Woman, Love Thyself

A couple of bloggers I read from the Crafty/Waldorf/Mommy Blogosphere have started on an 8 week journey of self-acceptance. This journey involves sharing photographs of themselves with the world, via their blogs.

For me, this seems like a moment of synchronicity. I just turned 46 years old. I am growing into my old woman body, shedding the soft, mushroom cap firm skin of youth for the snagged, watered silk of fully ripe, voluptuous womanhood. My hair is thinner than it used to be and the texture has changed from silky to … well, a bit wiry. My middle refuses to submit to my summer diet of raw tomatoes and squash. Despite the fact that my weight remains the same, my middle is thicker. Just ask the waistbands on my favorite shorts.

The point here for me is to try and do this with a little bit of grace. So, this will be an exercise in self-acceptance, something I’ve had little trouble with in a world of women who have poor body images and who kick themselves for their lack of beauty when they are, indeed, entirely beautiful.

How this body image okay-ness happened was this: sheer orneryness. My mother was a green eyed, raven haired beauty queen. Even now, 77 and with a walker, men, gay men in particular, tell her how beautiful she is. And she is. She is beautiful and she works her beauty with makeup and hair and jewelry and all of the accoutrement until she is stunning. My father was also one of the beautiful people. He was blonde and blue eyed and held the title of Mr. Virginia in the late 1950s. Me? I have brown hair, plain blue eyes and freckles. To say that my parents were a bit disappointed at how their lovely genes faded in the wash would be an understatement.

For the little girl I was, it was sink or swim. Feel good about and accept yourself or forever be mired in the swamp of average. I swam. I swam so well that I actually managed to pass myself off as quite pretty a lot of the time. I did inherit my mother’s banging body, only with bigger boobs and I jiggled and smiled and tanned and worked out and had fun with it.

Makeup was never my thing, though. I watched how much effort all that pretty took for my mom and also for my step-mom and knew early on that I wanted people to look at me dressed up and think I looked great, not to look at me without makeup and feel shocked or worse, like they had been fooled. I think this more natural approach has made aging a bit less traumatic.

I have a lot more to say but this is week 1 and it’s late and I’m tired, so I’ll end the post with the pics I took of me today, and one or two my hubby took. He was so excited by this idea and by the thought that I might accept my own beauty the way he sees it, powerful and intense and … well, still bangin’.

first thing in the morning

fat back

the real me

after a full day

the last one for today

Thanks to the other bloggers who have also done this. I’m listing the ones I’ve read, including the originator, Shakti Mama and the blog where I read about it first, Childhood Magic. I also saw a post over at Twig and Toadstool.


About Bettina Colonna Essert

Illuminated Magdalene High Priestess and facilitator of empowerment and healing circles for girls and women, including a monthly Red Tent Temple. BA in English, minor in anthropology. Waldorf homeschool mom. Reiki master, cranial sacral therapist, herbalist, menstruvist, feminist, epicurian.
This entry was posted in activism, health and well-being, meme. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Woman, Love Thyself

  1. You’re gorgeous!!!! Curvy, sexy, radiant! I know myself, I’m a little “soft” in places, but that softness speaks to the fact that I am a mother and I am a woman, as it should for all women!! How lovely to see this post from so many different perspectives…and you know what? The bottom line is every single picture I’ve seen is of a beautiful woman…perhaps made more beautiful by the fact that she IS baring her soul in a way!
    Here’s to you!
    xo maureen

    • Thank you =) I think that having the softness coming into my wrinkling-up years has been helpful. It keeps the wrinkles a little more plumped out LOL. I love your blog and all of your ideas and crafts and your self-portraits are beautiful.

  2. Juliana says:

    Oh, I think you are beautiful, and I love your face and your blue eyes. The fifth photo of you — the close-up of your face — is stunning, and you look quite young for 46! And with no make-up on either …

    I think it’s interesting what you say about aging being less traumatic if you don’t use make-up. Since I stopped wearing make-up several years ago, I feel much closer to my physical self in a way that I didn’t before. Of course, I still struggle with self-acceptance, but seeing my bare face in the mirror everyday helps with the self-acceptance, if this makes any sense. I was one of those girls that wore make-up because of insecurity; I think there are women out there who are secure with or without, but this is usually NOT the situation, which is sad. Maybe this trend will shift eventually, and honestly, I think it already is.

    Thank you so much for participating and I hope that you continue on your journey of self-acceptance!

    • Julianna,
      I wanted to say that I love your idea of themes for the self-portraits! Masks, mornings, etc. Thank you for opening your mind and putting this out there for the rest of us who are also following along this evolutionary curve.

  3. Pingback: elements of self: the first in self-portrait series « Shakti Mama

  4. Leslie says:

    I think it’s awesome that you accept your beauty and go with it!
    You smile is so warm.
    It’s so nice to meet you. I look forward to learning with you on this 8-week journey!
    (visiting from Shakti Mama)

  5. Rana says:

    I think we all need to embrace our softness and our curves. That’s what makes us real women. Now if only I would listen to my own advice. I love your photos. You have beautiful blue eyes.

  6. sarah says:

    i hope you don’t mind a stranger telling you that you are beautiful – there is such a calmness and strength to your beauty, illustrating that you have been well loved.

    you have a wonderful weblog, i look forward to visiting more.

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