Becoming Present in MY Body
Updated: Sep 12, 2019
"Who would you be without the thought I need to lose weight?"- @thebodylovesociety
I saw this post on Instagram and instantly felt convicted. I thought of all the times that I told myself I weighed this much, I'd do this thing or when I get to this size, this is what I'd do. I had a whole laundry list of all the things I wanted to do or was waiting to do until the day I decided to just live. My relationship with my body has always been complex. On some days, I feel beautiful, confident and ready to take on the world, on others I wear hoop earrings and lipstick to compensate for the fact that I just don't feel confident or beautiful. You may also experience this yourself because we are constantly nagged about our bodies, told they are inferior or marketed everything under the sun to lose weight and be thin under the guise of being "healthy". Now don't get me wrong, I don't think there is anything wrong with losing weight, because I think we should be able to do whatever we want with our own bodies but I think it's important to be mindful that you can do pretty much anything you want at any size and you shouldn't have to wait until you fit back into the jeans you had at 12 to do so!
We spend so much time wanting to be a certain way that we forget we are living and missing the moments that matter-- the memories that are left to be made. The day I decided to become fully present in MY body, is the day I gained control over me. I realized that I've got one body that does amazing things for me and is there to get me through all I want to do. I realized that I had to take care of this body I'm living in and allow myself to enjoy her as she is-- love handles, cellulite and all.
Interestingly enough, I've found myself in a constant battle with myself as I've lost about 60 pounds in the last year and a half. I found myself wrestling with the idea of perhaps perpetuating diet culture and having to deal with even more commentary around my body and existence. I found myself saying often, that I just want to be "healthy" not really knowing what that means or feeling completely ambiguous about it.To me, I was probably as healthy as I thought I could be with PCOS, to my doctors my numbers on the scale mattered. What I had to come to terms with, is that there is no one specific measure of healthy, which is expressed in the following quote from one of my favorite books:
“Equally damaging is our insistence that all bodies should be healthy. Health is not a state we owe the world. We are not less valuable, worthy, or lovable because we are not healthy. Lastly, there is no standard of health that is achievable for all bodies.” ― Sonya Renee Taylor, The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love
I had to figure out what "Being healthy" meant for me and made tangible goals to achieve it. I shifted my focus from the numbers on the scale to my body and how I felt in it. I made a conscious decision to live for me and by my rules. I would admit, it is NOT always easy. I've struggled to feel beautiful in clothes and even have moments where I just wish I could have the weight back. Realistically, it's not plausible for me as it's helped with my PCOS management but at the same time I found myself way more comfortable before. This was an opportunity to confront my thoughts; allow myself to feel what I feel and come to an agreement that I could be comfortable with.
I've learned over the years that I probably will never feel 100% comfortable in my body, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't try. I've learned to love her, forgive myself for any negative thoughts I have about my body and make a conscious decision everyday to live and experience life in the best ways that I can. I'm constantly working on the power of radical self love and what has been truly comforting to me is this quote:
“Radical self-love demands that we see ourselves and others in the fullness of our complexities and intersections and that we work to create space for those intersections.” ― Sonya Renee Taylor, The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love
What I am hoping you take away from this, is the importance of living in your own body. We have to spend time unlearning some of the messages we have gotten around what it means to be healthy, which bodies are or aren't worthy and decide for ourselves how we feel about our own bodies.
As a result, I've done so many things I never thought I could do by focusing on being present in my body. Here are some things I've checked off my "Waiting for the right weight" list to my "Enjoying life in my body list" :
Sushi making class
Pole dancing classes
Jumping off a boat into the ocean
3 minute wall-sit
Swimming at a nude beach in St. Martin
Hiking up to a fort
Climbing 34 inclines to get to the top of La Giralda in Sevilla Spain
Here are 10 other things that I plan to do in the future:
Hike to Macchu Pichu
Take an aerial silks class
Take a ride in a hot air balloon
Complete a 5K
Go zip lining
Go see the Northern lights
Go swimming in the blue lagoon
Go horseback riding
Spend time inside of an igloo
As a bonus, here is a love letter to myself that I wrote for the 2016 University of Michigan Body Monologues series. I hope it inspires you and helps you fall in love with your own body.
I do recognize that some of these things may not be possible for you or your body, so please do create a list of things you can do in your body that will make you feel alive! Feel free to tell me what you are doing on your pursuit of live, love and happiness in the comments!