exposing body image issues's picture

What pains us makes us grow...

Why would anyone photograph and then draw themselves as a regular practice?

Is it narcissism? Vanity? Or a simple, accessible way to heal from self-rejection?

I do it because I have always judged and criticized myself harshly, and self-portraiture is the best process I have found to really change my vision. When I look in the mirror, it’s to check – criticize – correct -  (and I can always find something to fix) in a never-ending quest for perfection.

I am 44 years old now and have been drawing myself for about 8 years. I keep quitting and coming back to it, because in spite of my resistance, it works… it helps. This self-image-obsession has sucked so much vital energy from my life over the years that a part of me is really angry about it… but that anger just feeds the self-destructiveness of the mind.

Fortunately, the more constructive part of me that loves others easily is willing to look beyond the skewed vision of my mind to see something else… a perfectly imperfect yet strong woman with a still-vulnerable little girl inside, a worthy and yes, possibly even beautiful human being. AS ARE WE ALL…

It’s a double-edged sword in that it’s only because I want to be so outstandingly beautiful that I can possibly see myself as so pitifully ugly. And I’m not, even on the world’s terms, ugly. It’s craziness… but even crazier, our culture FEEDS this craziness!

exposing body image issues's picture

Are you ugly? Are you like me?

by Colette Coughlin posting for Theresa Sullivan

My friend Theresa has struggled with anorexia and body image for as long as she can remember, and has just started blogging about it in hopes of helping her teenage daughter get through some really difficult times. I am posting one of her recent blog entries that really touched me. You can follow her blog and give her some encouragement to keep sharing so honestly at: http://lookingwithmorethanyoureyes.blogspot.com/

 Are You Ugly? Are you like Me?

It is funny how my daughter always seems to pick up on the underlying current beneath the obvious daily routines. Yesterday she showed me a song....Are you ugly? The "Exies" do this song. The words that echo in my head....... Are you ugly.... a liar like me........ a sickness so pure .....money's no cure... we are dirt.... we are alone......we are afraid...... you know it's far from over.......I'm sure the words are not complete or in the correct order, but to me the message is clear..... Are you ugly? Are you like me?

exposing body image issues's picture

Mind vs. Body wars; binging, purging and other disorderly nastiness

by Colette Coughlin

Finally we are in an era when people are more openly admitting to having deep inner struggles with themselves. Eating disorders have slowly started being acknowledged by at least a few of those who suffer from them, albeit usually only in the past tense, and when there is a victorious outcome to report. No one wants to talk about it when they’re in the midst of it, probably because they don’t want to admit to having so little “self-control”.

Yet, in my experience, that’s exactly what it’s about… control. Or lack of it, the desire to maintain some, or the helplessness of not having any, or enough. Taking firm control of what we eat or don’t eat, when, where, with whom, and how much, is often a quite normal reaction to feelings of powerlessness in other areas of our lives. We may be feeling dependent or restrained by parents, a spouse or a colleague, by our financial situation, our life’s work or our self-esteem. Any of these issues, when unprocessed, can wreak enough havoc to cause the mind to declare war on its best friend, the body, because it’s not getting what it wants, when it wants, in the way it wants it. And it (the unconscious mind) simply doesn’t yet have the tools to deal with things differently.
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