February 2018
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photography and body image and weight and curves


I worked on my photography page of my website -- it looks so much better now that I've added a few hours of work to it. And it made me think.

I keep trying to get a body shape that I can accept as beautiful. And that's wrong. Because something would happen, and I'd lose or gain a few pounds, and I'd hate my body because it wasn't my 'perfect' form. I need to accept my body as beautiful no matter what form it is, and that's so hard. PMS can ruin my week because I'm somewhat bloated -- and that's not healthy.

How do I get there? I've come a long way, thanks to counseling and modeling and watching misscurvaceous (realizing that curviness can be beautiful, and there are other people who agree on that!). But now I am deliberately changing my body through bellydance -- a healthy, lovely change, but I don't want to get so attached to my 'new' toned form that my self-image hinges on it. I need to find myself beautiful no matter what my shape. I hope this was the right time to do this. It seems to be the right time for alariya, so probably it is the right time for me, but it worries me.

At the last photoshoot I did, I was, according to height/weight/age ratios, overweight by about 10-15 pounds (not taking bone structure into consideration). That's a big deal for me, I had always said to myself, "well, you may not have a flat belly, but according to the chart in the doctor's office, you are just fine." Yet I felt more comfortable in my skin than ever before. Before, I didn't stop worrying about how my belly looked for even a second during the whole shoot -- this time, I thought about it only occasionally, and never with panic for the photos where my belly may have been relaxed. I accepted my body more than ever before. And I love how my hips look, I really really do. I don't want to lose any hip width, I think my hips look incredibly sexy right now. I even wish they were a little wider.

I've planned a photoshoot for a week or two after the sixth week of bellydance -- I'm wondering how my body and self-image will have changed by then. I want to love my body -- but I don't want it to be temporary and based on a very specific form.

feelings: determined
sounds: Cake: "Daria"
connecting: ,

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Comments
misemifein2 ══╣╠══
Never never never believe ratios for one thing. Ever. Known to be useless, everyone is different really. Besides which, even being grossly overweight (which you aren't- you know that so i shouldn't have to say it, but just in case) is not unhealthy as long as people exercise (according to psychology textbook). So it's all just balls, to be honest. Bugger charts, you look beautiful. People thinner than you look beautiful, people larger than you look beautiful. And absolutely everyone should look beautiful to themselves whatever. Just delight in the whole organic working machinations of your body, dance and be happy
shespoke ══╣╠══
Last time I went to the doctor I found out that I'm a few pounds overweight. It made me feel really selfconscious. It's hard to get into your mind that you're not a number and all that when a piece of paper and scientific studies is telling you otherwise.
misemifein2 ══╣╠══
I don't like doctors. And scientific studies are not to be trusted. Or maybe trust them but not live by them. Just look at everything that causes cancer. And some of them cause one kind of cancer while preventing another... it's mad. They all disagree with each other.



belenen ══╣shimmering╠══
People thinner than you look beautiful, people larger than you look beautiful. And absolutely everyone should look beautiful to themselves whatever. Just delight in the whole organic working machinations of your body, dance and be happy

AMEN! and thank you. ;-)
kmiotutsie ══╣╠══
curves are beautiful!! you are beautiful! stay positive and you'll feel fine, because you know the bottom line is you're beautiful, no matter what.

p.s. i still haven't mailed out your already incredibly late birthday present. i'm sorry, i keep procrastinating. i'll get it out soon, i promise.
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
thank you!

And I totally understand procrastination. I'm pretty addicted to that drug myself. ;-) I look forward to it!
angeleyes831 ══╣╠══
The most beautful person I ever knew was an 86 year old woman, she was a little overwiight and all wrinkly but absolutely beautiful. Curviness is beautiful, thin is beautiful, what is important is you feel beautiful, we are human, our looks fade, we gain weight, get wrinkled and short but it is what is on the inside (hokey, I know) that makes us beautiful, granted you need to be comfortable in your body but is changes constantly for better and worse so don't rely on it any more than you would rely on the weatherman predicting a tornado
belenen ══╣strong╠══
granted you need to be comfortable in your body but is changes constantly for better and worse so don't rely on it

Trying to not rely on it staying the same, trying to not push my sense of beauty into any one shape. It's hard when you get wrong values from all over the place, but I'm going to do it nevertheless.
storeyphoto ══╣╠══
The photographer speaks....
Ms. Belenen, I just checked my Cumulus photo archive and to date, I have taken 3371 photos of you. As your personal photographer, your body shape is fine, your weight is fine, and your inner beauty that comes through in the photos is exquisite -- which is what it's all about anyway. The belly dancing should tone your stomach muscles such that you trim a couple of inches off of your tummy which will serve to amplify the projection of that inner beauty. I have shared some of the photos with my mentor, Bob Shell -- 40+ years of making his living off of Glamour photography, photo books, and photography magazine articles -- and he agrees with me. He likes your body shape and his only coaching comment was that you needed to tone your stomach muscles a little and you would have pro potential. So stop fretting (yeah, I know, I'm one to talk), ENJOY the belly dancing and let's revel in the anticipation of our upcoming photoshoot. Remember, if were good enough for God, we certainly should be good enough for ourselves...
belenen ══╣beautiful╠══
Re: The photographer speaks....
Thank you, I really really appreciate that comment. And very good last line.

