Want a beach body?

I love this quote that has circled my newsfeed and the internet over the past couple of months.

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(I googled this so not sure who to give credit to for the picture but it’s no mine!)

I came across this article on xojane and in the height of summer wanted to share it with you all because the photos and messages underneath are spot on.

Real Beach Bodies

Don’t let anyone or anything put you off wearing what the fuck you want this summer! If you have a body, then you have a beach body so get out there and soak up that vitamin D

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“I’m used to my body doing what I want it to do, without pain. I take that for granted so much.”

I’m Hannah, one of the creators of Project Naked (that sounds kind of grand, but I can’t think of a better word!) I’m so happy to see how many new followers the blog is getting recently, and hope to hear stories from some of you! Here’s some stuff I’ve been thinking about for the past couple of days.

I’m currently away on a three-month trip across the US and Canada, and I’ve been reflecting the past few days on what my body means to me.

I’m in Vancouver right now, the tenth stop on my travels. The morning I was leaving Seattle to come here, I tripped running for the bus and totally decked myself, two rucksacks and all, and bashed up one of my knees. Thankfully I think the rucksack on my front stopped me hitting my face and breaking my nose, because fuck going to a hospital in America. I limped onto the bus and managed to make it to my train on time, despite having to take a couple of breaks when I felt faint from the shock of the fall and the pain in my swollen knee.

Then I made it to Vancouver and tripped again, only slightly this time but I hit the kerb and took the skin off my other knee. While I sat snivelling at a bus stop, mopping the blood up with baby wipes, a man stopped and gave me a hug, which was nice and exactly what I needed right then.

The past few days hobbling around on my bashed up knees has made me appreciate my normally strong body and realise how I take it for granted.

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I’m used to my body doing what I want it to do, without pain. I take that for granted so much. Everywhere I’ve been, I’ve walked extensively at my usual quick pace, and my strong, dumpy wee legs take me wherever I want to go. If I want to walk 15 miles taking a convoluted route from the Upper East Side in Manhattan to Park Slope in Brooklyn, I can and I did. I can sit, crouch, squat and lounge on whatever surface I like when I’m tired.

And now for the last few days I’ve been limping around in mild pain with every step, lowering myself into and out of chairs like I’m 8 months pregnant and having to keep an eye on how I’m sitting so I don’t crack open my scabby knee suddenly or hit it on things.

I’m not complaining. This is a minor and temporary impairment and I feel it getting better every day, although I’m still hobbling up stairs slowly and getting frustrated by how much more slowly I’m walking. But it reminds me how I just assume my body will do things for me. I take it for granted that every day I can get out of bed without pain, walk without pain, sit however I like. I don’t appreciate it at all.

Another thing my injured knees have done is make me less self-conscious about my hairy legs. Even though I haven’t shaved them in over two years, I’m still not crazy about getting them out for the general public. People stare at them and nudge each other – not constantly, but enough that I notice and feel uncomfortable sometimes. And inflamed with feminist rage which just casts a downer on my day because WHY DO THEY CARE? And I’m not being paranoid and just assuming people are noticing. They definitely are. My hair is thick and dark, more obvious than on many guys’ legs, and while I understand that it’s unusual to see on a woman I wish that people wouldn’t stare.

But for the first few days my knee was too raw not to go bare-legged. So I had to get my shorts out and limp around in them. And then when I saw people staring at my legs I just assumed they were staring at my banged-up knees wondering what happened (which is still not polite, folks). I didn’t care if people stared at my legs because it was just more comfortable to have them out.

Trying to feel fully comfortable with my body is something I still have to do. I generally do like my body a lot. I think it looks nice, despite its “imperfections” as far as the media is concerned. I hardly ever obsess over it, and when I find myself thinking bad thoughts about it I push them away, because they are always bullshit. And I’m learning to appreciate its strength and power more.

My body carries me through life and helps me do amazing things. In just the past two months, it’s taken me white water rafting, walked around almost a dozen cities, climbed 500 stairs from a Vancouver beach (with two sore knees), swum in a Vermont lake and in the Pacific Ocean, and eaten more mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups than is really advisable. My body can let me see the whole world.

– Hannah, 26

Check in :)

I am one half of the coordinators for Project Naked, and I am overwhelmed and honoured from the response we have had with the project. I wanted to write a few words as to what we are about and my thoughts on the project. At first it was just for myself but I have decided to share it.

We have created this platform to empower women to think and talk about their bodies. We are surrounded by things/the media that tell us we are not good enough, not slim enough, not sleek enough, that our pores are too big or our skin is too blotchy, or our cellulite is disgusting. Never directly though. They are sly, they say you are beautiful IF.

We say you are what you are, celebrate it, appreciate it, love it.

Not that it’s easy.

