I have been very fortunate in my life to love the skin I live in… by being half Canadian and half Filipino I have a nice olive skin colour all year round but it does go a lot lighter in winter months. Living in Australia I have to wear 50 SPF to protect my skin from sun damage. As it can burn very easy in the Aussie sun. But nonetheless, I have always had nice smooth soft skin even though I don’t have a very good skin routine. I just use soap and water… oh and coconut oil as body lotion if I remember. My skin does get very dry… but I am useless at maintaining it.
I have 3 birthmarks…
1. On my neck that looks like a hickey (people would tease me when I was little)
2. A thumbprint on my left hip bone
3. A little one on my left side torso
I have never been self-conscious of them as I felt like they were like a natural tattoo. Speaking of tattoos… I don’t have any. Which I am told as a yogi that is unusual. But I have never really been a fan of tattoos. As artsy as I am… I never could think of permanently marking myself with something as I would probably just get bored with it. I like my skin to be natural. I have enough freckles on my skin I’m sure you could connect the dots and find some constellation on it. But I know not a lot of people don’t feel the same way as I do and are actually really uncomfortable with the skin they were born with.
I don’t know why I felt a bit nervous to share this photo of me… (ABOVE)
I love the photo so much but a part of hesitated because it would showcase my cheeky bum and my stretch marks!!!
When I felt that hesitated to come up inside me… I had to ask myself well WHY?
The answer came through as …it’s not flawless skin…
Our society doesn’t really showcase skin like this on the cover of magazines like I have mocked up for your viewing pleasure. We don’t have a great representation of body marks being showcased in print media as deemed beautiful even though the MAJORITY of us women have stretch marks somewhere on our bodies.
What happens is photographer airbrush skin marks to showcase smooth skin… now being a photographer I know how to edit this photo to showcase I do have smooth skin but I know it wouldn’t be my truth.
In the past, I have had many clients and friends ask me to edit and smooth out the skin before publishing or completely REFUSE to allow an image to be posted or seen because they don’t like the way they look.
As a photographer, it’s so dishearting to hear this because what they are truly saying is that they really don’t like the way they look. Now I get not all angels are flattering… but the majority of photos most people are so critical of themselves…. due to this lack of feeling good based on what they look like. They always seem to find flaws…why?
Well, we usually turn to social media like Pinterest or magazine covers to get INSPIRATION from… but all the inspiration we look at is edited with flawless looking skin… so how are we ever going to feel inspired to showcase our body marks with confidence when the majority is always EDITED out!
I did edit the photo to be moodier looking but no “touch-ups” were done to my skin. You can still see the lines on my legs and back from when I was sitting on the chair. If not my marks are enhanced in the edit (see below photo)
You know the saying “love the skin your in” well I think it’s brilliant.
But I don’t think many of us live by it… I think a major part of it is because we don’t have positive reinforcement that showcasing your skin with all body marks, lines included are deemed beautiful. We are constantly trying to alter our image… today through filters on our social media platforms.
Now don’t get me wrong I love a good filter to help me give glowing look on days I feel and look tried. But it’s also part of the art of photography to editing images, especially with technology today. Back in the day with the film we wouldn’t be able to get away with half of the stuff we do in photography today. One-shot was all you got to make sure you got the right angle, look, skin touched up prior and smile.
As much as we move forward in our society view on what is deemed beautiful… we still take a few steps back.
We need to find a healthy balance in our print media and social media showcasing the truth about what our skin looks like. I believe we can achieve beautiful imagery with our birthmarks, stretch marks and freckles on our skin. They should be celebrated verse edited or lasered.
Even the angle of my neck with the double chin would also probably bothersome as that is also another no no to showcase on a magazine cover…. but I just love my big smile.
After all, this nonsense when through my head…
I decided to sit down and write this post and share it with you because I don’t have anything to be nervous about… this is my body and I really do love it… I will admit I do get judgemental thoughts to go through my mind just like everyone else does.
But by not sharing this with you all would be a shame because my judgemental thoughts would be winning… controlling me to think that people don’t want to see stretch marks on magazines or in blog posts.
But deep down…. I heard myself say “F*&K THAT” I want to be winning….me, Kim, the person, the body, the soul and mind that I have right now… all of me… wants to be winning…. and by winning I mean feel the very best about myself. Because if I don’t love me… then why should anyone else… even Tony.
Tony always tells me he loves me and I should never feel ashamed about my body whenever I voice my insecurities about it. But still, Tony’s opinion is not enough… I need to love me more than he does. His love for me is just a bonus… a nice perk in life.
Now when something makes me nervous I now know that it’s important to share… how do I know that … because I am not really nervous about what I think… but what YOU think about me.
I think we can all raise our hands and admit to this!
We stop ourselves from doing things because we are too worried about what other people may think.
My message to you is recognizing when this kind of stuff comes up in the mind and choose the voice that’s a little bit quieter… be brave and showcase your body marks unedited… or maybe just notice that these thoughts of judgment and nervousness is fear… fear of others not accepting us fully… even though they probably do.
What’s even worse than other people’s opinions… is OUR OWN OPINION not accepting ourselves for who we are truly.
Now, this is a true crime we place not just on our bodies like I use in this example but also our souls.
It’s important to remember that there were moments in your life when you were a child that we didn’t care so much about these kinds of things and all you want to do is just play and have fun in life.
So there is a part of you deep within you that still has that playfulness and carelessness… reach deep and showcase it a little bit more… because we are all beautiful beings that are just all different colours, shapes and sizes… but that’s what makes us unique.
So why is this important well… since becoming a yogi and making yoga part of my DAILY lifestyle…
I have managed to make my “quiet voice” louder in my mind… how?
When I practice yoga asana (physical) …
I not only see my body but also feel it and discover how I am able to move it and not move it. I am able to listen to that quiet voice inside my mind when it tells me;
“I have stretched far enough…don’t go deeper”
“my body is sore in my lower back…maybe I should book a massage”
When I practice yoga meditation…
I not only start to notice all my thoughts that go through my mind but I also learn how to quiet them all but also clean out the ones that no longer important. Sounds a crazy… yes… but we can all re-wire our minds if we practice first noticing our thoughts.
My yoga practice has made me love all of me….including any kind of mark that appears on my body. My practice gives me the courage to share my truth to all of you… regardless of my hesitation and fear. It inspires me to be more authentic and true to create awareness that we are not alone in theses mind battles we go through daily about body image. I will create more content that showcases my birthmarks and stretch marks to be the change I want to see.
I guess my hope by sharing this is that more media will start to showcase the average body skin type and to stop deeming body marks as flaws but celebrate them as women’s bodies changing and growing and it’s a natural part of the life’s cycle.
Photos: Nusa Penida July 24, 2019 (the day after we got engaged) Wearing Spell Bikini