A Thing of Beauty

I write a lot of silly stuff on this here on this blog. And I write a lot of heart wrenching stuff. It's the safe place I've carved out for myself to help define my identity after losing it so suddenly when my son passed away.

Slowly, one post at a time, I've found my footing in life again, and I'm ever so grateful for the community that has helped propped me up and helped me grow when I floundered in the darkest sea a parent can swim in.

So when I was asked earlier this year, to give back a little and help other people and a charity with a few blog posts and a picture I thought why not.

All the organizers needed was one little photo. And I've got photos. I mean, I've posted hundreds of them over the life of this little blog.

There are pictures I've tweeted of myself.

There are pictures of me giving birth. Well, not the actual birth because even I don't want to see that. And if anyone had pointed a camera at my stretched out girly parts I'd have likely jumped off the birthing bed to beat them to death with their camera.

Heck, I've posted pictures of my cat giving birth and her placenta. (You are all very welcome.)

I've posted pictures of my armpit hair and proved to my husband (and the world) that I have no shame about being an untamed wildebeest.

I've even posted pictures of me, fresh out of bed, riddled with zits and nary an ounce of pride in sight.

There have been nicer pictures.

And some really bad pictures.

I've even celebrated the holiday season with a portrait or two.

Clearly, I could send along a picture of myself to help a community in need and raise money for charity.

I committed to the project without reading the fine print.  Because I'm bit of an arse that way.  Then I realized, I'd have to get naked on the internet.

Shit got real, real fast.

It's one thing to post pictures of my pit fuzz but it's another to let it all hang out. Literally.

It may not be obvious what with all the pictures I post on this blog, but I am very self conscious about my appearance. Years of growing up the knobby kneed, stringy haired teen who was flat as a board did nothing to boost my self esteem. And just when I was starting to really grow into myself and feel comfortable with my appearance, my son died, and I lost my mind but found about 50 pounds.

I weigh now more than I did when I was nine months pregnant with Fric or Frac.

I discovered the door to my self esteem does not lie in my looking glass.

A culmination of medication, inactivity and injuries have all forced me into taking a good hard look at myself and what I consider beauty to be. It's also forced me to use a wire hanger on more than one occasion to try and force a zipper up on pants that I had to hop up and down to try and  wriggle into.

Participating in a calendar showcasing a woman's natural curves was a leap for me. Mostly because I'm still growing used to this skin I'm in and I'm not really comfortable sharing all this skin with anyone but my husband, my kids, my dad who keeps walking in on me while I'm naked, my waterman who may have seen more of me than he ought to have when he delivers water in the summer, my father-in-law who drove up the drive while I had fallen asleep topless sunbathing, random neighbours driving slowly by as I skinny dip and perhaps a bus full of small children as I flashed them my goods when my robe fell open one morning.

Still. It's not like everyone in the free world has seen my goods. Only a small percentage.

I look at my daughter and my nieces and even my sons and I see the beauty they all shine with and I know that one day someone will try and tarnish that shine with a thoughtless comment or a disparaging remark and it breaks my heart. It happened to me. It happens to us all.

I can't protect the children I love from having their ego bruised or their spirits crushed. Time will bring both, unfortunately. But I can set the example that beauty is reflected from the inside out and no matter how they look, what size they are, or what scars their demons have brought them, they are beautiful. I can teach them that beauty is everywhere, even in an aging mother with cracks in her heart and dimples on her arse.

I choose to see beauty. In my son whose face was frozen and unanimated. In my other son's slack jaw, drooling smiles. In my daughter's budding figure and dimpled cheeks and in my eldest son's broadening shoulders and beautiful smile.

I choose to see beauty, wherever it is, because it is everywhere and it takes all forms, all shapes, all sizes. And I refuse to not feel beautiful. Because how can I teach the children in my life to embrace their beauty when I can't see mine?

So I did it. Amidst protests from some of my in-laws and the disbelieving chuckles of my parents, I got naked.

I posed bare-arsed in front of two total strangers and let them see my beauty. Along with my sagging boobs, my charming belly roll and my jiggling butt cheeks. I may not look like the definition of beauty to some, but I don't mind. Because I feel beautiful.

And it's been a long time coming.

Posing naked in a calendar for charity may not be the path to empowerment for most people. But for me, I overcame my fears about my body image and there is a real beauty in that small act of bravery. One I'm proud of.

And I, personally, think there is no better way to ring in the new year like hanging a calendar filled with beauty on your wall.

So please, head on over to Blogger Body Calendar's site for a sneak peek as well as to purchase your own copy of my jiggling thighs.

Consider it my Christmas gift to you.


***And because I'm feeling so darn beautiful these days, I want to help you all feel that way too. Which is why I'm pleased to give away one copy of Karen Walrond's amazing book, The Beauty of Different. This book is a must read and I plan on giving it to everyone I love, who can read. I'd give a copy to Jumby too, but he'll just chew on the pages and drool it to death. Just leave a comment and I'll randomly select a winner on Friday, December 3. Open to anyone who lives on planet Earth. ***

And please, buy a calendar. The proceeds go to support the National Eating Disorders Association and the calendar is a thing of beauty. I promise.