Thursday, November 5, 2009
Illustration Friday: Skinny
At first I was a little put off by this week's Illustration Friday topic, but part of the challenge in doing an IF post is finding a way to make the topic work for you. I tried everything to avoid 'skinny' as an adjective to describe one's physical appearance. There is so much judgment about one's shape, size, weight and blah de blah blah I just didn't want to go there. I truly believe you've gotta rock what you've got, and if you do then you'll inspire others do the same. Simple as that.
In thinking about this loaded word, I kept coming back to an experience I had in 6th grade. I had an awful gym teacher who one day took the girls one by one in front of the group and gave them a full body critique - head to toe. Just writing about it makes my heart beat fast. It was horrible - like something you'd see in one of those ABC After School Specials (except she never got fired, and she still teaches gym in my hometown). And come to think of it, none of us saw anything wrong with it at the time even though there were more than a few girls in tears at the end of class. Awful.
Anyhow part of my 'critique' - among other things - was that my ankles were too skinny and that I should wear bulkier socks to cover them up. I thought the idea was totally bogus at the time, and didn't heed her messed up 'advice'. But it still got to me at some level, because for quite a few years I was sensitive about the skinny ankles that have been in my family for generations.
I thought of that teacher today as I laced up my Chucks tighter and tighter to go to my studio. I'm pretty sure some great-great-great grandmother of mine walked off a ship from Europe onto North American soil for the first time on a pair of similarly skinny ankles. So really, if it weren't for those ankles…I wouldn't be here, wearing my favorite lace ups, going to a studio to make art, writing on this blog. I feel so happy to be in a place where I can truly appreciate what I have. If that is what getting older is all about then, hallelujah - bring it on, "middle age". It is about freaking time. Next time you start giving yourself a full body critique in front of a mirror, just stop. Don't let that 6th grade gym teacher's voice win. Take a deep breath and know you're perfect just the way you are, right now.