Thursday, 4 February 2010

Body Issues

I went to my spa the other day, and had a lovely time, apart from one little incident. I was saddened to see a young woman (very early twenties) with what pretty much anyone would consider to be a "nice" body. Slimmish, though not skinny (not that there's anything wrong with skinny), nice chest, nice bum, wearing shorts over her bikini. She was obviously not comfortable enough in her own skin to just wear bikini bottoms in that environment. And I really did think that was sad. What sort of society do we live in where young women, even those who by any "accepted" standard would be considered very attractive, are too insecure to "expose" their body in what is actually a surprisingly forgiving environment, with all shapes and sizes on display?
Well, I know the answer: a society that strives for perfection in everything to do with looks, for women, and increasingly for men. If you read too many papers and watch too much television, or rather pay too much attention to what they say, you will spend your life striving for a body ideal that is suitable for only a very few people.
Of course, I have no right to criticise. I have my own share of body issues, and to be frank, they are justified, as I'm fat, and need to be less fat. On the other hand, I long ago learnt not to aspire to "conventional" standards of beauty, as I'm never going to be slender - it's just not in my genes. Coming from hearty country stock I would always be a "big" girl even if I was not overweight.
Let's move on though, as this is not supposed to be my issues, but about the confidence I've gained over the past couple of years. The spanking scene, on the whole, seems fairly open and accepting of all sorts of body shapes. Or possibly I've just been very lucky with the group of people I've met. What their acceptance has given me is the ability to become more at ease with my unclothed, or partly clothed body.
When I started this, even baring my bum was a little traumatic. In front of one person. Then I started going to events like Lowewood where we all got undressed together, something which I'd only really done under a towel in other communal changing situations before. Also, I was being spanked in front of other people, having my knickers pulled down. And so it grew, via parties where I danced around in my underwear, to the extent that a couple of weeks ago I not only *totally* undressed in front of two tops, but then ran through the house completely naked to show the remaining girls the stripes on my bum and thighs. Of course, one of the reasons for that complete lack of inhibition was because I was on a high, but even so, that was a big first.

So yes, like most women, (and probably a lot of men) I have body issues. But, through the generally non-judgemental nature of our community, I have gained a huge amount of confidence over the past few months, and even learnt, that, god forbid, some people actually *like* bigger girls. Here's to many more years to come of running around naked!


Indy said...

Oh, this is a wonderful post, Eliane. Not least because it saves me the trouble of writing a similar one! Well, except for the parts about dancing around in my underwear and running around the house naked after being strapped on my front by not one but two tops...

I'm always a little amazed when people say they find the spanking/BDSM communities to be more hung up on looks than the general public, as my experience has been the opposite. It's funny that I am more comfortable with my body now than I was back when I was younger and much fitter. And being comfortable in your own clothes (or without them, as the case may be) is attractive all by itself.

Mija said...

Bravo for an excellent post. So few of us ever get to any sort of body image comfort level.

I think in part it's an age thing. I could weep sometimes remembering my discomfort in my own skin at the age of 17 when I had a well muscled, young beach volleyball tanned body and yet was too inhibited about my perceived fat waist to take my shirt off when swimming a friend's pool. I want to shake that self and tell her she looks great -- the best she'll ever look in her life. But as she was already depressed and had an eating disorder, maybe it's best that I can't.

About 10 years ago I had some serious health problems that took a while to resolve. In the process I made a choice to cut my body some slack and be happy that it was doing as well as it could. I'm 42 and right here, right now, this is what I am and what my body looks like. If I don't look right to someone else, that's fine.

I bet you looked great dancing in your scanties. :D

Natty said...

Hehe, Indy and I have had this discussion via email so of course we'd both comment on this (great) post! ;-)

While I have not had the opportunity to dance naked in front of others, playing with other spankos has definitely left me far more comfortable in my skin and abundant adipose tissue than I ever was before. And when they see my big fat ass, I'm more likely to hear "all the more to spank" than horror and dismay.

Glad to hear your experience has been similar as the world needs more of us who feel comfortable dancing naked in our big bodies. :-)

Graham said...

You should send that girl to an Eastern European sauna, where total nudity is required. Five minutes in such a place does wonders for the body image!

Thanks for writing this. I'm highly supportive of all this underwear dancing and self-confidence.

littlenic said...

Firstly, I'm saddened too, because as you say that place in particular is very accepting of all shapes and sizes (viz. me in a swimming costume!).

Secondly, couldn't agree more heartily that the BDSM scene (I don't know the spanking one) is incredibly accepting of all sizes, and I've gained so much confidence in my shape and size, whilst still knowing that I want to change it.

I'll admit, I still have internal quibbles when my chap tells me I have a lovely bottom - but then I think, well, he wouldn't cane it so hard if he didn't like it ;-). I do still have body image issues - but I never let them show, in word or deed. That would be tiresome for all concerned, and spoil a life of much enjoyment.

I know what you mean about changing at Lowewood etc, and I think the way all the girls are always really complimentary about each other helps immensely. We're all very lucky, I think, to be experiencing all these different supportive environments.

Though, I did wonder - maybe she had shorts on because she's covering up stripes and bruises? ;-)

Scarlett De Winter said...

I totally agree that the scene tends to be super accepting of all shapes and sizes, which kind of suprised me to start with. When I was younger, like, year eleven, I was, maybe a dress size bigger than I am, so a 14, and public school boys constantly called me fat and took the piss, they wouldn't even consider having a platonic relationship because I was the only one without long blonde hair, abs and legs that are pencil width all the way up. It's infuriating. I see those guys around sometimes and even now that I'm a size twelve and I know that I'm not fat, I still feel myself wanting to hide. It's not fair that anyone has the ability to make us feel like we're not good enough because of how we look, but I guess you just have to try and find strenght in that.

Haron said...

Well, you do look very fetching running around with nothing on but fresh stripes ;)

Rebecca said...

Sigh, it is sad isn't it? I have memories of size ten friends at uni pinching their fat and complaining about how huge they were. I can remember doing the same. We weren't that shy though - and generally known for the shortness of our skirts!

Am very sad that I missed your stripes though xx

EmmaJane said...

Great post sweetie

Hmmm I do seem to be have present for most of your instances of naked or partial nakedness and it was very lovely to behold :)

But seriously I have found myself far more confident about my body since I've been in the scene. Maybe it's cos I know that the people I play with are not just interested in my looks or my body. I know they genuinely want me for me. And it's very refreshing.

Hmmm I may just have to continue this on my blog. Drat!

Sarah said...

A lovely post, reading how far you've come makes me realise that there is hope for me yet, thank you :) x

catherine said...

I'm shocked! Nobody seems to have considered that maybe the lass in the shorts wasn't uncomfortable about her body at all, just uncomfortable with showing the world (and having to explain) the cane stripes her boyfriend had planted on her bottom the night before... ;)