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  • madisonrose225

“Sanctuary of Shame”

One of my first impactful memories of body shame was when I went to a friend’s house to swim in her pool. I was probably 8? My friend’s mother told me I shouldn’t be wearing a two piece suit because it was too revealing.

I remember being so confused. I was in their fenced backyard, just swimming with my friend, I didn’t understand why I should be covering my body to go swimming. Who was I revealing my body to? Was there something I should be afraid of that I didn’t know about? Were people looking at my body and judging it? Should I not be allowed the space to be myself even around my close friend? And over time I thought about it, and thought about it, and began to feel uncomfortable with my skin out, like my skin was not a safe place to be in, like my skin was something to be ashamed about, like I couldn’t hide in my shell because my shell was my skin and my skin was not okay to be in..oh, the rabbit hole of self consciousness starting early.

I imagine we all have had these early experiences as women, because I can’t really think of anyone I grew up alongside who didn’t think of their skin as some kind of poisonous suit. A suit of shame, of lust, a vehicle to get what is wanted in the moment, or that lures something unwanted. None of these feelings towards the female body are good ones. And yet, that’s what a majority of us grew up believing about ourselves, and other women.

I wish women could feel unashamed of their skin, not afraid to be in it, to just accept it and feel beautiful and free in it. That is why I drew this woman so open in her pose. She is confident in the skin she was gifted from Mother Nature, she is not afraid of its bountiful beauty, she is in her full bloom. Her body becomes one with the landscape of wildflowers. I chose to depict Death Valley’s rare super-bloom, because it is a phenomenal experience that can only occur under perfect conditions. A woman will bloom when given the right space.

Let’s be conscious of our words when we speak of another woman. Let’s empower women with those words and those thoughts, rather than belittle and shame them. Society finds ways to persuade women to think small of themselves. Let’s recognize those negative connotations ingrained into our heads by society and cut all ties with them, finding love in yourself FOR yourself and others. Let’s find our sanctuary to replace our shame.

And so I open up the discussion to you;

Is there an early memory or experience you’ve had as a woman that’s shaped how you feel about yourself now? Whether that memory is a positive or negative one, this is a safe space to share, and you can leave it here in the comment section or email me privately if you prefer. It may be a satisfying way to let go of a thought you are hanging onto!

{This series of work, titled Being Woman, is a part of my own healing process. As I gather my personal thoughts and experiences as a woman, I hope to offer an inviting means of inner exploration and realized strength in other women as well. Being Woman is a visual journey, and a celebration of our divine connectivity with Mother Nature. Its inspiration was sparked by what I hope to impart on my daughter about coming into her own someday.}


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