If you're in Winnipeg sometime between now and the end of OCTOBER 2014 - you should stop in to 419 Graham Avenue. That's the Womens Health Clinic. They asked me if I'd be interested in creating something for their windows that focussed on the theme BODY POSITIVE. They gave me a list of words and the green light to do anything I wanted. They also suggested using a mirror so people could take a selfie. The window setup is perfect for transporting you INSIDE a lightbox type environment and I decided to make it AMAZING. I scripted on the glass (which had its own set of challenges). Script is forward and backward and through multiple layers. When you get in position to take the selfie - you ARE INSIDE THE ART. It's all around you. Behind you, in front of you, over you and almost THROUGH you. I want you to step inside and see how beautiful you are. (Take a selfie, share what you love about your body and share it with the hashtag #HEARTeveryBODY)
The result? I spent about 4 solid days scripting things blindly and in mirror image. WHICH WAS SO MUCH WORK FOR MY BRAIN - I feel like I unlocked a superpower. ;) But seriously, I spent roughly 60 hours thinking about bodies. Mine, my kids, my friends. I thought about the drawer of bathing suits I own but WOULD NEVER WEAR. I thought about c sections and saggy skin. STRETCH MARKS. I thought about the different thoughts I have had about my own body over the years. My small breasts that seemed like a curse when I was young, but a blessing now that I am not so young. I thought about the time when I was a strong fitness instructor. I thought about when I broke my back and didn't know. I thought about pain. I thought about shame. I thought about all the times I didn't go to the beach just because I didn't want to put on a bathing suit. I thought about how three c-sections felt to recover from. I thought about the scars. I thought about my hands. I thought about my hair and how much I struggle with it. I thought about my skin that I never care for. I thought about how SO MUCH of my life has been fighting the body I have instead of loving on what I've got.
STRETCH MARKS ARE PART OF OUR STORIES.
I thought about my kids bodies and how they are so adorable and perfectly them. The "imperfections" are my favourite parts of them. Their fingers. The crooked smiles and the little dimples on either side of the base of their spines. The fact that they are all so different. I love them so much - those girls. And I thought about how broken my heart would be if they hated something about their own bodies.
And then I painted and I painted. I didn't overthink the strokes. I let it pour out. I played. I remembered how incredibly much I love painting. I made ART out of nothing. I made feelings out of nothing. I left it all out there on those windows. It's not perfect, but it's really interesting. I'd love it if you went to take a look and posted a photo and shared a few thoughts about your body feelings.
The message I personally take away from those hours in a glass box scripting things backwards? FORGIVE YOU. BE GENTLE ON YOURSELF. I am grateful for this body and all my imperfections.
I went home and put on one of the many bathing suits I had hoped to wear when I was in better shape.