I am 5'7". My anorexic weight was 150 lbs. My largest poundage was 300. As an adult man I have worn a boys size 18 all the way to a waist size larger than my age. I'm 42 years old. At my smallest I would eat one cup of white rice once a day for weeks on end. At my biggest my regular McDonald's order was a large Big Mac Meal with a 6 piece nugget on the side and two pies of whatever variety they had. Not just once in awhile. Regularly.
There has never been a mystery to me about my size. I've been entirely too small and way too large. Neither was healthy either physically or mentally. It was the mental part that took over 4 decades to figure out.
So on this journey I discovered how much the state of my body effects my mentality and emotional health. It's easiest to admit that we damage our bodies because we have emotional problems that aren't being addressed other than by how we punish our physical selves. What keeps the "Chicken or the Egg" hamster wheel spinning is that our body can also be the source of emotional stress that then causes us to further damage ourselves because of how our body makes us feel. Woh. Pause, take a breath.
I began to wonder how I would feel if I accepted that my body is lumpy, too hairy for my liking, I'll always have to contend with skin tags and that my ass is too flat. Not... "what if I just say 'fuck it' and just love myself at any size". At the end of the day I also want to be healthy enough to live a long, happy life. I want to take care of my body so that it won't reject me too early and kick me out before I'm done with it. Let's face it though, there's no way to live in your body the way I have lived in mine and bounce back to an 18 year old skin sack at middle age. Sometimes I'm not sure if my lower belly and inner thighs are a topographical map of a mountainous region or maybe scars from the slash marks of a wild beast. No those are just stretch marks. So no matter how healthy I become, there still be issues.
How I relate to those body issues is all up to me. At this point in my life the choices I make, the life I live and how I take care of myself is entirely up to me.
I choose how I relate to my body. So there are lumps where I don't want them and not enough lumps where I do want them. Laser hair removal is expensive and shaving is a pain in the ass, so.... And I'll be damned if I'm not getting my Dad's nose with the overly large pores and tiny little red veins, no matter what products I use.
So what do I do with all of those things? Do I let them send me on an eating binge? Do I punish myself for those things by denying myself food? Does it make any sense whatsoever to do either of those things? Maybe I just accept that I will never be perfect and let myself off the hook enough to enjoy my life while taking care of me. Maybe?
That's where The Body Project comes from. I know I"m not alone in all the things I just said. I know that most of us feel the same way. So let's take comfort in the fact that we're all neurotic about our bodies, feel shame at times and aren't 100% comfortable in our own skin?
I'm a photographer so I'm approaching the issue visually by literally showing our bodies for what they are, imperfect vessels for imperfect human beings. All bodies, all sizes, colors, ages, genders, etc. The more diversity shown in the collection, the less alone we feel. The fact is that we're not alone and I hope The Body Project helps illuminate that truth.