Body image street art


By Ulli Stanway

Previously, not that long ago, I found myself attached to other people’s opinions.

My attachment to their limiting beliefs was big enough to silence my inner calling. For over 30 years I shaped my body and soul into their picture of the perfect me.

Over the years, illness started to manifest itself in my flesh and bones. My body’s endless subtle reminders to listen manifested in physical symptoms. My attachment to everything but my own knowledge, had caused a fierce detachment to myself.

Whilst I could always sense my own truth, I did not have the courage to stand up. I violently silenced myself—my own creativity drowned by my desperate attempts to be a perfect 10.

I needed them to like me.

Whoever they were, I needed approval in everything if I was to survive.

I fought against myself on every possible level. Thankfully my beautiful body fought back, sometimes with subtle hints and often with storms of raging pain. The art of self love and care far away on an undiscovered horizon.

Until that day.

When I stopped all of it.

Just because.

It was enough. I was enough.

All of me.

On that day I stood in front of the mirror—naked. Overweight. In pain.

I had carefully placed a thick layer of protection around my tender heart. Late night doughnuts showed their presence unkindly on my thighs. So here I was. Looking at me.

All of me.

Tears started to fall down my cheeks and I decided to let go.

Of my thighs. My imperfections. That knot in my throat.

I just let be.

I cried for a couple of hours, just standing there—me and this other me in the mirror. And then this soft voice told me to hold myself.

I hesitated.

I took a breath. One deep long breath.

I wrapped my arms around me and took another breath.

The warmth and love that I felt for myself at that moment is impossible to describe. I had been waiting for my own loving embrace for all of my life. On that day I regained an attachment that I now know I will never lose again.

I just need time. We just need time. To listen to each other. To nurture each other.

I am learning the art of self-love. These days I can be in front of the mirror and tell myself that I love myself. How beautiful I am. I know how strong and vulnerable I am.

I have peeled off every thick layer. I have lost 30 kilos.

My heart is open. My mind is free. I am writing. No more silence and I have faith in me.

In all of me.

My joy and my raging sadness.

I am at home where my sanity collides with insanity. I live my life now according to my own rules. May I be right, may I be wrong—either way it feels good. Life is about learning, spreading those wings.

Do I still care what others think of me? I guess to a certain degree I always will. But my inner calling always gets the first say. I appreciate opinions but I don’t allow them to shape my worlds any longer.

This is my life and I embrace all of it.

I have formed a brand new attachment, the only one that really matters in all of this. I am attached to myself, on every possible level.

As it turns out I am all I need to be…


Ulli StanwayUlli Stanway is a 42-year-old rebellious soul. She believes in becoming your authentic self by lifting those heavy curtains on your own stage of life. Ulli recently took off her glass slippers to run down a jetty barefoot. She said no to a corporate seafood buffet to be true to herself. Her mantra is RIP Pinocchio, your strings have served you well but now it is time to be cut loose and skip down your own path. No more strings attached. Check out her website, find her on Facebook, connect with her personally or join her writer’s group.


Photo: (source)

Editor: Dana Gornall