If I were to go pursue some kind of PhD, one subject I would pursue for my thesis is a theory I have on a link between body image issues and creative genius. Having experienced the gamut of mild to severe body image issues myself and meeting many people with similar or related experiences, the one common thing I have observed with all these people is some level of exceptional creativity that is being suppressed or stifled either intentionally or un-intentionally.
I'm not saying this is true of everyone, just those I've met, which again, I'd love to do field work to see if there is some validity to my theory. I can say the link has been true for myself and my personal friends. As part of our healing, when we engage or start expressing that creative side of ours more proactively and openly, the body image issues improve. Getting absorbed in our creative pursuits gives us an outlet and like for me it gives me the space to be heard and seen.
I have spent many a time with my therapists talking about how I often felt that no one "sees" or "hears" me like I'm invisible or something. Then, I would take that frustration out on my physical body instead of channeling that energy into something more positive like creating things. When I write a blog post, take a photograph, create a recipe, design a web page, help someone solve a problem, or film a video post than a big part of me feels seen and heard, and it gives me a better sense of meaning and happiness, again in a more constructive rather than destructive way.
Other notions I have on a link between creativity and body image issues is that the two types share similar traits like being emotional dominant, highly intuitive, perceptive, sensitive, and observant. On the flip side, there is stuff like self destructive, prone to depression, addictive like, and explosive. Like the archetype of the mad artist who engages in drugs, sex, or alcohol, our choice is food, exercise or beauty.
It's a theory....
If you have heard of any current studies or papers that have been done on this subject, please share because I find it utterly fascinating. In this video, at the recent TED 2009 conferencein Monterrey, CA, Elizabeth Gilbert author of the fabulous book Eat, Pray, Love does a 19 minute talk about creative genius and the unfair pressures that culture can put on its creative types to constantly perform especially when they have had huge successes like the one she has had with her best selling book.
This video is really a great presentation and worth the 19 minutes of your time. I enjoyed the whole thing, and could relate to so much of it. I most resonate with how she said something like, "Your job is to just show up and do what you do best."