Recently, I've read a post from the ladies of the Let's Go Ride a Bike (LGRAB) blog about bicycling and self-esteem, and how Trisha has not gotten thinner as a result of all her pedaling, even though it is exercise.
Around the same time, I had a very strong urge to draw clothing like my twin sister and I used to do, using our modified Barbie Fashion Designer "paper doll" templates. The only problem is that all my artwork, including my paper doll, was abandoned back in Jacksonville as excess baggage when my dad rescued us and we lightened our load in the exodus to Oregon one year ago. So i figured I could find a scan online. I found one skewed photograph of the magazine printout we used to have, and Barbie wasn't even in the skimpy bathing suit so you could see all the lines.
Lastly, I have taken new sewing measurements last week, being as accurate as you can possibly be when measuring yourself all by yourself.
All these things combined to bring me to me latest activity and realization. I photographed myself, standing as best I could in the posture of our Barbie paper dolls. This is harder than it looks to do. Not only do you have to have the space to get a full-body photograph using the self-timer, but inevitably I was slightly angled or something to make the picture worthless. It's very hard to run over, straighten yourself facing the camera and strike a pose while wearing tiny little pointy heels (Barbie wore high heels). I also did this completely stark naked because I wanted honest pictures. My goal was then to get a picture of decent enough quality to trace my outlines in Paint and make a paper doll of ME.
And... I did.
I found out that even though I often look at photos of myself, especially this special temporary set, and make a face of disgust at various pudge and bulges- I am NOT really unsightly. I think anything I have to gripe at would be solved by loosing a few pounds, or toning what is there. I discovered that my body is not just petite but pear-shaped. I have a very short waist, and then large thighs and butt, with bumps as you get to each one along my side. I thought it was very unattractive, until I took away all the textures. I'm actually very womanly. When I smoothed out those bumps, my form is downright awesome. In many ways my paper doll outline is simply a petited realistic version of Barbie! I'm a little thicker overall, and my neck is shorter than hers, and of course as a petite my waist length is short. But I'm a darned good paper doll!
I was in the middle of discovering this when I read the LGRAB post and the older post linked back about self-esteem. It is extremely true that bicycling boosted my opinion of myself, even though physically not much had changed. It is also true at this point that the added exercise, from a completely sedentary lifestyle prior, has not had any effect at all on my body size or weight. The measuring tape doesn't lie! I assume the scale doesn't either, but those things are evil anyway. I enjoy dressing in cute outfits that I've made myself, and hopefully this paper doll will help me design clothing outfits that flatter my particular figure, so I look as good as I can on the outside to match the happier me in the inside.
Next I'll have my twin sister wrap me up in duct tape to have a physical copy of me- a dress form! That will, I think, help me a bunch when it comes to fitting garments and making things from scratch without patterns.
Anyway, I just thought I'd share. If anyone wants an Aimee paper doll, I don't mind sharing since I've made things slightly more symmetrical and smoothed out than the original me. I have front and back views, but I admit the back view is just the front flipped around with some body details adjusted by imagination. I can't wait to design something!