A nude woman takes photos of her own body

Taking Nudes to Reconnect with My Body

Endometriosis has left literal scars on my body. My belly is pockmarked with evidence of various laparoscopies, my hysterectomy, and two C-sections, as well as stretch marks because of two pregnancies. I do not fit the ideal of the fit 40-something woman society wants me to be. Not in the least. Couple that with the years of endometriosis eroding any body positivity I might have had, and you have a recipe that makes it hard for me to love my body, let alone find it beautiful.

Reclaiming my body

I’ve written before about how I’ve started reclaiming my body by getting my nipples pierced. I’m still very happy with that decision. But that, in itself, isn’t enough to make me love my body again. I needed something more radical. And so, in a move completely out of character for me, I’ve started taking nude pictures of myself.

Taking nudes, especially when you don’t like the look of your body, is daunting. I hated the first pictures I took. I don’t share them with anyone, not even my husband, so I didn’t have to worry about what other people thought of them. They were just for myself, to get a better self image. To be honest, I didn’t start completely nude. In the first pictures, I wore a bra and panties. Nice ones, but they still covered up some of my body, although leaving the part I really hated, my belly, exposed.

I forced myself to really look at the pictures, even if I hated it at first. But after a while, a funny thing happened. I started to look at myself with different eyes. Yes, the scars and stretch marks were still there. Taking nudes didn’t magically make my skin smooth and taut. That wasn’t the point of taking them anyhow. The point was to see my body for what it was and to start loving it.

Appreciating my strength

I’ve been taking nudes for almost a year now. I don’t save all of them. I sometimes use filters, even though that kind of defeats the purpose of taking the pictures. I’m able to look at my naked body now without shuddering or immediately having negative thoughts. I can see my body with what it is: amazingly strong, having endure so much pain and ravage, and still able to keep going.

My scars and stretch marks, which I could barely look at a year ago, have now become marks of strength and endurance. The stretch marks remind me that I was able to have two pregnancies. The scars from my hysterectomy tell me that I’ve taken action against the endometriosis, even if it’s not completely gone.

Taking nudes is not for everyone, but even taking a good look at yourself in a full-length mirror, admiring what you see and thanking your body for its strength will do wonders for your self-image. The media wants us to believe that only skinny, fit bodies are worth celebrating, but they are wrong. All bodies are worth celebrating, and those who’ve had to deal with endometriosis doubly so.

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