Our Bodies – Our Souls – Our Selves

Have you ever wondered why our bodies affect how we think of ourselves? 

Or, have you ever wondered who has set the standards for what is right regarding our physical shapes?

I was viewing one of my favourite artists (Rubens) this evening and realized that I identify with his (Rubenesque) voluptuous and lovely, creamy skinned women.

It was a bit of a ‘ah ha’ moment for me.  They’re beautiful.

You see, I’ve struggled with body image and eating disorders my entire life. 

I tend to vacillate between bulimia and anorexic behaviour at any given moment. 

I’m not sure exactly why this started and I don’t have any specific memories other than at a very early age I learned that food was useful.  Useful for both physical and emotional survival.

Through the years, however, I have been thrilled, terrified and disgusted by this thing known as sustenance.  And,  years of looking at magazines filled with emaciated women with hungry eyes has taken its toll.  In a physical, emotional and soulful way.

We  (women) literally and figuratively die for the need and want of beauty and acceptance.

Rubens ideal of the perfect woman is more in line with our worlds reality.  This reminds me of something I saw once.  A picture of a voluptuous doll and the caption below it read something like this: There are only 3 super models in the world, but most women have something to hold on to (I’m paraphrasing of course). 

Is this so bad?

How can we love ourselves again, when faced with advertising, etc .. that tells us (the majority) we’re not okay?

How can we learn to accept eating as a joyful experience and not punishment?

Can we learn to disassociate from the thought process that only perfection holds love? Not only by others but by ourselves?

Stress, emotional turmoil, physical illness and the world have taken their toll on me.  Bringing forth a slew of issues that I am struggling with.  A dear friend recently told me that I was effervescent and more beautiful than a picture could ever hold.  She reminded me that I must be kind to myself and to remember that my body had taken me through so much as of late.  So, that’s exactly what I am trying to do, be kind and confident.  While fighting the negativity of my mind and working towards love instead of fear.

Ladies, it’s time to open ourselves up to the beauty of us. 

To diversity instead of disdain.

Laughter instead of tears.

Health instead of hurt.


Acceptance instead of rejection.

Let’s step into the light together.

4 thoughts on “Our Bodies – Our Souls – Our Selves

  1. I remembered studying Rubens in year 12 art, 4 years after I started struggling with the grasps of bulimia and caught myself thinking that I was fighting against myself to fit into ideals of our society, when Rubens ideals were much more appropriate. Why is it we torture ourselves to please others?

    Brilliant post!! I hope you’re holding your head high, beautiful and keep on fighting!!

  2. I don’t know a single woman who has not struggled with food issues at one point or another in her life, myself included. I will keep you in my prayers as women work to figure out the solution together.

  3. An important, candid, poignant piece of writing, Candy, that I believe will have a deep and positive effect on many people. Or, so it is my hope. You’re extraordinary, Candice, and, the most tender and beautiful woman I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.

  4. Anorexia did in fact exist during the Baroque era, as well. Though current societal beauty standards do present a certain thin ideal, the real driving force behind eating disorders is far more complex than modern beauty definitions…despite what the media would have you believe.

    Still, you’re so right that size should not be a determinant of self-acceptance or happiness. 🙂

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