Tuesday, November 01, 2005

self image

I went to a knit-along-café at the museum tonight. I had been looking forward to this for weeks, but never did I suspect that major revelations about myself were to be revealed among yarn, strangers and knitters chatting along about needles and patterns... But that’s what happened.
At the museum a guest lecturer is invited to each knit-along café to talk about their knitting. This time Pernilla Svenre was invited, and this was what I had been looking forward to.

(image from Pernillas' homepage)

I have admired her designs for years now, but I’ve never had the courage to try anything on. Why? Well, for lots of reasons. First of all they are expensive, and by principle I try not to try things I can’t afford on, since the anguish of falling in love with something you can’t get is easily avoided that way. Another reason is I never thought anything of hers would ever fit me. This is where the insights and revelations come in, but to describe them I need to start at the beginning. Starting at the beginning however means that this will become an entry I’ve waited a long time to write. I’m afraid of the feelings that might surface when the words for this find their way through my fingers and keyboard onto my screen. These are words I think and feel almost every day, but they are difficult to articulate and to throw out there.

In my teens I exercised a lot. I wasn’t very good at anything, but I loved exercising. I was always on the bench at soccer games. I didn’t care. Team sports aren’t my cup of tea, but I loved practice, and eventually I found aerobics, which was the combination of dance and exercise I had been looking for. I loved it.
Then something happened. I’m not sure what and when, but I lost myself somewhere along the way and I stopped everything. I didn’t exercise at all for years and I gained weight rapidly. Obviously.

To me, my extra kilos are like snot to somebody with a cold. It has to do with a disease and it’s something that should go away as the disease is cured. But extra kilos are not as easy to get rid of as snot, and my self-image is nowhere near what I see in the mirror. Therefore, my self-confidence when it comes to looks is not the best. I cover it up with an outgoing attitude, but buying clothes is difficult since I feel as if I’m shopping for somebody else. Somebody I don’t want to be.
This is something all about me. I know rationally that I can be seen as beautiful the way I am, but it doesn’t matter as long as I don’t see it myself.

Pernilla Svenre showed some of her clothes today and talked about how she tries to show femininity and sensuality in her creations. She talked about how clothes are automatically feminine when they show off hips, curves and above all the inward curve of the lower part of the back. These are all things I get complimented on. My extra kilos are still shaped in curves and I am thankful that I’m not carrying them all on my belly. Suddenly while she was talking, holding up a long, thin creation knitted in fine mohair something snapped. This sweater wasn’t designed to hang loosely around a skinny Twiggy sized body. It was designed to show off a body. Curves. Possibly even me.

This sounds absurdly ridiculous, I know, but this was huge to me. These clothes are works of art I have admired and feared for a long time. Feared because I was afraid they could show me my worst sides rather than my best. Afraid that their beauty was not for me.
I might not afford Pernillas’ clothes, but I sure will go and try some on, and if something fits I might actually buy it simply because it would be like conquering a demon.

I sat there knitting along on a black wool sleeve and suddenly found myself on the verge of tears. Silly maybe, but huge to me. I almost cried because I liked me the way I am. If Pernilla Svenres’ clothes can show me as beautiful I might believe that beauty myself. Her clothes could be the compliment I haven’t been able to give myself yet.

This might be part of the new life I’ve been talking about, where working on my self image is a huge part of things. But I’d like to thank Pernilla for showing her image of sensuality in her clothes. Somehow they finally gave me some insights about my own sensuality.

I just wonder when I’ll get passed myself and my fear of me. I know I’m good enough, but that knowledge definitely isn’t anchored to my gut yet if I almost cry from liking myself sitting at a knit-along café.

Anyway, here’s my project. It’s taking forever but I included a sketch of what I imagining it to be eventually.

On another note I also included the X-ray of my foot in the post about feet I made a few days ago. I’m sorry Mandy if I make you look at that text again. I hope you found your skin. It would be creepy to meet you in a month and a half if you hadn’t…


jodi said...

Oh, Lisa! Your poor right toes, they look so cramped and squashed. I hope you can get them fixed up right finally, so they don't hurt you.

We all have moments like that. It's hard to slough off all that training we endure all our lives and rebel against it and actually love our bodies. And when we can do it, for however short a time, it feels good. And emotional. (I think you're gorgeous, by the way).

Mandy said...

Oh Lisa, I'm so happy to hear about your moment at the knit cafe. Those times mean so much. We need to talk about clothing design, it is so good when you can knit (...and sew..?) for yourself, you can make the clothes that show you off properly and make you feel good about your body. I know that isn't the major point, but it makes a tremendous difference, day to day, to wear clothes that were meant for you and fit properly.

I know, I know that wasn't the point...

Any experience that gives you those moments of peace with yourself, of insight into your own beaty and worth, are to be cherished and remembered. I'm glad you wrote about this one.

I love the look of the sweater you're making. Is it your own design?

I looked at the xray without reading the text again. ;) You're right, it does look like an accident!!!

AND!!! I can't believe I left this to last. Are you still coming for Xmas, then????? 8D Sooo excited...

Dani said...

I'm glad you had that epiphany. You have got to love yourself the way you are NOW. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got came from a porno flick (!): if you treat yourself as a sexy woman, then that is what others will see.