Bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Well, I hadn’t discovered anything new here. The thing we keep forgetting about though is that bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and that is OK. What is more, that’s actually far better than OK – it’s wonderful.
In the culture that perfect body image sits on such a high pedestal, it is something that is easy to forget. What is perfect body image in our culture? I’m afraid it’s young, enhanced and similar looking. There is not much space for diversity, or for simply getting older. The pedestaled image must remain young by all means, and people all over the world are ready to spend hard earned money to maintain this icon.
It hit me hard between the eyes when someone recently told me that I don’t look my age. It was supposed to be a complement and I took it as such, but it really made me think. What does it mean to look your age? Is it even important? Let me tell you, there is a scary magic to the number 40. When I was approaching my 40th, I was told (by another woman to be exact) that I’m approaching the end date of my shelf-life and that from now on everything goes south. It scared the hell out of me. So I took my 40 year old body to the mirror, and I started to see what others wanted to program me to see, and I became body conscious. I saw all the imperfections and I wasn’t sure what to do with that. I was thrown right back into my own teenage hood, and I didn’t like it one bit. So I’ve spent quite some time looking in the mirror and taming my self-consciousness. I decided to refuse giving in to the age stereotype.
We are beautiful just the way we are! I am beautiful just the way I am and my body is a witness and a map of my past adventures and hardships. It’s a map of who I have become, who I grew to be, and I am proud of it. Each of my scars tells the story of the battles I fought – a battle with a broken spine, a battle with cancer, and the one where my body opened wide, and a new life could come through. Why should I be embarrassed by them? Why should they be hidden? Each of these battles shaped the woman I am today. Each holds their own truth, beauty, and life-lesson. Let me tell you of what I can see now when I lovingly look in the mirror. My body holds in itself the magic of metamorphosis. It changes, but so do I. I’m growing as a person and my body is different than it was 20 years ago – bigger, softer, and cuddlier. I metamorphosed from an innocent girl into a conscious woman. From budding breasts of youth to mature ones filled with life giving sustenance of motherhood and sexual pleasure. From hips straight in girlish innocence to ones curved with wisdom, strength and flexibility of childbearing. To hips wide enough to find support for my own physical and emotional needs, and wide enough to let a child shelter safely behind. From legs created for running and chasing in childhood to those that take me places, propel me and ones becoming the band for encircling a lover. My body protects supports and contains – this is its purpose and it fulfils it wonderfully. But my body is also a repository for memory. Everything that happens to me, the good and the bad imprints itself in my soft tissues and in my bones. It comes out when touched, when pressure is implemented and held – and that brings healing and aids in processing our past and provides supreme psychic and emotional nourishment. I know from my Zero Balancing sessions the importance of held memories and their necessity that leads to healing, peace but also to growth and the ability to move on. My body gives me grounding, weight and is filled with feelings. It can be touched, caressed and loved, but also abused and hurt. My body teaches me who I am and shows me my physical place in the world. My body does all that and so much more. Why shouldn’t I look at it with love and gratitude? Why should I compare it to anything else? Our bodies are beautiful and in their beauty they cannot be too much of this or not enough of that. They are what they are.
I’m almost a 42 year old and for the first time in my life I’m happy with my body and the way I look. I like looking at myself and I would like to invite all of you to do the same – to get naked, and in front of the mirror truly look at yourself and appreciate what your body is telling you. What stories does it weave? What does it tell you of who you are and where did you come from? What maps of secret places does it unravel? Now it seems so obvious to me – let’s look at ourselves with love and compassion. If we won’t find the space in our hearts to love ourselves, how can we expect that from our lovers? How can we expect our daughters and sons to find their bodies beautiful, important and right just the way they are, if we won’t pave the way for them first in our own sub-consciousness? We have the capacity to change the body image so prevalent in our culture, to something healthier, more beautiful and sustainable. Let’s listen to the stories told to us by our bodies. My body is singing and it’s full of life. I am a woman and I’m standing in my own power. Would you like to stand with me?