I didn't have a full length mirror in my home for many, many years. My body was split up into what I could fit in the bathroom mirror when standing as far back as possible or, what I could capture with a compact one, scanning myself up down like I was checking for radiation. To see my body in it's entirety was a novelty and rarely pleasurable. It felt separate and disobedient, consistently presenting something that wasn't quite the right shape or density.
Don't. Look. Down.
If I look down, will I still be able to see my toes?
Probably best just not to look down at all.
Don't. Look. Up.
If I look up, will I catch sight of myself in the mirror?
I haven't got the energy for that today - the disappointment, the disgust, the judgment...
It took a long time for me to accept that we are all subject to a genetic lottery. Length of limbs, muscle distribution - my hips will always be a certain width because my pelvis is not going anywhere, and that's okay...preferable actually. The body goes through seasons, consistently responding to life changes and preparing for different stages of our existence.
The Body Positivity Movement is a beautiful thing but for some, the jump from self-loathing to proclaiming 'I love my body!' is too wide a leap. If we've spent a majority of our lives refusing to look down, hiding under clothing and absorbing the messaging of whatever body-shape is fashionable at the time, admiring ourselves in a thong seems like an impossibility.
Enter 'Body Neutrality'. A bridge between hate and love.
Regularly expressing gratitude for the things our body does for us as opposed to it's aesthetic. All those automatic actions that keep us alive - lungs breathing, heart beating, daily repair.
Our Body is the vessel for our Human journey. Perhaps we could start working in collaboration with it instead of cursing it and harshly judging it. We could get to know it properly and congratulate it for all that it's achieved despite our critical eye and taking it for granted. Perhaps we could start cultivating a relationship which respects it.
And what's the bedrock of any good relationship?
We need to connect with our body in language it understands - touch, movement and nourishment.
Maybe then we can finally start listening out for the important information it has to share with us.
Wishing Only Love.
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