Through our large network we always get to know great people, including Michelle Stevens from the USA. A young woman with exciting views on life and body images, which we want to share with you here. Michelle, herself having achondrolasia, has been dealing with currently prevailing body images for quite some time, of course in relation to her own body. She is looking for answers, whether in nude drawing or in documenting other female little people and their attitudes towards body and life, and always finds what makes a positive attitude. Really great!
In our blog we want to contribute to more visibility in the media for people with dwarfism. Michelle's article deals with a very personal topic, namely the relationship to one's own body. Do you also have something to say about inclusion, disability or lifestyle? Just write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or even on Facebook or Instagram!
Where I’m from, I am often greeted with a wave, or a handshake, and sometimes even a hug. It’s a great way to say hello and good bye. I consider my body a blessing and a sacred gift from my parents. I try to love, respect, and accept my appearance and the things I am capable of even though I’m not perfect.
I feel at one with my body and I appreciate the ways in which it allows me to express myself. I love my smile. I love my full lips, and my beautiful eyes, especially my eyelashes. My eyes often express how I’m really feeling. I love that they light up when I am happy, and that they allow me to cry when I’m sad. I’ve learned to love almost every single part of my body, for what it is. I love that it allows me to communicate and show love.
»Loving something isn’t always easy, but I love my body every day. I try not to be obsessed or overly concerned with the way that I look, though I do often experience anxiety when it comes to this especially in terms of dating.«
Loving something isn’t always easy, but I love my body every day. I try not to be obsessed or overly concerned with the way that I look, though I do often experience anxiety when it comes to this especially in terms of dating. I often have wished I had straighter legs, partly for aesthetic reasons, and partly for mobility. I’ve wished I didn’t grow hair on my legs or that my thighs were skinnier. I haven’t always loved my nose either, but I’m over wishing parts of myself away. I’ve always wondered where the line is between art and drawings and unrealistic body expectations for women. What’s the difference between an extremely detailed drawing or painting of a woman’s body vs. a photograph? And when does it cease to be art and start to become something else? At what point do we start to objectify ourselves and others?
One thing that has helped me with my body image is participating in embodying and empowering activities such as swimming and figure drawing, both as a model and an artist. Drawing from life has also helped me by providing a safe space for me to explore my relationship with my own body and how I look by challenging unrealistic beauty ideals and presenting the natural human form through art. We are all human beings who come in a variety of different shape, sizes, and colors.
»One thing that has helped me with my body image is participating in embodying and empowering activities such as swimming and figure drawing, both as a model and an artist.«
I want to be someone who puts good things in their body, and takes care of it, but it can be hard sometimes. I struggle to attend to my most basic needs such as drinking enough water, getting adequate amounts of sleep, and eating healthy. Freedom and self respect comes with saying no to things that I know will not make me happy in the long run. It comes from respecting myself to accept nothing less than the love that I deserve and knowing when to walk away from something that is bad for me and my heart, soul, or body. My body never lies. I have learned to always trust it. If something hurts, that means it needs attention. Or if I’m afraid, my heart starts beating faster and pumping more blood to my muscles, and it means I might be in danger. I love my body unconditionally, and as such, I want to take care of it by eating nutritious food and getting a reasonable amount of exercise. I’m not only thankful for what my body looks like, but also what it can do and honor those talents. I’m trying to be more aware of my needs every day. I want to become better informed and take advantage of unlimited opportunities to educate myself. I have a responsibility to make an effort to change for the better and stand up for myself and my values, so that I can help others appreciate and accept who they are as well.