My First Body Positive Performance Art Experience/ Practical Body Love Advice
Booty booty booty rocking everywhere! What do all of these lovely booties have in common? We're all nude, plus size, and experiencing our first performance piece together with body painter Trina Merry.
Now, before we get started in on the day, let me say that performance art.... can be a little over my head. This piece was less stuffy, and a lot more fun than many pieces I've seen, although silly in some aspects. The idea behind the piece was to paint a bunch of plus size bodies into a "tableau vivant," aka French for living picture, which in art history, has been shrouded in beauty standards, chastity, and other ideas thrust upon women at whatever time the painting occurred.
Bella B and Me, one of my besties, and podcast co-host <3
So we remixed it... Literally... Sir Mixalot was included in the final performance where we all took turns bashing a piñata filled with candy in a star shape with beauty standards on the front (36-24-26). We also started the performance by walking around the room backwards, stressfully staring at ourselves in the mirror, as many women do when they look at themselves and don't like what they see.
The day started out like many others. We arrived at noon, and started stretching and chugging water. You wouldn't think it would be a challenge, but standing still for that long is kind of like an intense yoga class where you hold the poses for a few hours; everything starts to hurt.
Each of us took between 1.5- 2.5 hours to paint. I got to go first, hehe, which meant I had to pee first, but that I also got to eat pizza first. I do have a photo of me trying to squat in a way that wouldn't ruin my body paint, but that might be a bit too ridiculous, even for MY blog.
There was no AC in the building, so the thigh sweat started and didn't stop. By the end of the performance you could see that all of our armpits had turned a grey mishmash of all of the colors (haha).
For many of us, it was incredibly liberating to be nude (in body paint) in public, and to feel ok with it. The best analogy I can use to describe how I feel about this now, is that I opened the floodgates, and now that they're open, they don't really close. Eventually, it becomes less of a big deal. I still have triggers and days where the gates start to shake on their own, but most of the time, the water is going to keep flowing, no matter how my mood is.
I ripped off the bandaid, and now each subsequent time I'm scantily clad in public, I care less and less, and feel more and more free. If you had told me this 70 lbs ago, when I was eating one salad a day and wearing giant clothing to hide my body, I would've never believed it was possible.
But it is.
So how do you start along this path of not giving a shit? Acceptance (not necessarily love), and tiny steps in the right direction.
I talk about acceptance a lot, because I think that with any process, the majority of the time is spent feeling "fine," and maybe slightly exasperated, but fine with whatever is going on. If you can get to this stage, you've already won. Most people who have learned to love themselves are not overcome with joy at every moment... even most days. They just accept where they are, and sometimes that brings contentment, every once in a while joy, and mostly the daily "ok...it is what it is."
It doesn't mean you're not frequently unhappy... it means that you've caught yourself in the downward spiral of self hate, and you're learning to be ok with it, no matter what is going on that day. Sighing, and saying "it is what it is," and then continuing on with your life. That is the goal, if, like me, you've spent days, weeks, and years in spirals of self doubt and self hatred, possibly unable to do things like wear a bikini in public.
So how do you get to that stage if you're not there yet?
Do you have a shirt that's a little too short, and slightly terrifying to wear in public? Wear it to the store for 30 minutes and take it off: realize that you're ok, you WILL survive no matter what. And then give yourself a HUGE FUCKING PAT ON THE BACK because you just put money in your self love bank, and you can't ever remove it.
Rinse, and repeat. Keep challenging yourself. And then you know what? You'll be in that bikini in no time.