I struggle all the time, even having done this project for over two years and having read so many inspirational stories from women who have overcome so much, lived so well, and succeed. And the truth is we all have those stories within, but finding them and recognising them is where the struggle can lie. For me anyways. I’m never quite 100% happy with my body, and I’m not always sure why. I do not always appreciate all that it does for me and can do. But I am also young and (maybe too) easily influenced by the negative things around, society’s niggles saying how we ‘should’ look. I think I need more life experience before I truly learn to ignore them. Doing this project has been a great help though.

What this project has given me is something real. I find it absolutely fascinating reading about other women’s lives and how they feel about their body, about nudity, about their lives they live and how the way we feel about our bodies does affect our overall lives. This is real life, this hasn’t been edited and photoshoped to make it something that can be bought/sold. It is real women living real lives in their real bodies, some of which have gone through so much and some of which have gone through ordinary processes in extraordinary ways.

I read silly gossip trashy magazines (still, although not often) and it makes me sad. I see adverts and feel manipulated. These stories and submissions we have been sent in make me happy, even when they are heart breaking, because – not only I’m happy we’ve received a submission! – I’m reading something that has not been fluffed up, polished or faked. The stories we receive are powerful, and they are sent from the “normal” “everyday” women and that is something special. I think it is special because they have taken the time to write something and submit it, and I think it is special because all the stories will affect the readers in different ways and it is amazing that this project and the submissions can be helping others without the writer even realising.

We get a lot of women saying to us “but I don’t know what to write!!” or “I don’t know how to put how I’m feeling into words” or “my story is boring, I don’t feel I have anything to say”. We think every woman has a story to tell, and we understand it isn’t easy putting feelings into words (hell that is something I struggle with a lot!) but even if it triggers someone to just think about it, think about their body and all the amazing things it can do that’s good enough for me! For example, I don’t like my thighs, never have. They don’t wobble the right way, I have stretch marks going in all directions and some annoying rash thing that keeps appearing even after lots of cream BUT they are my thighs and without them I couldn’t walk and run (not that I do that a lot, ha!) and best of all dance like a loon which is something I love to do. Shifting my focus from the negative to the positive is a process that has taken time and I don’t get it right all the time but it’s this project that has helped me work on it and I do believe everyone is capable of it.

We don’t want to be telling people how to think though, how they should start the process or what they need to do to feel better. That is why the majority of the posts are just the submissions that we get sent in, or find (and why we have long gaps between posts because sometimes we are waiting a long while for submissions!). We want those submissions to lead the blog and it be the main body of the content.

Doing this project has opened my eyes. There is no “normal” and perfection can lie everywhere, often within the imperfections! I like to read through the posts and stories and I would urge you to do the same because there is such a variety and they will truly open your eyes to how amazing, adaptable, versatile and unique our bodies are!

If you would like to share your story with us we would love to hear from you. Please email us on projectnaked@gmail.com 🙂

Carol Rossetti – WOMEN

This is one of the reasons I love facebook and can’t quite give it up because I come across amazing things like this from the various pages I follow. This is the amazing work by Carol Rossetti, so simple yet so powerful! I wanted to share on the blog because I felt it so fitting and something a lot of woman will relate to. Also the illustrations are just too KICK ASS not to share.

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Posted with permission. Please go to http://https://www.behance.net/carolrossetti to see more of her amazing work!

A few words from us…

We thought we would check in and write a post as it has been a while since we have. We are so happy and humbled by the way this project has evolved and it’s all thanks to YOU wonderful women/creatures/beings 😀

Although Project Naked started about body image and feeling comfortable in our own skin it has become so much more than that – it is about the way we live in our bodies and what has happened to them, how the whole story of our body makes us who we are. We are so grateful to every woman that has shared something with us, all the support we have received, and to those that have taken the time to read through the submissions – we get a lot of messages saying how much the posts have touched people and helped them with their own experiences.

It always helps to know you are not alone.

Sometimes we go through periods of silence but that does not mean we are not here! Project Naked goes on forever. This blog isn’t really our blog, it belongs to all of you; it is your space to tell your stories.

We believe that writing down your story can be a really cathartic experience whether you send it to us or not (but we would be honoured if you did share it with us!) You can get in touch at projectnaked@gmail.com

We are also (still) trying to get better at twitter so follow us and get in touch @project_naked and any advice on the matter would be greatly received!

Lots of love, and thanks to everyone who has supported us over the past couple of years
Megan and Hannah

Video – WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR BODY?

So, after much delay and quite a bit of procrastinating in the sunshine, we finally got round to making a video with all the awesome submissions you sent us. Thank you so much again to everyone who sent things in, and to everyone who has and continues to support the project.

We hope you like it – share it around as much as possible!