I often find it very difficult to articulate my discomfort in the summertime. Of course, part of me loves the season, the way I used to when I was a school kid. I love the flowers, the smells, the food, and especially the sunshine. However, summer also presents its own unique challenges to me.
In the heat, I feel my thighs clapping together as I run to catch the train to work. I look around often and compare my body to the bodies of women around me, picking apart my characteristics that stand out.
It is not uncommon for people with existing anxiety and self-esteem issues (like myself) to feel a dip into low moods in the summertime, particularly when we are flooded with images and advertisements for how to keep ourselves “beach body ready.”
On a beautiful weekend day, I’ll go to the beach and see a group of men throwing a football beside me. I’ll glance down to the rolls of my stomach bunched up as I sit on my towel. I feel the need to cross my arms over myself and hide away.
I wish I had the words to describe that type of discomfort. It’s more than discomfort, it’s a wish to disappear, or mold myself, like clay, in to the type of statuesque woman I am in my dreams.
For this piece, I wanted to capture this feeling in illustrations instead of words. The positions of the subject in these drawings aim to emulate the often uncomfortable stances I put myself into when I am in a state of mental discomfort over my body image.
If you suffer through similar discomfort in the summer, I recommend CBT work with therapists, less mirror time, keeping a journal, cutting down on social media time, and looking after yourself - make sure to eat regularly, get good sleep, and actively avoid negative self-talk. Check out this helpful article as well.