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.

12 comments:

michele said...

Amen, sister! Love your high tops and the attitude!

Zelda Zap said...

Great post! Skinny legs and all.. what a wonderful illustration. I'm sure in this day of people shouting cankle at every turn it's nice to have skinny ankles. Whatever they are.

Your post reminded me of when I was about 13 and one of my mom's friends told me I should have my mom take me to the dermatologist to have the tiny bumps on my upper arms looked at. He daughter has a milder case than me, and they were very upset about it.

But these were tiny unnoticeable bumps on my arms. You had to feel them to notice them! I thought to myself this is it, you have to draw a lint of things you won't care about your body. My eyebrows I hated but I couldn't care less about invisible bumps on my arms! I would never care about them. Because that was going to far. They don't hurt or itch or bother me. Why should I care?

Mom asked me if I wanted to see the doctor about it and I told her no. Years later I found out it's hereditary, keratosis pilaris, and there isn't much you can do about it. It was never worth a second thought.

tanja said...

I don't think I've ever heard of anyone's ankles being too skinny!! Heh heh. Great illustration, kinda skinny and proud, and lovely post.

mb said...

For serious, I heard skinny ankles are the new ironic moustache.

dthaase said...

great style

Dayle's Painted Diary-Dayle Dodwell said...

great direct style. I also felt uncomfortable with the topic of skinny. I didn't like the edge the word has. It is a judgement. great interpretation.

Amy C said...

this is so great and so fun, the colors are super nice and I really like your take on this weeks prompt.

sheree said...

we must've gone to the same school...although not as bad as your experience, my gym school memories have some real gems; and not in a good way. Needless to say, to this day i only like sports like swimming, running, weightlifting; basically stuff that doesn't require 'team members' haha

fantastic sketch!! did you use markers? love those ankles!

Sally Taylor said...

Hey my husband calls his skinny ankles "superhero" ankles. Nice post to go with your illo!

translucentblue said...

Gosh, I love this piece..it's so simple, but really unique. It reminds me of myself as a teenager when I had worn off my red converse and refused to buy a new pair since I loved them so much.

jqline said...

I adore this illustration and the story you share with us! Such a wonderful post! Have a lovely merry happy day and love to you!

jacqueline
http://jqlinesocuteithurts.typepad.com/

Kate England | Marmalade Moon said...

A wonderful story to go with your illustration!