Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Creating Peace Treaties with Our Bodies

Well, Profanity. Now, I have no excuses for being overly emotional and moody. You see, I've been blaming these things on my weight and body image for the last several years. I started out as a pretty hot girl when I was married....certainly not skinny, but not chunky. I gave birth to a crazy little mini-version of me 9 months and 20 minutes later, and then promptly got pregnant again 7 months after that (I called my husband and bawled for 2 hours about how much I didn't want to have another kid and how it wasn't fair that he had seduced me when I wasn't prepared.) As you can imagine, these things took a toll on my body, as well as the fact that I love to cook, bake, and fondle all manner of food. So, I spent the next 4 years promising myself that I would be COMPLETELY happy and satisfied if I just lost 30 pounds. I wouldn't be back to my high school self, but at least I wouldn't have my well-meaning customers complimenting me on having a "plus size" model (or...me in corsets) on my website. (It was one of those staggering moments of truth...sort of like seeing a picture of yourself or stepping on the scale. Bleh.) Anyhow, I managed to lose about 27 pounds, so I'm pretty much to my goal....the only problem is that I still look in the mirror, and see exactly the same flaws as I saw before (see picture above.) I honestly thought that once I lost weight, I would suddenly change into this completely confident gutsy woman that WOULDN'T compare herself to other girls (mostly airbrushed ones) and always come up short. And it's REALLY really idiotic, because there's no reason that I should have this mindset.
I've been endeavoring to brainwash myself into a more positive emotional realm. I decided that perhaps if I made some kind of promise or "peace treaty" with my body, then perhaps I could work my way into the kind of girl that could do a strip-tease for her husband (Holy FACE, what a horrific thought). I surmised that perhaps I could look at my legs and be GRATEFUL that they work well and function properly, rather than looking at them and cursing at them in my head for all of their transgressions!)
I feel bad, because I constantly preach to my customers about appreciating all of their amazing physical attributes, and finding the part of their body that they LOVE, and playing it up. When I hear girls complain about their bodies, I always chastise them thoroughly and tell them that I'm going to either smack them or lace their corset so tight that it punctures their spleen. Yet, here I am, just like one of my customers....filled with all this PROFUSE shameful self-doubt. From the moment I started making corsets, I knew that I wanted to make this into a journey for myself. I wanted to see what heights I could climb to, and what people I could connect to, but I have been intensely interested in pushing the limits of all of these female body image prisons and seeing if I couldn't bend a few iron bars.
About a year back, I was working my REAR off trying to lose weight, and I thought all day long about my body and how much I hated it and how hungry I was and when my next meal would be. One of my good friends called me to touch base, and I was telling her about working out for an hour a day and trying desperately to eat all of that "fun" diet food, and how I wasn't making any progress and I was irate at my body. She said, "Michelle, why would your body do what you want if you are FIGHTING against it? Maybe if you and your body were on the same side and you were working together, you could do what you need to." She had a really good point. I was completely at war, which is where the idea of a "peace treaty" came about.
So, I'm asking all of you to make some kind of peace treaty with your body. If that means that you tell your body that you love it and purchase a corset for it, then so be it. ;) I'm going to work on this too, and let's see if we can change the world.


  1. One of the better ideas I've heard so far this year. Thanks, Michelle.

    "Hear this body, I love your curves even if they're part of a 3-hour hourglass. At least you have them, unlike those 'hot model' girls who couldn't have a skirt stay at the waist on their stick-straight bodies without elastic or glue. ...As if they used their waists instead of their buttcrack to wear their bottoms at."

  2. Awwww, self image issues stink... but your corsets really do make us all look fabulous!

    Speaking of weight, i've actually been commanded by my doctor to GAIN half a pound, yeah, scary. I'm not underweight but apparently my natural body shape should be more... rotund. Ahh well, I suppose i'll just have to get used to it, just as I was coming to terms with my current flaws and finding creative ways to disguise them.

    I love your picture, and eugh stretch marks. mine are horrible! and all on one side annoyingly. Frustration!!!

  3. One solution: look at the computerized, airbrushed photos of pseudo-women less, and physically do more. I don't mean chores or "exercise," I mean doing some physical that is fun. Its amazing how happy you can be with your body when it allows you to do something you like doing.

  4. I have struggled with this for the last few years. Before I had children I loved the way my body looked. I wasn't skinny but I was curvy and I loved that. Then I had my son and I gained 61lbs. I saw a picture of me right after I had him too and I looked awful! I felt so fat and after losing weight I still retained 17lbs. I also had the loose tummy and stretch marks everywhere! It killed me that I could get back into a lot of my clothes and it kind of depressed me too. I had so many neat dresses and tops, a few were corsets too. I had to part with them though because after a couple of years I realized I had way too many clothes and since my weight wasn't budging there was no sense holding on to those clothes.

