Sugar – The Good and The Bad Times

portrait by Exposing 40 of Tabitha Rayne
Photo by Exposing 40

This post has been totally inspired by the Wicked Wednesday prompt, Sugar.

 

*blog update* Marie chose this post as one of Wicked Wednesday’s top three – I am so thrilled as it’s such a personal post and something I’ve hesitated to write about for a long time x x x

I wasn’t expecting this outpouring at this time but I’ve gone with it and please be aware that it’s a personal story and doesn’t have any shagging in it (sorry… though hopefully some of the food descriptions turn you on…)

It touches on eating disorders and self-criticism so watch out if you need to avoid.

Sugar – The Good and The Bad Times

 

I am a sensual gal. My life feels like one big sensual exploration of what my body reacts to and feels. The way trailing fingertips over the crook of my elbow makes my mouth water. Or how squeezing foil coffee packets in the supermarket to release the aroma has me spiralling off with my eyes closed as I inhale my way to heaven right there as folks carry on shopping as if nothing was happening.

I’m kind of an all or nothing gal when it comes to this. For example, sounds. I need either absolute silence or the music cracked up to 11 while moshing or twirling around until I’m spluttering for breath.

The same is true of food. Food, sensual food. Sugary delights, salty delights, I adore everything about consuming and enjoying the sensation of eating. I love cracking the top off a cherry liqueur between my teeth then wrapping my tongue around the cherry inside, fishing it out while sweet sticky liquor dribbles down my chin. I love simple chips and salt, or bread and butter. I love beef Wellington and complex spice combinations in curries, I basically haven’t found a food I didn’t like.

But this prompt, has triggered some things other than my enjoyment. It has also brought with it my sadness about not loving myself the way I wish I had been able to.

A throwaway comment from an adult when I was enjoying chocolate ice cream as a child made me suddenly realise I wasn’t perfect. In that one moment I went from a carefree kid who enjoyed everything to a self-critical abstaining worried adult.

I saw I was chubby. I felt it too. When I licked a lolly, I felt cells growing turgid with fat and shame.

I hated photos of myself. They confirmed the truth.

Now, can I explain something here, one of the reasons I never feel able to write and show these things is because the guilt of believing that you might think if I’m judging myself and my life so harshly, perhaps I’m judging you. That’s simply not true. You are perfect. Every nuance of your body makes up the whole of beautiful you. I adore people. Inside and out. I adore studying the all-consuming lush gorgeousness of the human form. Just not my own. (This sentence is causing me problems to write.)

So… years of eating disorders and self-loathing later, I discover that looking back on these photos, something magic had happened. They had changed over the years. What I had once viewed as a hideous demon, had turned into a normal girl/woman having fun and smiling.

Oh the time wasted on inner cruel thoughts!

I’m telling you all this because these feelings don’t leave, but I have learned to keep them at bay by being creative.

One of the things that I’m most glad I took the leap and joined was Sinful Sunday. I shared images of myself that I trembled to post, but did it anyway. The community is so supportive and wonderful and full of participants’ sexy, sensual, gorgeous images for me to satisfy my visual craving.

Another hugely epic thing for me was to hand over my tight control of photos of myself to Exposing 40 and her body positive project. We have taken two sets of photos together.

The first set I had been watching what I’d been eating and was pretty bloody stressed out about it all. The header image is one from that day – which I adore for its simplicity and slight sadness.

 

Rust Bucket Too! – by Exposing 40

 

The second, I’d been indulging in cakes and wine for months without a care, and thought I’d be uncomfortable with the shoot. I was much more relaxed and actually loved the photos more. I can see the changes in my body in a year and instead of being horrified by ‘letting myself go’ as I would have chastised myself before, I see a grown woman enjoying the glory of being alive and celebrating it in the most wonderful way, with friends *and* cake.

Thank you Sinful Sunday community, Exposing 40 and Wicked Wednesday for being a safe and inspiring place for me to explore myself and become a better person.

For more sugar, Click the Circle x x x

 

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20 thoughts on “Sugar – The Good and The Bad Times

  1. Hi Tabitha, what a heartfelt story, thank you for sharing. I can relate to parts of your story very well. Even after 50 years I still remember a callous comment to my teenaged self as a walked innocently to the shops. Fortunately I entered art school and became quite comfortable with my body as modelling enabled me to earn and study, as well as see a range of other people naked. I also got to see how fashionable, desireable and natural bodies have changed over time through studying art. (I’m would have been on trend in Rubens day!) So I didn’t go through some of the really tough stuff you mention, but I have watched my daughter struggle with body issues over the years. I love these forums as it allows us to share and reaffirm our gorgeous diversity. Unfortunately my photography mate has been sucked into academia just as I’m leaving it so now I’m learning to be a “self indulgent selfie queen”all by myself, and in the process am sharing my plus sized and aging bod, because like you I think it’s important. I think the photos exposing 40 took look great and you look so good in your skin!

