. My daughter seems to be 100% comfortable with the nudity which makes me very happy as I want her to have a good body image.

    I’m slowly becoming more comfortable each week as we shower and change.

    I think it’s really important that all females learn to be comfortable in their own skin at a young age so as not to develop poor body image later as they become adults.

  7. Pingback: The List Of Exposed | Exposed Movement

  8. Pingback: Exposed: One Year Later 12 October 2010 | Exposed Movement

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