My body has long ago stopped being conventionally beautiful, but is that a problem?

in womenspeakout •  8 months ago

CW: body shaming/body issues

I am nearly forty-one. Long gone are the glory days when my skin was smooth and supple, when I easily fit into a (UK) size 4 and when my stomach was flat. In my early twenties I conformed almost completely with society's standard of beauty; the only things missing were my height and my hair (not the prescibed long blond hair, rather a short pixie cut before this became popular).

This was all before Life happened to me. Twenty years of life, to be precise. My skin is drier than it used to be. My hips are rounder, my thighs fuller and none of it is smooth. My belly is thicker and oddly shaped. Only my breasts have defied age and gravity - so far. It won't be long until they, also, succomb to the inevitable.

I see fellow sex bloggers post revealing pictures of themselves on Twitter and on their blogs and I wish my body would look that good in photographs. Instead...well, you can see for yourself in the picture above. Not really the type of body you typically see in advertisements for lingerie. Maybe I should just stay covered up.

How did this happen? How did I let myself go so much? Why did my weight creep up so that I no longer fit into a size 4, but rather a size 12? Where did it all go wrong? Of course something like this does not happen overnight. So let me break it down.

First, I was diagnosed with endometriosis after having struggled with it for over 15 years. That was the first surgery.
Then I became pregnant, which leads to the inevitable stretch marks. This pregnancy ended in a C-section, accounting for the next scar on my tummy.
Then I became pregnant again and my body had to change once again to accommodate another tiny human being growing inside me. This also ended in a C-section, so the old scar was opened again.
Then I had surgery to take my gall bladder out. While this was done though laparoscopy, it still left scars.
And finally I had a hysterectomy to hopefully treat the endometiosis once and for all. I also had to have my ovaries taken, so this surgery resulted in not only another set of scars, but also a huge change in hormones which in itself had a bearing on my body.

And finally, I aged. Even if it hadn't been because of the above, my body still would have changed due to age. Or stress. Or both. My body has endured a lot. A lot of pain. Two pregnancies. Multiple surgeries. But it's still here. It's still capable of givng me a LOT of pleasure. It may not conform to the very narrow standards of beauty in our society, but it is beautiful nevertheless.

Beauty isn't a twenty-something old skinny white woman with blond hair and long legs. Beauty is so much more than that. We are all beautiful. We all have our own journeys with our bodies. And yes, sometimes our bodies make us upset because of the way other people react to us. But we are all beautiful. Beauty comes in many forms - why should we limit the standards of beauty to something very few women can attain? We will all age, and that is something to be celebrated. Our bodies show signs of the years we have lived, and hopefully we have lived well. We should be thankful for that.

In the end, I know my body is amazing. It is - no I am - beautiful. I don't take any nude selfies. (Even though my husband would love it if I did.) But maybe I should. And maybe one day I will be brave enough to have my body professionally photographed. In the nude. In all its flawed glory.

This blog post was inspired by a conversation I had with @lilycampbell on her post about her erotic photography.

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Girl, you are incorrect. You are smoking hot! Rock that little pair of sexy bow undies and strut your stuff. Your perfect. I am not just saying this. All of your honesty and making yourself vulnerable by admitting your mixed feelings makes you that much sexier. Do what you want. In fact, do it loudly. ❤️❤️❤️🦋🦋🦋amen and hi 5.

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You inspire me and I love reading your thoughts on this. Thank you so much for delving into what is going through your mind and your story. It means a lot to me to see someone embracing themself more and more. It’s awesome to see! I mean it- I would love to get notifications when you post more on all this. I’ll definitely be stalking you a little. That’s how I found this piece, I looked you up! I really enjoy hearing what you have to say! Thank you! Xx!

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Thank you so much for your kind words. It's hard emotional labour to write posts like these so it's wonderful knowing I make an impact on people.

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I am impressed with the depth and eloquence of your sharing- thank you for digging deep!

I would like to invite you to our discord group https://discord.gg/vDPAFqb.

When you are there send me a message if you get lost! (My Discord name is the same as here on Steemit)




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Thank you so much for the invite, I joined yesterday but must say I haven't been active yet. Haven't had time to explore properly.

