Body Love: The Journey
There's a lot of body shaming in our society. I don't think anyone's going to deny that. If anything, people will quickly point to the Evils of social media and its easy access to the downward spiral of comparison.
As the summer comes to end it's easy to remember the shame. Maybe there was a time you really wanted to dive into that ocean but didn't want to take off that cover up. Maybe there was the time you declined the beach invite altogether.
There's a level deeper though and this is the invitation I'd really like you to take.
For me, I hate getting my picture taken. My face/forehead/hairline all seem to be in an alliance against me and don't even get me started with my sun spots. I seem to constantly see myself through a camera lens and I don't like what I see.
I realize this sounds 100% negative and it is. I also realize how much this negativity has been holding me back. It's like my mind has decided that the infamous Marianne Williams quote "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?..." ends with "I can't even take a good selfie!"
My body and I have been through a lot together. I seemed to have been sick from the day I was born. In reality I had asthma, a seemingly normal chronic illness these days. Back then, to embrace my inner grandma, there was no easy way to diagnose this. Just like in the movie As Good As It Gets, the doctors told my mom I might have leukemia. I’ve thanked the Universe for the blessing of Asthma every day since I heard that tale.
The thing with asthma is it really messes with your immune system. I had the flu in first grade and was in the hospital for a week. I was in the hospital constantly. By the time I got to high school I was only going once a year. Every fall it was inevitable. I was allergic to the leaves when they changed color which may seem like a curse growing up in New England, but at least I got out of having to rake all those leaves!
As I grew older the asthma related ER visits eventually came to a stop. I began running which I never thought I could do. I even ran a Thanksgiving 5K in 30 degree temperatures. I used to not be able to do any exercise outside in temps colder than 50.
But it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns from there. Instead, I injured my knee from running, I hurt my back (also from running), and I developed IBS, another fun chronic illness.
It’s easy to see my body as weak and not good enough, but I know that’s not true.
Just like people can choose to be happy, they can also choose to see themselves as healthy and strong. That incredibly positive happy zen person is most likely meditating, journaling, taking yoga classes, and has a bliss list in case of any mood emergency. I choose to see myself as healthy and strong. Actually that’s the very mantra I use during a tough run - healthy, strong, right foot, left foot, healthy, strong, right foot, left foot. And it’s the very mantra I’m going to start using everyday.
Get your cameras ready!