Woman in the Mirror

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The very inspirational Marie Rebelle gave us this prompt for this weeks #WW:

Self-image is how you perceive yourself. It is a number of self-impressions that have built up over time: What are your hopes and dreams? What do you think and feel? What have you done throughout your life and what did you want to do? These self-images can be very positive, giving a person confidence in their thoughts and actions, or negative, making a person doubtful of their capabilities and ideas.
(Source: What is self-image?)

So how about your self-image? Positive or negative? Why? How? Do you have advice for others on how to improve their self-image? What do you like or dislike about yourself? Interpret this prompt as you want and share your (sexy) posts.

I honestly did not think I had anything new to say on this topic, having discussed it ad nauseam on here and on my other blog k1kat.com. However, a Podcast from another of my blogging crushes/heroes, Molly Moore, featuring the lovely Malin James pricked my interest this afternoon. (Yeah pardon the dreadful pun!)

The topic was jealousy and was utterly fascinating to a person who has only ever had monogamous relationships. I found myself feeling, (and I stress that they in NO WAY suggested this to be the case at all, quite the contrary in fact), that I was a bit “less than” them. Their self confidence and apparent lack of insecurity about themselves and their relationships was amazing to listen to. They both admitted to experiencing and being uncomfortable with feelings of jealousy, but they had skills that they used to deal with these feelings.

Funnily enough, I never feel jealousy with regard to my OH and I wonder if this is because I know he is 100% committed to a monogamous relationship. In fact, my request to explore my bisexual side has been staunchly refused! I trust completely that he simply is not the straying type. We are both outrageous flirts and we enjoy watching each other do it. But that is where the line ends and I think it helps us feel secure in the relationship.

So I don’t feel jealousy, but… a BIG but coming… I am always, always, insecure. About how I look mostly, but also about how I interact with people, how I come across, (I am very gregarious and friendly and I fear sometimes I scare people!), my abilities, my lack of drive… uh, I could go on.

We have been together now for, gulp, 24 years and married for 17 of them. He has never failed to tell me he thinks I am beautiful, sexy, gorgeous, smart, funny, caring…

He has seen me at my lowest points physically, mentally and emotionally.

He has loved me when I was overweight, when I was skeletal and underweight, (thanks eating disorder!), and he loves me now, as I still wear my size UK 6 jeans, even though my tummy overflows and I really need to either buy new ones or lose the love handles. (I close my eyes and brace myself for the backlash now… I know size 6 is small but bear in mind I am only 5′ with some 2 shoes! Plus… it’s really not about the numbers, it it MY self perception, right? And, it’s through the floor. In the basement.)

But he loves me. Can I accept that? Yes… he has shown it well enough. But then why do I still look in the mirror or shop windows and really dislike what I see there? I struggled to not use the word hate there…

On Saturday we ate a delicious lunch out; a turkey and gaucamole sandwich, hardly the stuff of Over Eaters Anon, but walking afterwards, all I could talk about was how tight my jeans were, etc, etc. He took my hand and told me to say, out loud, 5 positive things about myself. I hesitated. He frowned and said, “Quick now girl, or it’ll be 10 things!” I panicked and blurted out the first 5 things I thought of and got a kiss in reward. He asked me if I felt any better and I realised I had a big grin on my face and that I actually DID feel better!

Is it that simple? Daily affirmations? Is that the trick?

I have wanted so many times to ask Molly and Rebel, both of whom astound me with their body confidence all the time, along with several other regular Sinful Sunday contributors… what is the secret? I read Molly today over on Twitter, resplendent and naked in the open air in public, enjoying the sunshine and an orgasm and thought… wow! I want to be her when I grow up!

I have accomplished things in my life that matter and have helped people, REALLY helped them. I was a Rape Crisis Counsellor and Educator and I believe I actually changed some people’s lives. I paid my own way through a Degree, whilst working. I struggled along with the OH through years of dreadful poverty. I watched my mother die and helped nurse my father until his death when I was 24. I have faced more than one serious, life changing illness.

I am still here. I am so much more than the lump of flesh that I inhabit. And yet…

Rebel, you asked us to give you our take on ‘self-image’ and here is mine. Inside, somewhere, I know and understand I am more than the appearance. And yet that is my focus. Which makes me a pretty shallow, vacant, vacuous person I guess.

See how ugly it is inside?

What is to blame? Media? Advertising? Magazines? Pop videos? My parents? Society in general?

Or just me? This is my ‘illness’… if you can accept self loathing as an illness, the same as depression or addiction, or eating disorders for that matter.

I need to take a good long hard  look at why I have this dreadful, empty, pathetically shallow viewpoint.

Incidentally and very importantly I think, this negative way of looking at bodies is one I reserve solely for myself! The reason Sinful Sunday is one of my favourite memes is the incredible positivity and acceptance I find there. Every week, I look at the pictures of people of all shapes, sizes, colours and ages and the only thing I ever feel is admiration and joy in the way they love themselves and courageously share themselves with us.

