Let’s talk about that ever dangerous and harmful self-love! How amped are you? Good. Me too.
I am a late-twenties woman who--GASP--has a body. How very dare I, I know. Here is the thing--as humorous as that concept is, think about it. How many times a day do you spend apologizing or rationalizing your body? As someone who identifies as female I can tell you that I spent far too much time apologizing for my body for far too long.
Eat that piece of cake for dessert? “Sorry, I mean I am hungry and besides will work it off later.”
Wearing skinny jeans in a size 14-16? “Sorry, I thought they looked good in the store but now I see that you are right, I look like a sausage.”
The examples could go on and on.
This raises the question, what do you do to love and accept you? Storytime…I will wait for you to grab tea and a blanket. Get nice and cozy because stuff is about to get real. Ready? Alright.
From a young age I was active. Whether it was tee-ball/baseball/softball, playing outdoor games all day, or competitively swimming, I was always on the go. As I got older, my body started to change. I started to notice that I was both taller and larger than many of my fellow classmates, but I was still athletic and moved a lot so it was not a problem. Entering college I gained weight. My active life was now in my control and of course I took advantage. Since freshman year my weight has bobbed around as have my strategies for being the “right size”. I have experienced obsessive working out and calorie counting. Times when I would not eat when I was hungry because I hadn’t done anything to “deserve food”. I have bobbled up and down and up and down on a scale as far as my physical weight goes for years and I can honestly say that I hated myself. Then three years ago it all changed.
I was introduced to a concept that I did not understand at first: I have a body and that is okay.
Let me explain because I know it seems plain and straightforward. I was introduced to the idea that there is not a good or a bad body, there is just a body. A body that requires rest just as much as it requires physical activity. A body that requires nourishment to function and that nourishment can't be good or bad because it's nourishment.
This concept freed me from so much self hate and self consciousness. I have been learning (because this is a journey with no end) to undo years of self hate and judgment. I am proud to say that I have gotten to a place where looking at myself in the mirror and the messages of hate pop up I am quick to shut them down. It's not to say that I still don't struggle with workout obsession, but I'm challenging myself to reflect on why I am working out, and if it's not for a list of reasons I've given myself I take a step back.
A key factor in my growth as a person has been the support I have sought out. I have very deliberately surrounded myself, online and in person, who appreciate me for who I am, not how I look and are focused on body positivity themselves. This family that I have found supports each other and reaches out when one of us stumbles, we are conscious in our support and genuinely care about each other's well being. It is something I never expected to have out of friends, but I am grateful to have found.
So, if you take anything from any of this I hope it's this: Love yourself and your body because it is just that, a body.
The journey of self love is a long one, there will be many ups and downs, twists and turns, but it is a worthy journey. So go..start! Do something, no matter how small the action, to remind yourself that you are awesome just as you are and that there isn't a bad way to have a body.
I am a proud millennial. I grew up in the days of playing Oregon Trail on the colorful Macs and MathCrunchers on my home PC. I remember dial up internet and getting WiFi. I have loved Star Wars from a young age, with fond memories of watching the originals with my dad. I collected rocks and Barbies as a kid. I have always loved sports. I played some form of teeball/baseball/softball for almost 11 years and swam competitively for 6 years. Going to professional baseball, soccer, and hockey games are one of my favorite pastimes and during a major sporting event (Olympics, World Cup) you will easily find me at my local sports bar watching the games. I am obsessed with many things including Sherlock (BBC), Marvel Cinematic Universe, Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars. I find myself equally comfortable camping in a tent surrounded by nature or in a bustling city. All of these things and more make up my identity and I consider myself a sum of my parts*.