11 Aug Disapproval
My colleague and I were recently discussing our content for our upcoming workshop.
And something she said made me ‘reflect’ on full-length mirrors.
Now, they’re not something I’ve avoided, or ever been particularly aware of. But you know, it’s winter and freezing and I’m brave enough if I can change clothes hastily in front of a heater.
And so recently while luxuriating in a warm hotel room, I took a longer and more relaxed than usual look at my body, clothes-free. I noticed some changes, some I approved of, some were not so favourable.
And then it hit me that throughout my life I haven’t really liked my body overall. Sure, it did awesome things, but there was the aesthetic that was not up to my standards.
See, I used to think there was too much fat. I had lifetimes of feeling self-conscious about my body and breast size. And reflecting on this now, they weren’t my standards, but they were drummed into me from early on.
But when the fat went, I suddenly thought there wasn’t enough of me – it was fairly quick for me to think there were too many bones poking out, and not enough boobs. And parts of society criticise that too.
And really it wasn’t that dramatic a difference.
Seriously. There was no happy medium for me.
This seems to be others’ experience too – no happy medium with something about our bodies or appearance a constant concern.
Some of the things I’ve heard my friends say about their bodies, I didn’t even realise were things.
It reminds me of a scene from Mean Girls – a true documentary about high school.
Karen: God. My hips are huge!
Gretchen: Oh please. I hate my calves.
Regina: At least you guys can wear halters. I’ve got man shoulders.
Cady: [voiceover] I used to think there was just fat and skinny. But apparently there’s lots of things that can be wrong on your body.
Gretchen: My hairline is so weird.
Regina: My pores are huge.
Karen: My nail beds suck.
[pause. All look at Cady]
Cady: I have really bad breath in the morning.
So, women. Please and pretty please.
There is always something we could focus on as the next ‘project’ or ‘spot’.
The media portrays and oversaturates us with an ideal image, and hugely profits from us believing that our body needs to match it. Or that our body is bad, wrong, or must be prodded and changed until it does.
Do we need to continue with this pain of not measuring up? And then chasing solutions in a mad attempt to try to measure up – like wishing for (or having) plastic surgery, overspending on makeup and body-squishing underwear, ‘diets’ and other torture implements just to measure up to someone else’s apparent ideal?
And the moment of truth: what do you miss out on, when you spend your time and energy on all these pursuits? When your emotions are engaged with feeling less than because of a shape or number, rather than your immediate surroundings, your loved ones, and your passions?
What’s more meaningful and valuable to you?
These are some of the themes we’ll be exploring in our Workshop Body Love.
But there will be plenty more goodness than this.
Because ultimately, there are always things we can find, say and think about our bodies.
So in the workshop I’ll be inviting you to feel. To connect with your body beyond your appearance.
To feel yourself being alive from inside. To feel gracious, grateful and expanded from within.
If this speaks to you, if you’re feeling this, I hope to see you there. If you’re in another town outside Sydney, email me and let me know.
Tickets are here.