Nude in an Armchair Legs Crossed
OK, this is more than likely going to be lengthy….
I hope this is what art does for people. I think all artists hope for this, they hope that they can portray through their art something that someone will see, love, recognize, be moved by.
This came across my dash today after I’ve been having quite the internal discussion going on. As we all know, we’re flooded with images from modern (and early modern) media saying what we as women should look like. Add another layer of that to what women over 40 should look like. Then sprinkle heavily with what women should look like post-baby. Roll it all up with your own personal experiences up to this point in your life and you’ve got something that shouldn’t be occupying your mind as much as it might have lately.
For not the first time, but it has been a while, I saw myself in a great work of art. That a figure that looks like mine would not only be painted, but painted nude.
I’m what the industry terms plus sized. I’m also in between the camps of regular sizing and plus - treading that line and hunting what will work for me. I have always loved vintage, and I really feel that the rockabilly/vintage community has a greater acceptance of girls who are not naturally very thin. For me, it’s a framework to work within, to be stylish within some really fun parameters. Having spent 12 years in Catholic schools and wearing uniforms every day, framework is ingrained. My wardrobe is constantly a mix of modern and vintage inspired pieces (because trying to find actual vintage plus sized clothes that are not going to cost me my daughter’s college fund, is damned near impossible).
I only have a small amount of time every day. I have a daughter who is nearly 2 and is my heart, loose from my ribcage, running around. I want her to love who she is, who she’ll become, and not hate her body the way so many women do. I don’t want to waste time and energy on nitpicking my own. I constantly remind myself that I would never trade that happy little person who I carried in my now still fleshy belly for anything in the world.
In my opinion, society has told women that they should be one of two things post-baby. You need to be the hot mom - a body that snaps back to a near adolescent shape, clad in leggings, down vests, highlighted hair, and riding boots with a yoga mat tucked under your arm (I live in Marin County, CA and this is their framework and uniform). They’ll accept, nay require it. Otherwise, you can just “let yourself go” and surprisingly they’ll accept that too. “Oh, poor thing, so busy, just can’t keep things up in her appearance” they’ll say. It seems that there is very little middle ground. That if, despite my non-industry size, I try to be on-trend or stylish, that I’ll be looked at for trying to hard (my neurosis and battle, I know, but the perception is there).
But then to see a piece of art and recognize yourself is amazing and calming. To look at it and think, that could be me, an artist could see me as worthy to paint. History is full of paintings of fleshy, round, beauties. To see it come up on a modern media thread helps quell the battles that rage in my head at least.
So I keep telling the demons who want to rip my self confidence down to shut the hell up, and I hope that there are other moms that can feel like they’re not alone in this battle of where do I fit in now in this phase of my life.
And thank you reckon for posting this to begin with and giving me an opportunity to put this on paper.