From too young an age, I considered my body a burden —
a clumsy thing to manage. I had endless opportunities to connect with it—gymnastics, dancing, horse-back riding, running, swimming— but I was more interested in making my body work for me than learning how to work with it.
Looking back, I understand I was lacking the necessary skills to process and regulate my emotions, and in the midst of all that mental chaos, my body became a natural punching bag. I know now as an educator, it is normal for humans to crave control as a way of managing stress, and attempting to control my body, its size and shape and urges, became my way of coping.
It led to a lot of shame and self-loathing, and eventually came to a head in late adolescence with an eating disorder. I had lost close to a third of my body weight and teachers were calling home with concern while I was in full denial. I remember my brother physically pulling me in front of a full-length mirror and asking what I saw.
Ten years later, I still sometimes struggle with what I see in the mirror. It's been a long journey learning to view my body through a lens of loving-kindness.
In the early days of my recovery, it was helpful for me to first find beauty and acceptance in the bodies of other women.
As I began photographing, painting, and drawing these women, warm and strong in their exposed state, I began to cultivate compassion toward fat, toward skin unedited and vibrant in all its wrinkles and dimples and marks. I learned to question the one-size version of beauty I had long ago accepted as a standard.
As an artist, I am interested in exploring the naked form in all its nuance and candor. To encourage people to look a little deeper at the vessel that carries them around. To question their assumptions about beauty and the context in which a naked body belongs.