Yves – USA

My physical issues are real.

All I have to do is point them out; they cannot be denied. I do not believe other people do not see them. What I believe is that where I see imperfections, defects, ugliness and deformities others can see uniqueness, exotic looks, charm or maybe even beauty.

That last one is still hard for me to see but I also know it is how I need to see myself in order to truly be myself

Being attracted to a creative and artistic life, I discovered music and songwriting at an early age and set to make a life for myself in the entertainment industry. Unfortunately, that choice only added to my fear of rejection when I realized the importance of an entertainer’s image.

The constant reminders through television, magazines and all forms of media of what is considered beautiful and what is not in our society often managed to shatter my confidence and can sometimes still do so.

I know many people go through similar struggles and their battle often continues for the best part of their lives. It is a search for acceptance, inner balance, growth and ultimately freedom to be oneself, completely and without reservation. To feel we are worth being.

To take part in the Embody Project was a revealing experience and a great way for me to get one step closer to finding that inner-peace about my physical appearance. Some may find it inappropriate or even taboo to be photographed naked, maybe because our society tells them it is, or maybe because their religion says so or their parents or loved ones own beliefs have a great influence on theirs.

For me, I believe staying in hiding and unhappy about my physical body is not the way to be. Finding the true me must include accepting myself for who I am and how I look. It is being willing to go out in the world without feeling inadequate, to show myself for who I am and be confident about it, to get up in the morning feeling good about myself. It is to not let society, people or even my own fears force me to hide behind closed doors.

In my early adult life, I sported a goatee for many years before I found the courage to shave it. Now I let it grow when I feel like it.  The smallest steps are as important as the big ones. I have many more steps to climb but every single one is worth the effort.

I am 47 and still on that journey of self-discovery and I think it’s a wonderful place to be.