We all need to love and respect our bodies. In the end, it is our bodies that give us the platform to live and perform at our best in this world. A body full of energy is still one of our goals in these days of fast food, lack of sleep and not much moving around. Also, the concept that we need all be ‘the same’ as the prototype that the magazines sell “skinny, white, young” … Am I wrong? The other day I watched a video on Youtube talking about it and showing A+B that what I am saying seems to be true.
As a wheelchair user, I will tell you my experience and things I do to love not only my body but also myself. When we are disabled sometimes the lack of feeling in a limb or limbs make us ignore that part of our body.
Firstly, many times I tend to ignore my leg that I don’t feel as a result of my spinal cord injury, so what I do is I try to pay attention to it. As you probably know right now I love to have a bath every day (when its possible) and there I will massage, soap, and try somehow to interact with that leg. I also like to have a massage and I know budgets can be tight sometimes and massage is not the cheapest thing in the world, but you can offer a shared massage. You massage someone and they do it back, as a friend, a partner, your mum etc… It is also a nice way to be in contact with other people.
I know my leg is thin and it bothers me sometimes, but there nothing I can do, apart from to try to move it as much I can. I do look at myself in the mirror and I say in a loud voice, ‘I love you, I respect you and I will do all I can for you to have a good and long life. I love you! I look straight into my eyes and also at my legs, making the point that they are part of me and I love them the way they are. Another form of showing love is caring, so I try to move my legs as much as I can so they will have the amount of exercise that they need as I am always in moving but most of the time my legs are static. Cycling, swimming and yoga are activities that I can do to make sure my legs are “alive”.
It is a fact that our legs will get thin unless we move them or you have spasms etc. I always thought with me it won’t happen to me, but it did, and it will keep doing. Calcium is another important point, mainly if you are a woman and after the age of 40 let’s say calcium levels go down considerably. I have calcium supplements and Vitamin D too as London is not the sunniest city in the world. There is not often the opportunity to sunbathe. Things I do in general is to have a nightly routine, where I apply my creams, light a nice candle and burn some oil to relax and enjoy myself with a nice cup tea or occasionally a glass of wine (why not) or a drink of your preference. I also love Kombucha as you probably know too.
I like to have this 10 minutes before going to bed to “meditate” (pray) and be in contact with my inner self and I try to remember that this life, after all, is a play and we won’t be here for long. So I don’t judge myself and try to understand that everyone is on their own path trying to be happy some how. So laugh and enjoying the moment is a must do every day.
These are only a few things I do but if you like to know more about my self-care and how I build my confidence let me know in the comments and I will write another article for you.
In a world where everyone is running after perfection, it becomes difficult for many people to have a scar on their body. With high demands for perfection in women these days, having scars can lead to an inferiority complex in them, making them feel worthless and want to hide their scars. They start avoiding the crowd and feel insecure in public. They lose all sources of empowerment. A person’s physical health can very strongly affect his/her mental health is something the society needs to understand. It can affect their everyday working and routine and can be strong enough to destroy their relationships.
Behind the scars is a project on which Sophie Mayanne started working in April this year. It started as an editorial for Petrie Inventory in August 2016. Even as a child, Sophie was always fascinated by what made us all different from each other, and she started getting interested in peoples scars. She believed them all to be different, a part of peoples identity and a mark that differentiates them from all others. Sophie took this project as a platform to share her view of “more natural, more real.”
Her work has gained a lot of appreciation and acceptance from people around the world. It has given many people the courage to show their scars for the first time in public and to accept them. Many people now contact her to be photographed and be a part of the project.
One should have no shame in themselves. Scars are a part of our body, they define us, our past and tell our story. Our scars should be the celebration of our lives to understand that we went through something and made it through alive. They tell the world about our fight and our struggles, about the storms we have faced in our life, what our history tells us and how we succeeded. It shows how we didn’t give up in a stressful condition. It shows that we are happy and we should be happy and at peace with our own body.
Sharing our scars with others helps others realise that it’s not something uncommon. It’s a part of being human. It gives them courage. It might help them help themselves. As, many people undergo mastectomy for breast cancer, after which many of them take years to get along with their routine life. While they should understand that their scars show their fight, it shows their success. They should be proud of it. We should stop criticising other people on their physical appearance, help them face it and shouldn’t make them feel alienated. We should come out of that falsely created sense of perfection, created by the fashion industry, film industries, and social media and accept the realities of people around us.
We can accept others and their difference only after we have accepted our differences and appearances. And as women, for others to accept us and respect us as we are, we need to respect ourselves first, which includes our scars. We need to take pride in them because, like many other things, they define us and serves as a marker of who we are.
Take a look at my youtube channel with all the making of my pictures as part of this project.
The ‘Behind the Scars’ project continues to grow. There will soon be a photo shoot in New York. In London, I gave an interview for Channel 4 and I would love to share with you some of the stories and behind the scenes action. The photographer Sophie Mayanne does not alter the photos in post-production.
It was great to be involved in this initiative alongside Kelly Jackson, Deborah James and Michele Elman all of whom appear in the video. Kelly sums up her feelings by saying ‘I just want to show other people that it is not something to be ashamed of or embarrassed by.’
As Michele said ‘I would love to see a scarred princess,’ as scars are normally associated with villains. Thanks to Sophie for such an exciting initiative…’scarred not scared.’
You can follow all of us on Instagram: Deborah James (@bowelbabe), Michele Elman (@scarrednotscared), Kelly Jackson (@kellys_smile), Sophie Mayanne (@sophiemayanne & @behindthescars_) & Samanta Bullock (@samabullock).
If you had a scar would you consider to take pictures like these?