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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.
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Reader Comments (152)

bravo, love. so pleased to be a part of this project with you.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternic @mybottlesup

Oh! Oh! Pick me!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMFA Mama

What I can I say, Tanis? I can begin with "Thank You". Thanks to you, I am going to CHOOSE to see beauty in my self and in my world. Everything is a choice, and you just helped me to remember that.
Thank You & I Love You--now off to buy the calendar and the book!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNadine

pick me pick me!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermelanie

That's powerful! It makes me stop to think how I can help pass this message along to my daughter....Thanks

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

Congrats. I think it's in every woman's path in life to learn to love herself as she is. It is a beautiful thing that you have achieved that.
Also, I hope I win :)

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAurelie

You are a stronger woman than I am. At 33, I am still way too self conscious of my body to be naked around anyone (except my husband and kids), let alone pose naked for pictures. When I grow up, I want to have your strength!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenn

Good for you. Are you August? It's hard to tell on the thumbnails! ;)
I was in the Boobs for Anissa calendar, but since you can't see my face... I didn't publish it to the world too much. I'm fairly certain that even though it wasn't an "indecent" picture my family (who all read my blog) would NOT have understood. Such is the life of the blogosphere. :)

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKrista

Well done! The calendar is wonderful and you should be so very proud of all the things you have done in your life, including this calendar. I didn't see any jiggling thighs, though....you look great!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

And not only was your picture amazing, but you became the cover girl. We love you for all you've done, Tanis.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy Phillips

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Heather Spohr, Toy With Me, Tanis Miller, nic, Amy Lalala and others. Amy Lalala said: RT @redneckmommy: New post up! Nudity! Humour! Calendars! Plus a GIVEAWAY for @chookooloonks amazing book. http://bit.ly/e9TYJz [...]

I couldn't fathom being comfortable enough with myself to pose naked in front of strangers, so kudos on doing such a wonderful thing (and to raise money for charity!!!!)

I would love a copy of that book. With all that is going on, lord knows I could really use something to boost my self-esteem. I am ready for that challenge.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKara

What you did was wonderful and very brave, and it sends a wonderful message to your kids and anyone else.
You are beautiful inside and out :)

I am totally going to buy a calendar!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBella Foxglove

I think you are absolutely beautiful! And not too bad to look at either!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermichellew_

You ARE crazy, and not for the getting nekkid on the net thing, but because you always poke fun at yourself for looking like you just crawled out of a bombshelter that you forgot to stock with razors.
I saw you in person at the FIERCE awards, and thought you were stunning. not just sucking up to win either.
but...us girls are a bit nutty about the whole deal of floppy funbags and skin skirt belly flab. I actually dropped a tear into my simulated cheese flavored rice cakes to hear you admit that you truly feel beautiful.
kudos doll...

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrecyclenazi

Good for you! I hope a huge number of calendars sell and the charitable donation is a big one!!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKristen

You, Dear Lady, are an inspiration: a bellylaugh, a bittersweet tear, and a sarcastic snort... all rolled into one beautiful REAL woman. Great job on the pinup, and what a wonderful cause. Keep smiling~

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKellyMeg

AMAZING! Beautiful post!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

“Remember to be gentle with yourself and others. We are all children of chance and none can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the AUGUST sun. Care for those around you. Look past your differences. Their dreams are no less than yours, their choices no more easily made. And give, give in any way you can, of whatever you posses. To give is to love. To withhold is to wither. Care less for your harvest than for how it is shared and your life will have meaning and your heart will have peace.”

Kent Nerburn (American Author, Sculptor, Theologian and Educator)

"I love AUGUST because of the half-naked chicks!"

Neil Kramer (American Blogger)

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNeil

Good for you! I love this post...I'm trying to teach my 13 year old daughter that beauty comes from within, but society is trying so hard to teach her otherwise. I don't want to see her go through the same struggles I've gone through, but I see it starting.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristine Harling

You are brave and amazing! I want this book! I also plan on buying a calendar, as I am a survivor of an eating disorder and I know the toll it takes.It makes seeing the beauty because you become so engrossed in the flaws, however minute they may be.You are awesome and you are beautiful!YOu go girl!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTruthful Mommy

wonderful post. brought a tear to my eye and a belly jiggle to my soul.
thank you for reminding me i'm not defined by the 50 pounds i have put on, but the love i have.. and show to others.
Lady, you rock.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKindra68

would love to be able to get the calendar... but i'd be happy to get the book for now :)

i was lucky to have a father who taught me to have a positive body image, but i know not everyone is and i also know that it wasn't (it isn't) easy to have one. I'm 22 and have lost 20 kg this past year and I have a hard time recognizing myself in the mirror, I'm starting to like what I see ...

