I am reading a book called “The Body is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love” by Sonya Renee Taylor and oh my have I been challenged to invite difference and understanding, not only within how I view my body, but EveryBODY. If you have a body, than this book is for you.
If you read my previous posts over the past decade, there is a theme of self-acceptance. Within Sonya’s powerful words, I’ve been challenged to reassess the ideal of self-acceptance, because there is a beautiful radical place beyond that…and that is self-love. How did I never understand or know about this place?
You see acceptance is not an actionable word. It’s passive. It just is. To accept something doesn’t invite freedom, power, or love. When I accept something, it’s usually because there is no other choice if I want to move forward. I accept begrudgingly. I accept that I am 43. I accept that I have cellulite in all the areas. I accept that there are lines and paths on my face which trace my memories and my stories of both pain and joy. The years of feeling have etched a map and I hope to have more laugh lines than frown lines.
But to LOVE myself as is? Radical Self-Love at that?
How would that change my life?
How would that change another’s life?
How would that change my view of others?
How would that change how I treat myself and others?
How would that change the way I Mother?
How could that change the world?
I am going to walk off this path of thought and go down a different trail (I promise it meets up eventually). I have been thinking about my Why as it relates to health and wellness. There is so much dark, ugly, and gross when it comes to the Fitness/Beauty/Diet industry. An industry built on selling the belief that you must change yourself. Insert some sarcasm…It is simply audacious to believe you could actually love yourself without the cream, the lashes, the nails, the outfit, or the shake you drink to shrink. You silly girl, drink the kool aide, you’ll feel and look better if you do.
Back in 2003 when I finally did the work (or I should say started the work) to sit in my shame, and to find ways to process it all without bingeing on food, my Why was To heal. The result was weight loss. I started fuelling my body with love-yoself-high-energy foods packed with vitamins and nutrients, moving for strength and mobility, and reading/writing/sharing to fulfill my spirit.
I struggled with the attention as it related to my physical appearance because it wasn’t about that. “You always had a pretty face” or “You look so good now” further impacted the message within that I was not worthy unless I took up less space. And to be worthy, I must fit into an ideal which was (and still is) impossible to even obtain much less maintain. Nor did I want that.
I love going to the gym, and getting lost in a workout. My ideal hour is spent lifting heavy things with music streaming in my ear holes. I prefer to work out solo, it’s a form of meditation for me. I lift to feel uplifted. It empowers me, makes me feel amazing, and boosts my mood every session. I do not lift to lift my ass; which is why it’s truly hard to search for different workouts online without the Why being attached to aesthetics.
This is also the reason I choose not to chat about diets as much as possible as it triggers something within that feels really uncomfortable and my shame voice lifts her little hand to take over my mind chatter. Most “diets” usually come with a magical promise of how much weight you can lose within a specific time frame (usually short term). There is no data or disclaimer attached about what it will do to your body long term. How much it will impact ALL parts of you: Body, Mind, and Spirit. How it will deplete your energy, your stamina, your esteem, your worth. How it will create an insatiable feeling of never enough. It will not tell you that no matter how much you diet, your image will always appear flawed and distorted as you analyze your reflection in the mirror. It will not support you, or love you…this new you. Because the WHY is to be something other than you are. The message: You are not enough without shrinking yourself.
So my friends, this is how I make decisions lately. I listen to my Whys. It helps me to sort the clutter. To make choices about what I read, who I listen to, what I eat, how I move my body, how I protect my daily peace.
My why is to heal.
My why is to weave all parts together Body, Mind, and Spirit.
My why is to find this beautiful place that is Radical Self-Love.
What is your why?
Will you walk with me to this new place?
It’s actually not a new place at all, it’s an old place we were born into. As kids we loved the shit out ourselves and others. I was googling words to describe such a place and my thesaurus recommended Utopia; however, the definition is a place of ideal perfection. This place is not perfection. I want to seek imperfections. I want to celebrate difference. I want to invite understanding. I want to know how others navigate life in their body. I “want” is an invitation to change. I will change as I explore and open my heart and mind.
I am just scratching the surface of learning (as I’m sure you can tell). I am truly grateful to Sonya Renee Taylor for articulating her thoughts into written word, which are now spinning and weaving pathways within my brain. Thank you Sonya.
Dive Deeper my friends…
Listen: Brené with Sonya Renee Taylor on “The Body is Not an Apology”
Explore and Read: The Body is Not an Apology Website (where you can purchase the book, and read further)
From my heart to yours,