Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Body Image... and Etiquette!

It's been over a year since writing the post The Divine Mother Gets Some Work Done-- in which I briefly discuss body image and declare my satisfaction with my own big-ness-- and since then I've had the profoundly strange experience of losing 50 pounds very rapidly due to circumstances out of my control. The strangest thing, however, is NOT my own radical shapeshifting-- it's dealing with everyone else's reactions... many of which are less than polite.

I was perfectly comfortable in my body when it was 5o pounds heavier; the rest of the world, however, seems to have a problem with it. When I was a larger person and needed to shop for clothes, salespeople turned their noses at me, saying "we don't have anything in your size," or at best, ignored me completely. Certain well-meaning family members were certain it was my fault I'm not married yet (I was only 27), that it must be because I was fat-- and then proceeded to "help" me by pointing out how everything I ate and wore was wrong. Now people I hardly know keep telling me they barely recognize me, how beautiful and healthy I look... often followed by just how huge I was before, and/or how unattractive they found me. I think that is a terribly rude thing to say to someone, yet people don't seem to think twice about giving me their full opinion of my appearance when I never wanted it in the first place.

Well for the benefit of the curvaceous people who may be reading this, plenty of people found me attractive when I was fat, and one boyfriend even told me I'd be "perfect" if I "gain 50 pounds". Another friend recently said "I thought you were hot before and you are hot now.... I always thought hotness comes from within." I'm still with the man I was with 50 pounds ago, and he says I look perfect either way.

What is even more perplexing to me is that the general consensus among people who marvel at my sudden weight loss is that I must be more disciplined, healthier, and working out more. In reality, I was in better shape as a big person and got a lot more exercise when I was larger (before I fell ill and lost so much weight).

The fact is, most of this weight gain and illness was due to an unknown gluten intolerance-- so by finding this out, and ceasing to eat gluten, I lost 50 pounds even more suddenly than I gained them. I am in no more control of my body-- or anything else-- now than I was when I was more voluptuous. In fact, I don't think we had much choice in the shape of our bodies any more than we had a choice in being human instead of a fish. Yet people act towards me as if I have changed, as if I am more disciplined, more in control, more respectable. They seem to think, since I am thin, I must be a better person....

...If only it was so easy!

Sorry to disappoint, but I still have all the same flaws I did months ago.... oh, and you really don't need to point those out, either. Thanks in advance.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Artwork for Animal Charities

For the last couple years or so I have been a member of Etsy For Animals, a nonprofit organization of international artists who regularly donate proceeds from our artwork from our online stores on Etsy.com to animal charities. Every month, we select a Charity of the Month to donate to.

EFA Artists Helping Animals' January charity of the month is: Humane Society of Missouri http://hsmo.org I am moved to donate to HSMO because I read about their incredible rescue in TIME magazine of 500+ dogs from a fighting ring - the largest dog fighting rescue in U.S. history, and saw portraits and descriptions of the dogs who were rescued here:

The Humane Society of Missouri is in dire need of support from animal lovers and charities as they seek to find loving homes for and rehabilitate these tortured creatures.

Here's where you can find beautiful handmade items and artwork to benefit our Charity of the Month: http://tinyurl.com/yembbbb

Here are items I am donating from my shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/MichelleVielle?section_id=5849402

I am adding more charity items all the time! Please check back soon :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Divine Mother Gets Some Work Done

It is surreal to have my mural here in California... and to see it 2.5 years later, after it has been battered by the elements in Eureka Springs, AR. I painted it with outdoor latex house paint so that it would hold up to rain, snow, UV rays, etc... but nature always wins eventually, and it is time for The Divine Mother to get some well-deserved TLC after all She has been through!
While the mural is in good condition, the vibrancy of the colors have faded, and the ancient Egyptian icons I had drawn in with Sharpies had mostly washed away, leaving only their painted silhouettes behind.

I am in the process of restoring the mural to its original vibrancy, and both the owner of the painting and I have big plans for another public showing. I don't want to simply display the mural somewhere, however; I created this mural to be displayed in the context of a themed show about icons involving many other artists. Therefore, I am dreaming of collaborating with other artists to create a new exhibit...

...as for what the theme would be, body image is something that has been on my mind a lot lately. It is outrageous how incredibly prejudiced modern society is against obesity, with the media constantly remarking on how dangerous, unhealthy, ugly, and socially unacceptable it is too be fat-- while ignoring the dangers of being too thin. Beauty lies in the kaleidoscope of forms, shapes, and colors that we come in, but our society accepts only one shape.

Years ago I had a professional photo shoot done for promotional purposes. I was very thin in those photos-- which is unnatural for my body type-- because I was not eating enough or getting the nutrition I needed, and I was very unhealthy because of it. I was too weak for my immune system to fight anything off, and was frequently debilitated by illness. Yet people tell me how beautiful I look in those pictures and that I should lose weight again. Well, I say:


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Divine Mother Mural SOLD!

The Divine Mother Mural sold to a good home in California for $1,000. 40% of this sale goes to the nonprofit Artery in Eureka Springs AR.

Friday, July 3, 2009

More news! Yay!

A hateful religious fanatic lets it rip in a letter to the editor of The Lovely County Citizen:

Kenneth E. Murray's ridiculous and badly written letter only helps The Artery more, because it reveals just how ignorant and intolerant its opponents are. There is no use in arguing with these fanatics; it is best to just keep painting!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thanks for supporting The Artery!

Thanks to your support, the artery will not be censored!

"It is a two year contract and you'll be happy to hear that it won't be censored by the city- the phrasing says that the panels will be reviewed by Charlotte's own jurors, who are artists, including myself. The one concession Charlotte had to make is that she had to do the contract with her company Glamorama instead of through the CDP and National heritage foundation, which means a lot more work for her and a lot of time wasted setting that up in the first place. The important thing, though, is that the Artery continues." --Rosie Rose, artery artist and assistant to Charlotte Buchanan, owner of the Artery