Monday, November 21, 2011

beautiful you

a daily guide to Radical Self-Acceptance by Rosie Molinary, and Good Porn; a women's guide by Erika Lust. Two books I purchased at The Concordia Solidarity Coop Bookstore in Montreal. They were next to mine on a display, someone paired the books in a way that I only had to look at one wall to find books I needed to have. Instead of getting overwhelmed with possibilities as I normally do when I walk into a bookstore. 
I am back home from three months away of adventures, great times, wonderful experiences but I was eager to return to my home. Now that I am here, I feel a little lost. Turns out  Beautiful you is a journal guide. I need a guide. So here it goes.

What are my hopes for myself personally and the world with regard to body image and beauty perception?

I want safety and security, a world of nurture. Through my self discovery of myself, and working in the helping profession; those in the most pain are the ones who dont have safety and security. Someone who has experienced trauma evoked on them from another will have difficulty trusting and bonding. Someone thinks they are ugly, likely heard that from someone else. The yelling and fighting of neighbours through the paper thin walls eventually affects your feelings of safely. If the individuals of this world would spend as much time nurturing as they do criticizing, the world as we know it would change. It often takes misadventures, war, natural disasters and death for communities to join together and nuture. How about we join together and create beauty just for the sake of it. Not just those hippies and their patchouli infused hugs, but everyone. For when one can learn to feel safe is when they can truly love themselves. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The beauty of women in their vulnerability and strength

is really what I find most beautiful about you. Yes, I love your boobs. I care about how you hold your head when you walk into a room, I care how you hold your head walking late at night when there is nobody watching.
Today is my birthday but today also marks moments of significant growth for the women in my life. My mother has been empty nested and now gets to discover who she is outside of her children and her family since the start of her adult life.  My sister, a young adult with a toddler moved to Texas. With a few decades separating them (I dont think either would prefer for me to specify), they are on the path to discovering themselves and how they fit in the world.
The first photography work to fully catch my eye when I first got the photography bug is a book that my friend Chris showed me and later thankfully he has gifted by Nan Goldin. It shows real women, women in trauma, women in drag, women with masks and without but a sense of strength prevailed.
Yes, I Love your boobs is about breasts, for me it is about acceptance of a woman in its encompassing breadth. By being vulnerable with another woman, and receiving a safe environment to be vulnerable with yourself is my wish. I want to capture your raw, natural beauty even in your vulnerability.
By doing that I explore mine.

Here is a series of photographs of women who are breast cancer survivors. Wow.

Friday, March 25, 2011

5 Reasons I Love My Boobs

So, I am not sure if I have the authorization to write my stories about the photoshoots and perspectives of the story of each woman that were involved with the boob book. So I randomly search stories on the internet about women and their boobs.... Heres one

Monday, March 14, 2011

My boobs lately

So I realize my entry in our boob book was meager and lacking in too much substance. I put so many hours into learning photography, how to do a photo shoot, editing and how to make a book; that when it finally was down to the crunch to write something, there was too much to write. What about each and every photo shoot, I could talk about where we met, what we did, my feelings about myself and how I interacted with (most often a stranger) the woman being photographed. I could write about countless stories, of my struggles with adolescence and body image. Share stories about women who have impacted my life. So lets start somewhere. My photoshoot.

So Tyla, the co-creater of the book was the very first photo shoot we did. (which of course we'll need to talk about later, with her permission of course) I was one of the last. Heck I wanted a pretty picture too and thought I deserved the same treatment by having myself as the photographer. I could have let someone else do the photo and then what happens if they are better? Ohhh, see the confidence needed to run through many realms. I also needed to learn how to work my camera well enough that I didnt need to be looking through a viewfinder. And of course, automatic settings would be far too easy.


I got a job in Blue River, BC. Some would know it as the snow capital of western canada, maybe even Canada. I was dating a lovely ginger whom I adored and he got this sweet job as a geo tech which meant nothing to me, I asked if I could get a job there too. Turns out I could and did. Best job of my life, hands down. Which of course helps in the confidence and esteem department.

My boobs, I really take great pride in them. We are friends. Now. I hated that they got bigger, I hated that I was forced to wear a bra. I felt sick in it. In a few short years I found that they provided significant leverage in daily life and began to flaunt them in the black bra over white shirt kind of way. (I wore a sweater when I left the house.) I still like them, even more so now that I have given myself permission not to wear a brassiere ( the term used by my patient, who so kindly pulled me over and whispered in my ear that I had forgotten to put on said item)

So the issue really wasnt my breast esteem, I really just needed to do it.
I got picked to go on the crew doing some stream sampling. This meant I got dropped off by a helicopter at the top of a mountain at the glacier fed streams. On this particular day, the weather was balmy. And Mike and I could think of nothing better than ditch our clothing in this setting. Completely professional of course. And this time I had my camera. Needless to say, my bright little head saw my naked breasts and my surroundings and then my camera and I thought, 'Why the heck not?'

