There is this painting. I had never seen it before. I had never even really heard of the artist until recently. I’ve been feeling like I lack culture. I wanted to know what kinds of things this man had painted, so I used the trusty google to find a couple examples of his work. Some of it stood out to me, some of it didn’t. But suddenly one picture crossed my path that hit me like a sack of bricks between the eyes.
A beautiful woman sitting mostly nude on a covered chair, green and yellow, striped; around her waist a golden band with sheer fabric to form a skirt, only serving to soften her gorgeous curves. The picture was just beautifully done. The woman was beautifully depicted. The imperfections and perfections of the female form were perfectly represented.
I set it, instantly, as my desktop background.
I look at her dark brown eyes and her dark brown hair once a day now. I stare at her form and appreciate her beauty. She is not what most would consider the ideal for beauty, at least not to our societal standards, but to me? She is. Because in her radiant pose she exudes confidence. Relaxation. Lustfulness. She is neither shy nor afraid. She is there with her raised arms, immortalized in her gorgeous, unapologetic state.
What it must be like to sit in this way, proudly and without shame. Unconcerned with shapeliness. Accepting of the worship that she receives from her lover. How freeing it must feel to exist forever in this painted scene.
And then it occurs to me that I’ve wasted so much time on shame. I’ve given up so much of my life to being fearful and tearful. And all I really had to do was make a choice to love the body I’ve been blessed with.
I’m curved. I’m lumpy. I have scars and physical shortcomings. But I’m beautiful too. I’ve got nothing to hide or be ashamed of. I too could sit, unabashedly on a chair, hands in the air, giving this same look of confidence, of relaxation, of lust.
Perhaps in my wide awake acceptance of my beauty, I would be painted too. Each brush stroke a hand upon my body. Each colour a record of my life. Maybe in my acceptance of myself I could draw to me the feelings that I’ve so desperately longed for. Those of love and acceptance from others.
Perhaps in my coming to love my body, I could share myself in such a way that I never have before. Perhaps I could transcend my fear and the borders I had put upon myself. Perhaps I could open a new door I never even saw before.
The painting filled me with hopefulness. It showed me a reflection I had never wanted to take time to see. I stood in front of the fogged up mirror, took a breath and wiped the fog away. Standing before me was a woman. Hips, thighs, breasts and eyes. Me. More open than I’ve ever been to the possibility of allowing myself the chance to be beautiful. To feel feminine. To be kind to my body.
I am no longer afraid of who I am. I am proud. I am beautiful. I am blessed.