I enjoyed reading this. As someone who was socialized feminine, I had many ideas foisted on me to feel less than. It has carried on to the new life I live, but less somehow.

I hope that you will keep enjoying your body and that when you are feeling like it, it will be wonderful to have the photos taken to enjoy yourself. One day you may be so happy to look back and see your beauty in a whole new way. And I think it is so lovely as a surprise to your hubby.

Feeling so grateful for my own skin. Thanks for the thought-provoker.

Such an important post. You really are bringing out the topics that need light and love, aren't you. lol! Yes, we age. Our bodies go through so much. And we need to learn, as a society, to celebrate the aging process, to celebrate the different, infinite expressions of beauty. To not be ashamed of losing the "perfection" of maidenhood to the powerful vulnerability of being a mother. And to honour the beauty of the crone, as well. Keep writing, Isabelle. Your words are healing. Thank you!

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Thank you so much for your kind words. After I wrote this post, another thought occurred to me. Why do we value beauty so much? Why do we not value strength, character, endurance above beauty? Beauty is not a redeeming quality, beauty doesn't help anyone. Also, you don't really have any control over whether you are beautiful. I just find it strange that we try to attain beauty rather than any other quality.

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I am not sure I agree that we cannot control whether or not we are beautiful.

Thank You For Yet Another Deep Post On #womenspeakout !

I feel as people we naturally value beauty in ways that have been made out to be very superficial in our society. Beauty Represents Vitality, Beauty Represents Balance, Stamina, Sanity in a sense. I think from the lifestyles we live aging comes quicker to us as women then it should. I think The Older woman is what is to be revered and seen as the most beautiful, because with all the knowledge + wisdom we attain we chizzle into our beauty. Taking care of our Physical being so that we can always look in the mirror ad feel like the most beautiful person alive is essential to a woman's health I feel. Something we are shamed for doing as we have babies and get older, as if we're selfish for loving to take care of our cells.

Powerful Post, Thank You For Sharing !

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Thank you for you comment and yes, I agree. The older woman should be revered and celebrated, not shamed.

I'm glad you accept yourself and find glory in what others may perceive as flawed. Beautiful!

First, as a red-blooded male, let me assure you - there is absolutely nothing wrong with the picture (and associated body) you shared here ;) That is a hot pic.

But even if you truly had an "ugly" body, whatever that means, I would agree with the sentiment of this post 100%. Bodies are nothing to be ashamed of, particularly as we grow older and they change. Maybe this wouldn't scare us so much if people didn't keep their older bodies under wraps so much. This is normal. Bodies change as we grow older. There is a beauty in every one who is still full of beauty - there is a sexiness in every one who still feels sexy - there is something magnetic about anyone who is fully inhabiting their own skin with no regrets or pretenses, and no embarrassment. No matter the age.

Much love - Carl "Totally Not A Bot" Gnash / @carlgnash



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Very nice post

Bravo for speaking your truth!
This can be a tough subject to deal with, and getting older can be challenging. I think I have come to terms with it...for the most part... :-)

Thank you for sharing this. As you said beauty don't last forever. I don't think I ever had the beautiful body as I always was a bit chubby and now I am still fat. But nonetheless I love myself, you don't have to have the perfect body to make your husband happy. It is so much more, it won't help a husband if he has a beautiful but frigid wife. The main thing is to accept, enjoy and share your body with the one you love! I am following you now, I wrote about love and marriage if you would be interested.

I came upon this post a while ago through a server but had much too much anxiety to post a comment. (My anxiety is too many tales too long to tell here.) Anyway, you reminded me here of a few women I've met over the years who do a lot to help other women to feel their best and most beautiful (photographers but also make-up artists, hairstylists, etc.). Rarely, if ever, do they gift themselves with what they give to other women, and it has always made me so sad. So I hope you do give yourself that kindness. There's no need to publish it, just do it for yourself.

Also, you've inspired me to do some experimenting. I've begun taking some nude selfies, and I'm working on writing about the things I think and see in them. I definitely don't have your talent for visuals, but I appreciate your help in this. And thank you for sharing your work.

love reading posts from women my age... I love this process of getting older! <3
Thanks for your post!!