“When we propose that all bodies are the same, we also propose that there is a standard to measure sameness against.” ~ Sonya Renee Taylor
I tried yall. I worked tirelessly to shrink to a size that was acceptable, hoping that along the way I’d feel better. I’d feel beautiful. I’d feel wanted. And it turns out, as I recall how I used to look into a full length mirror and nitpick what I saw, what I really wanted was more. I wanted more Joy. More Love, Humor, Appreciation. I wanted more Life inside me.
And I thought it would magically appear inside a smaller body. And through this *dangerous* experiment, I was completely malnourished. The thing about eating disorders is that, for me, I didn’t even consider it to be a disorder when I was in the thick of it. It’s just what I did to survive. It was like a game. Let’s see how long I can go without eating. I would feel empowered if I could go the whole day. But then when I was alone and no one was looking, i’d sneak the jar of peanut butter out from under my bed and indulge in spoonfuls.
When I started receiving bodywork I began to gain weight. And I began to feel better. I don’t remember thinking to myself, okay I gotta start eating again.. Or I’m unhealthy and I need to do something about it. What I remember is that I started running again. And I started to eat because I could feel that my body was hungry. And it wasn’t as big of a deal. What I remember is starting to make choices for myself naturally. What I remember is having a homework assignment that included looking in the mirror naked and noting what I saw. I didn’t note anything. great progress.
When I became a vegetarian, although I was very self-righteous at that point in my life, what I learned here was how to prepare meals for my body. I learned that cooking and eating is a celebration and can be done with people that I love. That what I want can be supported and not nitpicked. And then I realized I really love eating meat and having that as an option within what I ingest. I realized it serves my body.
Last year I gained a lot of weight. And although I don’t understand why or how; it was a practice of communion with myself and my ever changing form. I could look in the mirror and see Love. Joy. Light. Things I wanted to change. Things I was okay with not fully loving. Comfortability. And eventually that season passed on its own and I began running again, and dancing to beyoncé every morning, and tuning my body because of Love and the desire to feel even better, stronger, more flexible, and to use my body as it was designed.
I began feeling specific tissues inside my body and engaging them in the way they’re built to be engaged. Anatomy is my Love language. Learning what’s actually inside me, how I’m woven, connected nature, immerses me in gratuitous self-love and appreciation. I’ve learned how to release layers of shame, guilt, and my own biases through seeing what we all really are: fractal forms of nature.
Did you know our small intestine looks just like sea kelp with its base connected directly to the spine? (low back pain say whaaat.) It has the same transparent quality ~ letting the light pass through. Did you know that there’s intricate muscles weaving up each vertebrae like a corset that’s main purpose in life is to keep us supported and upright? (they’re my fav.) And that our bones, neural pathways, and cartilage have the ability to heal and reshape themselves via SAID principles? Just like how a cut on our skin eventually becomes skin again.
Knowing all this. Knowing all the ways my body is working for me inspires such a deep relationship with all of me. And encourages a deep beauty and reverence even when I touch my back fat and wish it was gone. Here I don’t understand why it’s there.. and my body does. And that means that somehow it’s working for me and that’s enough.
The other day I was admiring someone’s artwork and I had my hands resting gently on my belly. The artist looked at me and said something like “oh joy!” referring to my belly. She thought I was pregnant. Because why else would I have my hands resting gently on my belly? I was fascinated because I realized, of course! it’s normal and acceptable for women to only touch their own bellies or be in love with their own bellies when they’re creating another life. And it’s so forgein to touch and offer love to our bellies as a whole person who is creating life without a fetus in their womb. And that even this small communal gesture with ourselves sends ripples of new ways of being into the world.
It’s everyday. It’s everyday that I wake up with me. And even when I turn outward, looking for something.. I am reminded by myself or others that it’s really me I’m looking for. And when I come home again, I hug myself and say hello.
“As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~ Marianne Williamson