I salute you all and will continue to push my comfort zones each week, if I can. I feel that Sinful Sunday is a truly safe place. In fact, the people of the kink community are the sweetest, most accepting and non-judgemental group I have ever had the pleasure to meet.

I did not write this piece as a pity party, even if that is how it comes across.

I sat down and just let it flow, unedited, because I fear if I over-think this I will chicken out and hit delete.

I fear you will all shake your collective heads and think, “Jesus… Drama Queen alert! There are people with real problems out there…”

But if you’ve ever stopped by the neighbourhood where depression, low self-image and eating disorders live, I think, well I hope, you won’t hate me.

With love,

K

Copyright, 2015, illicitthoughts.wordpress.com

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29 thoughts on “Woman in the Mirror

  1. Raw, brave and movingly honest. The worst thing is, no matter how many compliments you receive (and I’ve given you a fair few in the time we’ve “known” each other) we just aren’t programmed to accept them. Our own view of ourselves is always so much more critical than those of the people who know us and love us. So much so, that often we are left wondering if they actually know us at all, we simply cannot be the person they are describing and praising.

    And yet, if we could only make ourselves believe it, if we could only see ourselves as others see us and think about ourselves as others think about us, we would (I hope) see that it is their perceptions that actually hold the most truth.

    KW

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. Yes you have indeed been absolutely lovely to me!
      I agree with you and wish I could see what he sees, (or you for that matter!), but it is so hard.
      Thank you for everything.
      I loved your post too. I wish you love and happiness.
      x

      Like

  2. Beautiful. Raw. Honest. Brave. You are beautiful. You are brave. Thank you so much for sharing these deep thoughts!

    Believe me, I have my bad days too, where I hate my body and want to be thin again and want to be sexy and hot, but thankfully those days don’t happen as much as they did in the past. How I do it? I have no idea. Age? Learning to accept myself? I don’t know. It’s a process, but I think the process is different for everyone.

    You really are beautiful, and if daily affirmations help you, do it! Look at your mirror image and tell yourself how beautiful you are. Learn to accept every aspect of your body, by looking at it, and seeing how amazing it is, even if in your eyes it’s flawed.

    Thanks for sharing this!

    Rebel xox

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Rebel. I admire you so much, your words mean a lot to me. I hoped age would do the trick but it hasn’t so far! Makes me feel a bit silly for caring so much about it at my age. But I guess that goes to show how deep it goes.
      I will try what you suggested and see if I get there.
      Thank you again you gorgeous, wonderful chick! x

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      1. I think we all care about it in different ways until the day we die. If I look at my mom, she still worries about her weight, about what she looks like, etc. I don’t think we ever stop with that. Don’t be too hard on yourself xox

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Goodness sakes, girl…you are NOT alone in these thoughts. I think they are terribly common for women (and even men). Why we are all so hard on ourselves is beyond me, especially when we get to see ourselves through someone else’s eyes. We have a tendency to see only our worst features and qualities. But those around us focus on the best. I’m glad you’ve got OH to prop you up when you get down on yourself. Thanks for sharing such an honest post.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. K you say yourself “I have accomplished things in my life that matter and have helped people,” . . . and that is something to cherish and feel good about. And you have the love and support of your husband. You can build on, and reward him for, that love and support by celebrating all the great things you have, and wonderful things you have achieved!!!
    Xxx – K

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  5. Dear K

    I want to take you by the hand and drag you off into the countryside with me and take my camera to you. I would hope that you come, that you afford me the honour of trusting me and allow me a chance to show you, with me, camera, something of a beauty of who you are. I have never seen you in person, apart from you sinful sunday pics but I know that you can not see it, because I never could either, but then one day I started taking pictures and from them I found a new perspective on me, not ‘how I feel’ or what I ‘see’ in the mirror but the pictures taught me about the curve of my spine, the way my breasts sit, the heart shape of my bum, the fact my feet are small and pretty, that my shoulders and neck are strong and beautiful. A photograph shows you those things in a way that nothing else can.

    If you ever want to email me, or ask me anything please do, I am always happy to share. Oh and 5 years ago I could not have laid on that sofa in the river in the nude in the sun and masturbated, not a hope in hell, but yesterday I did and I am still grinning about it now…. and if I can do it, so can you. Haha, does that sound like I just ask you to come masturbate with me? Well if I did, then sure, lets go for it, sounds like it could be fun to me

    And no, I didn’t read this as self pity but as honesty.