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterapandorabox

I'd love to read a book recommended by a brave funny loving person like you!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Thank you for taking a chance on yourself. I've been struggling with body issues recently in a way I've never struggled before. Something about metabolism changes over 40. I think. Your post is heartening, thanks.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermonstergirlee

I am happy that you did this for, well... everyone! You are beautiful in every picture - but only if you crop out the pit hair in that one ;) I also worry about the young women in my family in wanting to be a good example in how to be happy in the body you have. I love you Tanis :)

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

I love it! *heading over to buy a calendar right now!)

And congratulations! What a brave, awesome, inspiring thing to do :)

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCandice

I never leave comments on giveaways, but actually I could really use the help in seeing my own beauty. I admire what you've written here.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterexistere

Ha! Me and my husband have often had the "what if" conversations about plastic surgery. He is continually amazed (or appauled) that I always forego the tummy tuck for the eyelid tuck.

Good for you!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJennie

I've been following your blog for awhile now and I really think you're an amazingly (human) person who has a gift for putting things into words that most of us would rather not think about. Rock on Tanis!


November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPagan

Wonderful post. Heading off to look at the calendar now. The beauty of brave inspires me.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSiobhan Wolf

Hi-larious! Would love to win the book, would love to BUY the calendar

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterClaire

Now I know that the 80 lbs I need to lose doesn't make me disgusting, just means there is more of me to judge... *wink*

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMrLadysShadow

You're beautiful!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly Loomis

Tanis - you are beautiful both inside and out! I have been peeking at that calendar all along and now I really want one! Going to order one right now!!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercheryl

Much more brave than me, since I am not happy to let even Hubs see the jiggles going on here. Still, a beautiful post. WHere would I hang a nakie calendar with six kids in the house?

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEstrogen Files

I think the calendar is a beautiful way to raise money for charity! We definitely need to see more true beauty! Thanks for a chance to win that book!!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Awesome! Go you!

I've got some daughters and my whole "body image" plan is to never say anything disparaging about my body in front of it and to pretend that I'm perfectly thrilled with it all the time cause it's healthy and strong.

It's a good policy!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBetsy

Amazing post, Tanis. Really. I'm very happy you're at "that place." You're beautiful, and that post shows it, inside and out.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTheEvilStepMom

Thank you for such a beautiful post. I am trying to learn to embrace myself in the same way, in order to pass the feeling down to my daughter. I want her to know how beautiful she is too!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTeresa

Wonderful post! If only we could teach ourselves how beautiful we really are......

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaren V

You are very cool, lady.

I like how you also have come to grips with your beauty and definition of it.

Sometimes I loath myself and sometimes I think I`m pretty dammned hawt for a 41 year old.

I know I`ve lost some shine, and no amount of spit will bring it back, but for the most part I`m ok with that.
We have 2 daughters, both in elementary school. Hubby and I share the same idea that the world will batter their self esteem bit by bit, so we tell them daily that they are beautiful.
Well, they ARE beautiful, true story.

Congrats to you, you`re beautiful!


November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie F

You are a much braver woman that I am! I could never pose nude, but I think it is great that you did for a such a wonderful cause.

I'd love to win the book! It has been on my wishlist for months.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdee

way ta go, thats an amazing thing to be able to say you did. not many people can.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermistress pink

I really wanted to read this post but I think I have some armpit pubes in my eye.

Seriously, scarred for LIFE over here. :)

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMr Lady

the sneak peek looks great! You have more guts than I do!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermelissa

That book is on my "Someday, when I have spare cash...or manage to return all those delinquent library books...I will buy/borrow it!" list

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterthepsychobabble

So glad I found your blog via @Chookooloonks. I've been reading through the archives all afternoon. Not conducive to a productive work-day but much more enjoyable.

From one Albertan to another, thanks!

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney

Awesome! I couldn't do it but I do appreciate that you can. I'm proud of you.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter4katnap

you ARE beautiful.
and i would love to win the book.
also, i think my bff needs the naked calendar...she is way too hard on herself and can't see the beauty we all see.

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterhello haha narf

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