Letting go of perceptions of my body that aren't my own

Letting go of perceptions of my body that aren't my own

When I was approached by fortnight lingerie to do a blog feature and photo shoot, I said yes immediately. Collaborating with other women from the city is my thing. This is a Toronto based business started and run by a woman. I wanted to support it and to be affiliated with it.

I have to admit though that the idea of being photographed in lingerie absolutely terrified me. 

Since I can remember I've been made fun of for being "too thin." I remember being called skeletor in high school. A name that was devastating at the time but kind of funny now.

People throughout my life have felt comfortable to comment openly on my weight.

A few examples being "you're too skinny" "do you eat?" "eat a cheeseburger" and my all time favourite from a hurt ex lover "you have the body of a 12 year old and no one will ever love you." 
For a long time I internalized people's dramatic reactions and exclamations that I'm "SO skinny." People seemed to feel the need to say it aloud.

It made me feel that my appearance was shocking. That I wasn't normal, that I looked abnormal.

This has been a difficult idea to let go of. I've often thought of myself as appearing unhealthy or frail. This was hard to reconcile with the idea of myself I held of being strong and vibrant. 
I did an inventory at one point of all of these comments I was holding onto, all of these perceptions of my body that aren't my own. I made a conscious choice to let them go.

It's been a process. It takes constant effort to make sure that the way I talk to my body when I see its reflection in a mirror or a photograph is kind. I try to speak to myself how I would my own child, in a way that will bolster their sense of self and create a budding sense of self respect. 
Today more than ever I feel I am beginning to be comfortable in my own skin. Beyond the physicality of it, I believe this is a product of my life's content being in alignment with my values.

Finally my days are filled with connecting and inspiring and in turn feeling both connected and inspired, all I've ever wanted.
Up until my Fortnight shoot, I had never worn a bra without padding. It took a bit of mental preparation that not only would by true boob size be emphasized but on display through lasting photographs.

More than anything, during and after this shoot, I felt liberated.

The thought of putting an uncomfortable padded bra with underwire on now feels like a pain. Why create the illusion? This is what I'm working with. Embracing it has felt hugely liberating. The size of my breasts isn't what makes me sexy. It's that I finally believe it. 
Working with the photographer Scarlet was magical. We were literally playing. Having fun, laughing, listening to music and creating memories.

Maybe I'll burn my padded bras, thank you fortnight. I can guarantee next time I see my grandfather he'll tell me I look skinnier than the last time and that soon I'll disappear, I can also guarantee I won't care. 

Alyssa is the CEO & Founder of easy. You can check out her feature on the Fortnight blog. The photographer who made this happen is Scarlet O'Neil.
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