    1. Indigo I’m so overjoyed that you brushed the comment aside and saw it for the rubbish it was! This comment has filled me with happiness – you’re so right, Exposing 40 is not only a genius behind the lens but also an ambassador for community and body positivity. And I adore your photos x x x
      I’m sure your daughter will settle into herself, especially with the support of a lovely mum like you.
      The paradox is, I’ve never been shy getting nekky at the beach or in front of people… so strange 😀

  2. Your body is absolutely gorgeous – Exposing40 took beautiful photos but she had a beautiful subject.
    I am so glad you wrote this post. So many young people have problems with wanting to strive for what they see as perfection. In fact, it is when a person is at their most happy and carefree that they look the most beautiful. I agree about communities on here such as #sinfulsunday – they really do throw their arms around you.
    Life is too short not to indulge in cake – My post talks a bit about that as it is also not about sex at all! Must be a week for it…

    1. Thank you May! Your article is fantastic – so true about aspartame and sweeteners being bad 🙁
      here’s the link for anyone reading this! http://ifsexmatters.co.uk/sugar/
      Exposing 40 has an incredible spirit and makes you feel so relaxed and at home in your own skin. I think that shines through in all her photos x x

  3. I too want to thank you for your honesty in writing this post. I always say that people can look at people and think they have a wonderful life, but never know the demons within. By you speaking out you have perhaps touched another person, who now might be able to speak out as well. We live in this idealised world but none of us are ideal. Throw away comments hurt and can affect as they did with you your life forever. You have an absolute beauty and I adore the image as it does show no hint of tension, you appear to be so relaxed. Exposing 40 is brilliant.

    I have an adult son with an eating disorder, it causes me pain every day, I worry every day, I feel helpless, I scrutinise him every time I see him hoping an ounce has been gained. So please please please enjoy the glory and beauty of our bottle, eat drink and live darling xx

    1. Thank you so much Rebecca. I wish I could offer comfort about your son. That must be so hard for you all. When I look back over my life I feel more sorry for my loved ones and family than myself. It must be so hard feeling that you can’t reach someone to help. It truly is an inner battle that is fought every minute of every day. I think it’s a case of finding ways to manage the thoughts. I know when I’m being creative it keeps my demons at bay. Even if that’s poking a stick in a muddy puddle and watching the swirls.
      I’m quite a simple lass at heart 😀
      Love to you x x x

  4. I feel so joyful that you’re being able to enjoy your beautiful self and your life fully now.

    I have to say…last month when we met, and you came skipping out of your little car towards me I got almost a shock, but let’s call it a shiver, at how young, and vibrant and slim, and tall and elegant you were in the flesh again – and it was suprising to hear you say you’d put on weight when I’d been so struch by how perfect you looked after all these years of only seeing you online. I love your photos, don’t stop!

    1. Awww darling Jo – what a joy it was to have you here with me. I think that spending time with friends makes us all shine harder, don’t you? I’m sure I lit up by 100% when I saw you at the airport! x x x x

  5. Your comment about the throwaway comment from an adult when you were young is heartbreaking. I recall many things my parents said to me as a child, which have caused me lifelong pain and low self-esteem. And, definitely, lots of time wasted on inner cruel thoughts!

    You are incredibly talented and you look so beautiful in your photos!

    Thank you for your wise words x

    1. Thank you so much – we are so affected by words aren’t we? I wonder how we can change how much influence they have. Are some people just more prone to taking on the negative comments? Teaching self worth at a very young age might help. Perhaps it’s all to do with knowing that your body and mind are your very own and understanding that. It’s tricky being a human!

  6. Your writing hits me hard. It makes me think what careless words I have said to my children to cause them pain.
    You write so movingly on the extremely difficult times in your life. I’m so happy to read that you have made it through the darkness into the light. You are a truly beautiful woman.

    1. Thank you so much for this comment. We are all just bumbling through without a rule book, aren’t we? Who knows what comments take hold and what don’t. I reckon I had about eight thousand awesome comments from that person and only one negative. It says more about my self esteem than the actual comment I think. x x x if only we [folk in general] could truly focus on the positive…

  7. I’ve always felt self-esteem should always be based on who we are, and how we feel, within our bodies . . . rather than without.
    I totally agree with you about “enjoying the glory of being alive and celebrating it in the most wonderful way, with friends and cake” . . . and, of course, wine!!!
    And that rust bucket photo is simply glorious !!!

    Xxx – K

    1. Thank you Miss Modesty! You’re right, it doesn’t matter about your external self, if you’re not feeling it from within, well, you’re not feeling it! Cake and wine it is – actually, I must tell you, you’re blog is a huge inspiration to me. I adore your absolute exuberance and joy for life x x x

  8. This is such an incredibly beautiful and honest post. You are really beautiful in every way, whether in the first or the last photo. Isn’t it just terrible how one comment can change a life and make one feel insecure? It’s wonderful to read how much this community has helped you… this must be one of the most supportive places to be… is my experience!

    Rebel xox

    1. Thank you so much Marie – it’s incredibly interesting what things we let bother us to the point where we actually change who we are. So sad. I don’t know if resilience is something that can be taught from a young age?
      But yes, this post wouldn’t have happened without this community or indeed, your Sugar prompt. So thank you x x x

  9. Words are so very powerful and can change how we think or feel about something so easily. I think it is so important to be more careful with them especially when it comes to kids. I am delighted that Sinful Sunday has been such a positive place for you and given you a place to challenge and explore yourself

    Mollyx

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