I’ve learned to like every little and every big bit of my body by making my body look mad. I have bright pink hair, I’m pierced, I’m tattooed, I draw my eyebrows on so that they’re huge, and I make myself laugh. I’m an art student, so I use my body in my art, whether it’s dot-to-dotting all of my freckles or photographing myself, it’s always done with naked humour.
I really fervently disliked my body and my self from the age of about 11 to pretty much a couple of months ago. I was tall and gangly yet somehow wobbly and pudgey which translated into FAT. My “pudge” was actually skin, some puppy fat, and then some normal fat. Going from a size 8 when I was 12 to a size 12-14 when I was 16 was actually just growing and being a healthy size for a woman of 6ft. My “blotchy skin” was actually just a collection of freckles which are now a collection of summer days out with my mum. It took me a long time to realise that though.
I think things changed when I started laughing at the way I look, and started having fun. Ridiculous, ugly, charity shop clothes ahoy! This was at the same time as having hair of every colour in the rainbow. For me, it’s a relief to look different to the women in Cosmo, it takes the pressure off, and it allows ME.
Another big change was not filling my head with magazine gumf. Since I stopped reading any women’s magazines about 6 months ago my self esteem and confidence has shot through the roof. They’re legitimately bad for us! They pedal us lies and make us feel bad! Stop reading them for your own sake!
Another big change was when I started seeing my body as art. I life modelled for the first time when I was 17, was so nervous that I threw up, but then when it was done and I saw people’s drawings of me, I was elated. Some beautiful things had been made- out of MY BODY! My body was fine art! And that was so empowering. Because, I didn’t look like Rose in Titanic, I looked my wobbly, not big enough to be curvy but there’s still slight curves there self. And that was great.
Since then, I’ve become an intermedia student rather than a painter, and this has opened so many doors for me. My last three projects have used my naked body. And I always get great responses, not for how my body looks, but what my body is saying. And that to me is the best thing-
My body works (for the most part), it doesn’t matter all that much in the end if it looks nice, because for me, it’s a vessel for my voice. What I’m saying, what I’m shouting, what I’m singing, what I’m signing, what I’m making art on, what I’m writing, what the way I look is saying, the list goes on and on- none of this would be possible if it weren’t for my body.
Using my body as a support and as a canvas, for hair dye and ink and metal, for shouting and protests and growing my pit hair- that’s why I love it.