What Self Portraits Taught Me

Exshaw Photography

Part of me is ashamed to say this out loud but I have had a really fucked up view of my body in the past & even now sometimes. I’ve always felt and thought I was ugly and disgusting. I kid you not. I’ve been in some super dark places. I would avoid public outings because I didn’t feel worthy or pretty enough to be seen. I’d starve myself, other times I’ve binge ate then purged with excessive, punishing exercise in hopes of relieving all those horrible thoughts I had of myself. I wasn’t like other girls & I was told that regularly. I had a boy in grade 8 tell me that the only way he’d fuck me was if I had a bag over my head (first off, Tim- I didn’t ask you to fuck me, I’d NEVER give you my consent!) #meanpeoplesuck. I believed my only worth as a woman in this world was based on physical appearances alone. Fucked right? But I don’t think Im alone in feeling that way so it makes it less fucked up and more sad. Doesn’t it? I feel heartbroken when women share the same tale about themselves with me. The thing is- all that shit, all that loathing and fuckedupness is JUST THOUGHTS NOT TRUTH. Your value, my value, our worth is NOT dictated by size, shape, age, others opinions and whatever else…. we are perfect as is. What self portraits taught me- made me see was, it’s in my head. My cellulite isn’t as bad as I BELIEVED it was, I am not disgusting, I actually fucking love my hair, I don’t look like a troll. If someone comments different- well, it’s their own insecurities preaching. They are living in THEIR discomfort. Maybe I make them feel discomfort in my new-found confidence? We don’t have to take part in any of it though. My hope for you, if your reading this thinking “But I’m too _______,” or “I’m not enough _______ to have my photos taken”, is that you’ll be open & willing enough to venture away from those self sabotaging thoughts and see yourself in a different light. If you let it, this experience can be VERY empowering, liberating and fun! xo

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MusingsKimberly Exshaw