And by photos of me, I mean photos of me ‘in flagrante delicato.’ Photos of us, in bed together. Ok, photos of me. My body. Naked. Very vulnerable.
When I started getting to know my boyfriend Benjamin, he and his wife Mia were happy to share sexy photos with me. They agreed I could share a photo or two with William. He thought that was hot. He also thought it was super sweet. It’s the kind of extra full disclosure polyamory we both prefer to practice. That night before we fell asleep, we had a great talk about how much I was starting to like Benjamin and how excited I was to finally see him in the next week or two.
His mind must have been churning all night, because when we woke up and turned to each other for some morning lovin’ he asked me,
“Where’s your phone?” I handed him the phone and he asked, “Would you like some photos to send to your new friends? I’d really love to take some!”
I laughed, because I knew he also wanted photos for himself, and he blushingly admitted, of course. By now, he was straddling my warm naked body on the bed, his beautiful chest and abs a gorgeous vision. He angled the camera just so, took a few shots, deleted them, tried again. I could tell he had a specific vision for this artistic creation and I just let him work, following directions as needed. He began to kiss me in between the photos and before long photos were forgotten as we moved on to more interesting things. But they were there, recorded on my phone, and waiting for me to view.
Now might be a good time to point out, I am not a size 6. I am more a size 16. William (and Benjamin and Stefan and Alex, Roland- all of the men I’ve dated this past few years) is tall, over 6 feet, and very thin. I often laugh that all my boyfriends and I look like Jack Sprat and his wife.
However, I am more comfortable in my skin than ever before. I have been a size 8 and a size 26. I’m very happy today at this 14/16/18 juncture. But when I saw those pictures, I had to re-evaluate a few things and I learned a few things.
The body parts I hate most, may not be as awful as I think.
The angles of these photos I watched him carefully craft to capture the best angles and create images he loves, were mostly focused on my stomach. My stomach?! Yes, stomach rolls, scars, and all. This was his sexy angle? This was what he lovingly documented for me to send to my new lover? This is how he saw me.
It made me realize, that while I AM comfortable with my own body, I am still uncomfortable with certain parts of me. Why did I feel horrified that he loves my stomach? It’s a big part of me (see what I did there? LOL)
My flabby stomach is part of me and always has been. It’s never been a nice round fat stomach either. I’ve always had a crease right in the middle, even after I lost more than half my body weight. I always felt like it looked messy and I even had liposuction after I lost the weight to try to mitigate it. (It didn’t really work.) But if I think about my stomach now, I realize it makes me soft and vulnerable. It reminds my lovers of a warm safe place. They think I am beautiful both in spite of and because of my figure.
So why don’t I think it’s beautiful too? Interestingly enough, I did send these photos to Benjamin, and he also found them very sexy.
I wasn’t looking in the mirror enough.
How often do we really look at ourselves? Sometimes I realize I looked at myself to quick check my hair or brush my teeth, but what did I see? Did I notice the food in my teeth? Often, I don’t. Do I really know what I look like? Can I recognize the curves of my ass, or the lines of my hips?
After this, I started looking in the mirror more. I consciously started to look at my stomach, my cellulite riddled thighs, and my curvaceous ass. I now regularly turn this way and that, standing naked in the bathroom mirror. I want to see my body and fall in love with it the way he did. I want to feel that same joy in seeing it and knowing it is literally my core. The middle of me, the place my strength comes from. Seeing myself, accepting myself, the way I want to be seen and accepted by others.
It’s ok to take sexy selfies that show the parts I don’t like.
Now when I take selfies, I try to make myself worry less if my belly is showing. I try to show who I am, holistically. I have great large breasts, they make some fabulous selfie photos, for sure. But now I try to be aware of ONLY taking pics of my boobs. Now, I frequently take photos that show all of me, even my stomach. My long legs with their fat thighs. My dimply ass. All of me. I even send those photos to my loves. Belly rolls and all. And guess what?
Every time I send a photo, even ones I feel a bit self-conscious about, I get enthusiastic happy notes back from the men I send them to. But more importantly, I like them. I feel good about myself. Ok, so maybe the truth is I’m working on feeling good about those parts of me that I don’t really love, but it’s also the truth that it is getting easier.