Body Image

When I was little I remember my mother and grandmother and all the grown ups telling me how cute I was, what a cute little butt, what cute freckles and cute bucked teeth, cute cute cute…When I was a tween, I remember my friends making fun of how skinny and flat chested I was, how bow legged and awkward I was, but I was still cute and I hated it. I remember the boys liking the girls with big boobs and curvy butts and I wanted some too because I looked like a 2×4. I remember at 15, women and men would just staring at me, I figured something was wrong with me. I remember when I hit 17, that was the year all the boys that had ignored me, suddenly were nice and I could not figure out why. My friends were now making fun of the little boobs I had and their shape, my red hair and my freckles. I thought I was unattractive because I wasn’t the ideal for the lust of men (Thank *ucking God B T W that saved me a ton a grief). At 17 I was scouted by John Casablanca (think Simon Cowell of the fashion model industry) of Elite, the agency of Cindy Crawford and many of the worlds top super models. I was one of a very few taken on and brought to NY. There they razzed me about being short, I was 5’7″, they also said things I could not believe, like the day John was looking at my test shots and said to my bookers, her proportions are perfect, her legs are perfect call at the hosiery companies, her profile is one of the best I have ever seen. My thought, they’re wrong, because I believed the shit the kids said about me in school. I started cutting PE in the 9th grade right when I started getting boobs because I was getting body shammed. I really thought my breasts were deformed. I end up in Paris being tested by Guy Bourdin, the GOD of fashion Photography at that time. All of my agents made a huge deal of his interest in me. He asked me to take my shirt off and I said no. I was wearing a wife beater with no bra so it was obvious what I had and he said, why darling, your breasts are perfect they are like a champagne class and those nipples are something we all dream about. It truthfully was a huge compliment coming from him, but I didn’t know that until years later. I didn’t take off my shirt there or in St. Tropez on holiday, I was the only female out of thousands with a top on. That’s what body shamming does. I remember walking into a huge casting call in NY, I was an agent then, we were all scouting the up and coming, we were shopping for the world’s next top girls. I dressed up, no need as an agent, I could get away with grunge, but I did my hair and showed off my legs and did great make-up and the 3 blocks I walked, I was whistled at the whole way. When I entered that room and every top agent turned to look at me and then were shocked and confused to find out I was an agent. I knew I’d hit my physical peak. It was all down hill from there baby, except by that time I learned people’s perceptions of me and my perception of myself were based on personal taste! Everybody had an opinion and they all differed. Today I bumped into my daughter coming out of the shower she screams like she’s seen a zombie, of course I bare the marks of 6 babies and nursing them all and 52 years. I laugh and I tell her once my body looked just like hers. We change. I don’t want to be the object of lust. I also don’t want to be the object of my own body shamming, because the thing about being human, usually the moment I accept myself, it changes again and so it’s been a lifetime of learning loving acceptance for myself at all my ages.

I am not my body, it’s the transportation I was provided to visit this place. I am not my feelings, it is the GPS and communication system I was provided to navigate me through this place, I am not my thoughts, they are the computer system the supplies me information in this place. I am the observer.
Ironically, I did not like any of the images until after a few years passed. Now I take photos of myself, for myself, for the 5 years down the road, because today is as good as it gets!

 

kim james

kim james

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