    I was begining to accept my 5'3" 145lbs body and then I became pregnant with my daughter. I gained another 60lbs despite trying to be more active and eat better, I guess my body just gains the weight no matter what. I have since lost all but 5lbs from that pregnancy. SO now I sit at 150lbs and I'm trying again to lose somemore weight, but I've recently come to the decision that maybe instead of fighting a losing battle I should as you said make a treaty. Then maybe when I become comfortable and happy with my body again it won't matter and if I lose some more weight then all the better.

    Now I soon as I can get some money saved up I most certainly will buy a new corset and try and start getting my old wardrobe back but newer and better, with me even more curvy body!

  5. I've been doing my best to make this happen, too, Michelle. I'm working at being healthy and fit and, yes, losing a little weight.

    But I decided long ago that I'd eat healthy but I won't agonize over calories. And I will NOT deny myself a piece of chocolate if I want it.

    There's something to be said for loving a luscious curvy body. And you're right, if I'm going to preach that I had better practice it.

    Here's to wearing beautiful corsets and to loving our bodies!!!

  6. I have yet to meet a woman who actually loves her body as is and wants to make no changes, I think it's just something we have bred into us at a genetic level...

    That said though, I know MANY women who have far more things they love about their body than they hate/loathe/dislike/whatever.

    Everynow and then when I get too down on myself, I try to remind myself of all the things I do love about my body. I'll actually make a list of the things I like, sometimes it takes longer than others and I have to think uber hard *yay bad days*, but most of the time I can list 5-10 things I like/love. And then I list all the bad things that are bugging me...and I look at that list and go fine. I can work on those, but first I'm going to embrace all the parts that make me happy and congratulate them on doing so.

    Uh...I dunno where that came from. I think I had a different comment in mind...I'm just sick of all these women not embracing how amazing they are. And instead picking out flaws that no one else cares about. =) You look AMAZING by the way.

  7. you're awesome-I'm with you on that treaty...

  8. Thank you for this post. I posted a link to it in my own blog, I hope you don't mind, because it carries a powerful message that you put into words very well.

  9. So, after looking at your Facebook page again, I realized that you have a blog, and I'm so glad that this was the first post for me to read. I'm currently experiencing the same thing that you did one year ago. Losing weight seems too hard to do for me, and I needed this reminder. When you work with your body, you can accomplish so much more than fighting it. Thanks!

    P.S. You look FABULOUS!!!

  10. Heya Michelle,
    Where did you find that HCG you went on? I've heard you found it more effective then the drops.... (which is what I've used) and by the looks of you you're right!! You look amazin!
    Hannah "of the fabric store" told me, and I was curious.


  11. *hugs*
    I hear you there completely Michelle. I too also had two girls back to back and now days refer to my strech marks as "Warrioress wounds" and went from 130lbs in HS to 185lbs in college (more like freshman 50 if you ask me :P) and then up to 240# after both girls. Currently I'm back down to 200# and am quite happy. If anything I think I have the body of a size 10 but then I look at pictures of me and think "Who is that fat sack of crap?~ Oh wait..uggg." With one exception--when I wear your corsetts I look as beauitful as I feel and it is thanks to you. Plus your corsetts are an inspiration to me to loose weight all the more. ~Amara
    ps. You look GORGEOUS! Always have and always will but congrats all the same on the hard work woman! WOOT!

  12. Opps~ heehe ment to say "I mentally have a size 10 but am really a size 18". heehee

  13. I love this idea. I just read an amazing book (Caroline Knapp's Appetites: Why Women Want) on the subject. It's nominally about her history with anorexia, but it's really about the tragedy of women who feel like they can't openly want what they want (love, food, sex) and take out their anger and frustration on their own bodies, through endless criticism and destructive behavior. It was beautifully written and one of relatively few books that I can say changed the way I saw things. I highly recommend it.

    Incidentally, airbrushed perfection is out of reach for thin people as well. What a pointless and harmful standard to hold any woman up to, regardless of her size!

  14. This is a random aside: Saw two of your corsets and three of your bustle minis on Tuesday at an O'Danny Girls concert.

    Seeing the skirts for the first time made me want one badly; they are GORGEOUS.

    There were also ample bookmarks for your site & wares; thought you'd like to know.

  15. I too have been working on brainwashing myself that what I weigh has nothing to do with if I look good. My secret goal has always been to be as skinny as I was when I was in high school. Looking through the photo album I realized--I don't want to be that skinny. I looked ill. So I've been telling myself that the volumptuous post 5 kids me is sexy and attractive. It really helped me that the DH actaully said this outloud a couple of times and commented that a very skinny friend at church looked like she was sick.


    p.s. try pull-on boots--they go over big calves like zippers never wil

  16. I had to get my hubby to sign the peace treaty. Only after he stopped nagging me to "lose weight" did I start caring about being "good". Being accepted for who you are by both yourself and your husband is great! Your corsets are SO flattering to us mommies.