"Perceive Me" is about my own self esteem, my own body identity, my own self worth, my own hate for my body, for myself. It started out as a way to see myself through the eyes of others. It has become a very multivalent, mercurial undertaking. It is about empowerment and taking back my body from those who are afraid of it. Those who loathe it (including myself). It is about being seen and not hiding behind baggy clothing. It is about being brave, being real, Being authentic, being loved, validation from the artists participating in the project and from the viewer looking at my body on Instagram and in the exhibition. It should be about seeking validation from myself. It should be about me being enough, me loving my body, myself. It should be about body beautiful, body love, is it? It is an ongoing struggle, challenge, fight to see myself, look at myself.
What do I see when I see paintings and photos of me? I see beautiful art. I see shapes and curves and stories and form and content and composition and color. Is that me? Why can't I believe it's me. I have had such great experiences through the whole process of working with the artists who are participating in this project. I have laughed and smiled and almost cried. I have eaten ice cream after every photo shoot or modeling session to fill a void or fill something that was/is missing or lost - in place of a love for myself. Maybe that is it? This void is a lost love for me.
I have done over 30 photo sessions so far. Every one, I have a great time. I move my body to its' limits and smile and pose. Sometimes I feel thin, weightless, beautiful while posing. I don't see myself yet. I feel like a supermodel. Then I see the photos. Again I see the curves, form, shapes, shadows, lines, composition... I see beautiful art. But I don't see me. or rather, I see the real me with an ever growing double chin, stomach, cellulite, fat fat fat. I see heavy. I see the weight of the world. I see pain. I see exhaustion. I see sadness. My inner supermodel and outer fat woman don't meet up... yet.
Where do we go from here? I don't really have any expectations for this project. I am sharing my personal story of a fat woman struggling in our society to live amongst ideal body types, eating disorders, advertising, keto diets, starvation, #firstworldproblems, plastic surgery, yo-yo's, rollar coasters, flights of stairs, marathon runners, yoga... ice cream.
My hope is that talking about my struggles will help others as well as myself. Sharing my story, my body, my fatness... will be a guide to others that they are not alone.
Writing about the work, the project, is a way for me to process it all. I don't know what it means.