Thank you.
aubkabob ══╣╠══
i checked out the photography portion and was blown away. your portraits divine so much emotion, so much feeling and depth.

thank you for sharing :)
belenen ══╣shimmering╠══
thank you!!!
mimimandy ══╣╠══
I don't think there's anything wrong with you and going by some of your icons I've seen you have a beautiful face so I'm sure your body looks fine.
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
thank you. ;-)
kevloid ══╣╠══
you couldn't stop being gorgeous if you tried. :-)

and health-wise, your weight tells you nothing. for all you now, the weight could be muscle.
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
aww, thanks. ;-)

for all you know, the weight could be muscle.
That's a good point. I know my calves and arms are much more muscular and toned now that I've been cashiering (I build muscle easily and I can't stand still).
anar_anar ══╣╠══
The photography section does look better, and I also love the two called "rainbow dancer" ... those are stunning! You should've put those in your entry as well!

Regarding your body, well, you know how I feel about the issue. The trick is yeah, not learning to love your body in this state and this state only... or in whatever state it will be in after bellydancing. That is not true acceptance and love of your body. To truly be comfortable, to truly love yourself, you have to realize that your body is beautiful in whatever state, whether you are ten lbs heavier or lighter tomorrow, whether there are gray hairs coming through or wrinkles spreading... because it's YOU. Learning to love and accept your body no matter what form it decides to take from day to day... that is true acceptance... and you're well on your way there :)
belenen ══╣ethereal╠══
Those two were about 8 months old, and I was just posting from the recent photoshoot -- maybe I'll go through my photos and collect my very favorites to share soon. ;-) I love those though.

To truly be comfortable, to truly love yourself, you have to realize that your body is beautiful in whatever state
-- That's what I'm aiming for, and I am determined to get there. I think when I am finished healing (whenever that will be) the last dregs of self-hate will fall off of me and I will be free to completely love myself. Until then I'll just take one step at a time and make progress little by little. Not shaving helped me there, actually. Because it was something that I did to make other people think of me as attractive, and doing what I felt was attractive in defiance of societal norms really helped.
anar_anar ══╣╠══
pshh. now I feel dumb :( I thought I had been through all your photos on your site... eeeek... but yes I think that's a fabulous idea, collecting your favorite photos to post!

One step at a time, one day at a time, yep yep, all the cliches are true... :) I'm so happy and honored to be able to watch you grow like this..
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
oh, don't feel dumb -- they were taken a while ago but I just uploaded them to the site, so they are 'new' to the site at least. ;-)
izzard_uk ══╣╠══
Your photos are awesome :)
Do you have a Flickr account?
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
thank you, and nope -- what is that?
izzard_uk ══╣╠══
I've sent you an invitation (at your 'myway' address). Let me know if you didn't get it!
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
I got it, but I don't think I'm interested right now... maybe later. I'll save the invite.
lorelei_sakti ══╣╠══
Curves are beautiful! Without curves, we wouldn't look like women.

Why is it that those 10 or 15 pounds are so hard to shed? I myself am a few pounds overweight. I used to be 132, and now I'm 147, and most of it has gone to my thighs. However, it has made my breasts go up a cup size!

Keep bellydancing! It sounds really fun! I think that if you can accept your body within a reasonable weight range, then you will be fine and you won't freak out if you gain or lose a few pounds here or there.
belenen ══╣shimmering╠══
Without curves, we wouldn't look like women.
AMEN! I think that wanting to be stick-thin is a form of self-hatred. Hips and breasts and a curvy belly are all female traits, when we become women we are supposed to get them, generally speaking (God made a very small precentage of women naturally slender, just for variety); starving and working them off does not seem positive (unless it's a health risk).

Why is it that those 10 or 15 pounds are so hard to shed?
I think because we are supposed to have them! Women have been force-fed the idea that we are supposed to have flat bellies and thighs that don't touch if we are 'healthy' and 'fit,' and that's just bullshit. We are supposed to be curvy and sensuous and feminine, with soft flesh, not rock-hard muscles. Lately, seeing flat bellies on women has become much less appealing to me. It's just not very feminine.
anar_anar ══╣╠══
ahhhh, alright good, hehehe
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.