I don't remember a time when my body wasn't big and shameful.
From fourth grade on I've always been the big girl. Taller than everyone else, I got boobs way before the rest of the crowd. I've always worn baggy clothes to hide them. I've never been terribly overweight but I've never been comfortable with myself. My whole life I've felt awkward and less than graceful.
So, I arrive at my 47th year weighing 170 pounds at 5'8" and I have no idea what I really look like.
This body image gallery asked women to take a real photo of themselves and submit it so that other women can begin to see what "real women look like." Not models selling clothes. Not actresses selling sex. Not fake women trying to sell us a diet version of bliss. Real women.
This is a real woman who is 5'8" and weighs 172.
I thought she was lying until I looked at the rest of the women who were the same height and weight. Then I started kind of frantically looking through the rest of the galleries looking for someone who matched the inner perception of myself.
And apparently I'm not alone. The purpose of this website, which is now getting attention from all over the world, is to give women a clearer picture of themselves. I have to admit that I'm shocked at my own inner distortion. When I woke up this morning it was the first thing to come to mind.
The next hurdle? Now that I have this information, what in the world do I do with it?