I shot three photographs in total. And gave one to Tyla. I know she was expecting a selection to chose from. But alas, the photographer just didnt feel the need to take anymore.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A lovely article printed in the weekly magazine, Vue in Edmonton

Feb. 02, 2011 - Issue #798 : Communion
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Lust For Life


A new book takes a real look at ubiquitous anatomy

I am bombarded by boobs every day. I mean it. When you do what I do for a living, you are immersed in boobs all the time. I know that boobs are everywhere and we see them on websites and magazines pages every day. But believe me, I see more than my fair share of them. Don't get me wrong, I do love boobs. Women are beautiful and this is one of the most amazing beautiful parts of them. What disturbs me about this bombardment of boobs is that all the boobs I see seem to look pretty much the same. I look at the boobs I see on magazine covers and on the packages of porn movies and sex toys and I never see any that look anything like mine. It seems they only get to come out and parade around in public if they are a certain size and shape. This is why when I was introduced to the book I Love Your Boobs, I fell in love. The book, by Albertans Kerry Rae and Tyla Fae, is a beautiful collection of pictures of real women without their tops on. Each picture is accompanied by the woman's story, in her own words, about her feelings about her breasts and her body.
I asked Kerry to chat with me about the book and how it came to be. "We were just finding that women were just not confident about their bodies and their boobs and we really just have a heart for women and want to help them out." The book took four and a half years to complete and was finally self-published.
Putting your boobs on display, especially when they may not fit the mould, is a radical thing to do, it seems. Finding women who were willing and able to participate proved to be the most difficult part of the project. "We had more women in the book but their friends or family didn't support them." Kerry said, "They wanted to be a part of it and part of this movement."
But the women who do appear in the book expressed excitement at the opportunity. "I was thrilled at the opportunity to share my journey of learning to love and value my breasts," says Susan, just one of the women to appear in the book, "I also love that all the models were asked to create their own photo shoots as a clear representation of what they value. It was a very empowering project!"
I guess that's what makes the book so different from almost every representation I see of women's bodies. These boobs are big and small, perky and saggy, young and old. They are not altered, held in, pushed up, made-up or airbrushed. They are just, as Kerry says, "Doing their thing." And, they are all, as are the women they belong to, unique and beautiful. Reading the book was a nice reminder to me that this is what women actually look like without their tops on. They look at lot like me. V
Brenda Kerber is a sexual health educator who has worked with local not-for-profits since 1995. She is the owner of the Edmonton-based sex-positive adult toy boutique, The Traveling Tickle Trunk.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

update from boob-land

kerry invited me to post here and i accepted gladly. as one of the pages of the boob book, i wanted to update the world on my boob-itude over the last few months. namely, i am pregnant, and wow, have my boobs changed. it's like i have had a sculpture for ages, and then one day discover that it has a tiny drawer. who knew this decorative item had a use? shocking.

my boobs have historically been on the small-to-medium side. i don't need to wear a bra, they don't bounce when i run, i don't get backaches. all this, needless to say, has changed. i now wear a bra every day, my boobs bounce, my back hurts. if i want to see the skin under my boob, i have to move the boob out of the way to see it. i am temporarily a bigger-breasted woman. how often does one get to experience "the other side"? it's quite enlightening.

how have my feelings about my boobs changed? well, having been through a big acceptance trip, it's been a bit frustrating that once again, they don't quite feel like my boobs (i talked about this in the book). i definitely experienced some "what the hell is all this?" moments. my body is off on its own trip, leaving my mind to cope the best it can. this division between mind and body has recurred so many times in my life i just roll my eyes and hunker down to do some mediation. for example:

it feels like my body is betraying me only because i have expectations about how my body should behave in the first place. where have these expectations come from and are they helpful in the least? it's important to listen to my body and recognize when it is behaving oddly, but that isn't always a wrong or unhealthy thing, however unsettling it may seem. i guess i want my body to behave predictably and in helpful ways. ha! as if anything under the umbrella of 'me' would do that... i mean, if my body had that expectation of my mind, it would be sorely (and regularly) disappointed. ring the "double standard" alarm.

there is a plus side (a d+ side, har har). i have broadened my feelings about my boobs to include some of this nurturing stuff. like, "hey, i'll be able to feed my baby with these! awesome!" (i'm sure there will be moments when it isn't quite so awesome, but whatever). i wish my partner lactated, so he could have this experience too. i know it will be emotionally intimate and bonding - supposing it all works out. some of my friends have had trouble breast-feeding their babes. i really hope that my boobs "do their job". because i clearly have expectations, sigh.

boobs: they aren't always fun and games. stay tuned for the evolution of these growing rocks!