    Mollyxxx

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Molly, I wish I lived near you because, you know what? I would totally skip off into the countryside with you and let you photograph me! I think it would do me the world of good!
      I hope one day I will get where you are mentally and emotionally, but for now I am just very happy for you that you have so much confidence and love for yourself. I honestly do see you as someone to aspire to be like.
      Thank you for your lovely, supportive comment.
      And yes… It sounds like enormous fun to me too!
      Kat x

      Like

      1. I have once taken a photo shoot. A sexy one. I wasn’t in the nude, but in sexy lingerie, in sexy poses, though nothing extravagant. It did me a world of good.
        And I agree with Molly: taking pictures is a good way of seeing ourselves through other people’s eyes. That’s why I took to Boobday. It helped me tremendously with my self image.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think Sinful Sunday has helped me somewhat, although I feel like a fraud sometimes for hiding behind filters etc. I did a lingerie shot, solo, once with a timer and my Canon but that was when I was uber tiny and looking good. Maybe I should do it again…

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      3. Don’t feel like a fraud. You’re on your journey towards self acceptance. The path and pace are yours to decide, no one else can do it for you!
        So if you need to use filters to take pictures of you that make you feel good about yourself, then so be it!
        When I say I did a photo shoot, I mean I booked a shoot with Groupon. Probably the best $100 I ever spent. I spent 3 hours with the photographer. She was great, and made me feel so very at ease. And the pictures I got afterwards were GREAT for my self esteem.
        The idea behind the shoot was to take pictures to remind my ex (we were still together at the time) that his wife WAS beautiful and sexy. And help me accpet that truth too.
        It worked. At least for me. I think for him too, but then it’s me who realised that he didn’t deserve me!
        Maybe you can ask a trusted friend to do it for you. A friend of mine asked another friend to take pictures and made a calendar for her husband. It wasn’t full on nudity, but sexy outfits (shorts with a bikini top, in a full bath with foam…). He liked it, and I’m sure it was great for her too!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That’s what I did. I took lots of arty shots and complied them into an album for hubs. He loved it.
        I think you were awesome to book that and I’m delighted it worked for you.
        I’m trying to lose some weight and maybe if I get there I’ll take some again.
        Thanks lovely x

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      5. The other day I was having a discussion with a kid of mine. When asked why did I stop weightwatchers, that it seemed to help, I explained that I needed to learn to love myself, extra weight and all. That I was tired of trying to lose weight for others and all. I didn’t mention that some men seem to like me just as I am, but I thought it 😉
        I explained that, one day, I’ll maybe start working again on losing weight, but for now, I needed to love myself, accept myself as I am, that I am enough.
        I also once read someone who said: don’t wait to be your perfect weight to take pictures. Your loved ones deserve to have memories with you in them. They love you the way you are, they couldn’t care less how much you weigh in that picture. All they see is that this was a happy time that you got to share.
        Just food for thought 😉
        What I’m trying to say is not ‘don’t try to lose weight’. If it’s what you want, please do. But don’t let it stand in the way of you enjoying life and being in pictures. Embrace who you are, because you are more than the flesh envelope you inhabit.
        Love! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      6. God Dawn you are a wise woman! I love that notion of not waiting to take the pictures. It reminds me as well how often we never realise how good we looked until we look back at old pictures. The saying “you will never be as young and as beautiful as you are right now” comes to mind.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I think I am more beautiful now than I was before. I don’t want to be like my grandma, who keeps saying she looks bad (old) in pictures, when all we can see is that she is beautiful.
        Before, I was insecure and that took away a lot of my beauty 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This was a wonderfully honest and heartfelt post. I think we all feel like this from time to time (often, even) and there is no shame in that. You are beautiful, in your words and in your photos. I hope you’ll continue to push your boundaries and trust your love for your husband and continue to build your love for yourself. Thanks for sharing this!

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  7. Ok, I don’t have time to read all the comments, I need to go to sleep if I can.
    First, I want to say that I don’t think this is a “Come on woman, get a grip” type of post, at all.
    This is a real, honest post about a woman’s feelings and struggles about her self image. I understand all too well, though my story is slightly different.
    I have known and was married to my ex for a similar amount of time as you, but throughout these years, I have heard negative comment after negative comment. It was hard. It broke me.
    I don’t know what broke you, because apparently it’s not your OH. But you suffered through the same thing as me. Though I never had the underweight problem. I never allowed myself to make myself puke after eating.
    What I want to say is this: you are beautiful. Not because you’re a size 6 (I get that size isn’t everything. I’ve always been massive, even if just in height, and I don’t think I’ll ever get back to a size 8, which probably was my lowest point even when I was thin. But that’s Ok). Just because you’re you. You’re a talented, joyful, caring and loving person, who also happens to be simply gorgeous (from what little I saw on Sinful Sunday). Embrace that. (I know, easier said than done when you also suffer from depression! I KNOW!).

    However I can tell you that, yes, affirmations work. This is the thing that worked for me and helped me regain my power. I’d repeat the words of my FWB, that I am a beautiful woman with nice curves and lots of charm. I’d say it every time I was looking at myself, i a mirror, in a shop window. And slowly but surely, I began to believe it. I AM a beautiful woman with lots of charm and nice curves. Yes, one day maybe I’ll lose some of the curves, and that probably will be for the better. But even if I don’t, I’m still the same perfect ME.

    And so are you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is such a lovely thing you wrote to me. I am touched and very grateful. I think I will take a screen shot of this to keep.
      I can’t thank you enough for your lovely supportive words.
      I am so glad you are overcoming the struggle and loving yourself. You deserve nothing less.
      hugs x

      Liked by 1 person

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