Monday, October 15, 2012

external shell

i posted a photo collage of pictures that brooke has taken super up close to me. details that she looks at and observes and feels the need to study. she likes small things and details and she has a strange affinity for lines. she doodles lines and even tries to draw lines on everything with her eyes so that all the world is connected. she's got a very artistic eye and observes things differently than most people do.

when she stares at my parts and then takes a picture so i can see why it's so interesting, i've learned not to be offended. not even when it's a picture of one of my least attractive bits. i've learned that brooke doesn't show interest in very many people. she doesn't look at people very much. she prefers toys and animals, so when she shows an interest in me, i'm pleased. when she sees art in life, even if it's on me, it makes me happy.

i posted those pictures on my blog here because i thought it was interesting. i know that some of them didn't paint me in a very pretty light, but they made me happy and they made me laugh and they made me cringe.

what i didn't expect was the reaction that it got when i posted a link on facebook. some of my close friends and family members commented with things along the lines of how brave i was or how i was crazy and that the images were disturbing.

it sort of caught me off guard. i went back and looked at each picture again, trying to see it through someone else's eyes. i guess i can see it. there's that one by my eye that i was told looks like a nipple or a cat butt.

however, i like that you can't tell exactly what some of them are. that some of the pics seem a little bit questionable and odd. i even like the ones that show my stretch marks. brooke says they look like roots and she traces her finger over them and smiles, knowing that's the one part of my body that she created. they're the physical reminder of when i overcame my fight with infertility.

let's be honest here. most women don't see much of other women's bare bodies as we age. once we're past college age, we're generally no longer getting changed in a room with other women or hanging out in our underwear putting our makeup on before heading out for a late night on the town. even if we are in a situation around other bare women, like a locker room at the gym, we're doing our best to go as fast as we can while averting our eyes so as to keep from making anyone uncomfortable. the only time you make eye contact in a situation like that is to give the stink eye to the little boy across from you who's paying way too much attention while you try to wrangle your wet clothes off and your bra back on.

for most of us married ladies and mommies, the only bare bodies we see are our own and the airbrushed ones on magazine covers. if the truth be told, there are very few women over the age of thirty in the real world, who have magazine cover bodies. so as we age and our skin stretches or sags or wrinkles, we don't think about the fact that the same thing is happening to all our friends. we might make jokes about it, but we don't let even our sisters or girlfriends have a look at what the years and babies have done to certain parts of our bodies. we stop going out without makeup because we don't want anyone to see the dark circles or crows feet around our eyes. our shorts get longer to cover the veins that pop out. we stop wearing bikinis even if we're at a healthy weight because our stomachs are wrecked from pregnancies.

i guess what i'm saying is that maybe the reason people were alarmed or disgusted by my pictures was because they never see body parts in public that look like that. their own might look that way too, but they try not to look because it makes them feel unattractive.

i don't think we all need to go out showing off our ugliest parts, but i think it would be good if more women could feel less self conscious about those things.

we are more than our external shells.


  1. I think that you're right Sherry and that some women can be way too self conscious, our body's obviously change over time and there's no need to be afraid of that, I really didn't view what Brooke did as weird in the slightest when I first seen the photos although like you when I can think about it I can see why those people on Facebook said they did, it's still fine all the same though in my eyes.

  2. Amen! I didn't give it a second thought.

  3. I liked your pics, although I did think it was brave of you to share them. I try not to even look in the mirror most of the time 8 weeks post-partum, and I would be mortified for anyone else to see me, even in isolated close-ups. But weirdly (?) I've always kind of liked my stretch marks once the skin underneath firms up a bit - they look like tiger stripes to me.

  4. I'll have to look at the collage. If you are comfortable with it, I don't see the big deal.

  5. And most men don't see other men's bare bodies.
    And thank God for that.
    But, if I see someone looking at my bare body, I'm thinking I'm in the wrong place.
    And, not for nothing, I kinda gross myself out. Which is why I shower in the dark.

  6. Well, you certainly are right about We ladies learning to love our bodies more.
    And, knowing your daughter as Only you can, if she is curious, intrigued, you can't discourage that.
    She finds art in her own way I am sure.

  7. Exactly! I love this post. You're so right. We only ever see the super model bodies. And as much as we say we hate that, as soon as we see a REAL body, we don't know how to process it. Maybe because we're programmed to NOT think real bodies are beautiful, even though we say we do?? Anyway, I think you're gorgeous and amazing. I love this post and am sharing the hell out of it all over twitter. :)


don't let me be the only one doing the talking around here. spill your guts!