This summer, I’m doing many things I feel passionate about –
I’m collaborating with a glorious friend (and wellness coach) Blaze Bell.
I’m gathering a community of wonderful women together to support one another.
Part of why I’m so excited about this opportunity relates to my own experience of life.
I remember first noticing I was larger than many of my peers as early as elementary school. I’m not sure I added any value judgment to the observation when I was that young, but I remember at some point becoming aware of my size.
As I grew older, that size thing became more relevant for me. I knew I was bigger than a lot of the girls around me, and that started to become a negative thing. Media images reminded me constantly that not only should I be smaller, but also be tanner, and definitely sexier. I had no idea how to be any of that.
By the time I was in my late teens and early twenties, I was very clear that size (in my case, being larger than average) was a problem. I tried to exercise regularly and eat well, but it didn’t seem to matter. I was not a thin person – I was a thick person. During that time, I was reminded by people very close to me that my zaftig size was unacceptable and that there would be serious consequences for me if I didn’t start taking care of myself and losing weight.
At some point during that time, in the midst of feeling pretty awful, I remember considering my options. I was so frustrated with my size, and I knew one of the choices I could make was to just stop eating. I could. I didn’t want to, but I recognized that was an option, and I knew women around me took that option to become thin.
I never could quite bring myself to make that choice. I recall deciding that instead of starving myself, I was going to resolve to be as healthy as I could be in my body. It felt revolutionary to accept myself and love myself at the time (and it still does). Admittedly, I hoped that through my combination of exercise and eating well, I would figure out the magic code to being thin.
I’m now 36 years old, and in the past 15 years I’ve still never figured that one out.
In the meantime, though, I decided I wanted to be a positive role model for other curvy women. I wanted my value and self-worth not to be placed on the size of my body, but my contributions, the way I treated others, my kindness, my intellect, and my warmth.
What I determined is that I wanted to feel joyful in my body. I wanted to move my body in ways that felt strong and spacious, and I wanted to eat amazing food that made my body feel energetic.
Back then and now, I did not want to be ruled by messages from society or anyone else about what I should look like and what size I should be.
I care about my health. I exercise regularly, cook and eat healthy food (mostly), do my best to drink enough water, deal with stress, and get enough rest. I meditate. I walk in the woods. I go on adventures. I spend time with loved ones. I wear clothes that feel comfortable and happy.
I still notice some days that I’m larger than average. Some days I wish my clothes fit differently, or that I could run faster, or that I wasn’t the largest woman in the yoga class. Some days I feel a little self-conscious and some days I’m hard on myself.
But mostly, I feel amazing. It’s not like everything changed overnight. I am intentional about being kind and loving to myself. This means I take care of myself, speak kindly to myself, and do my best to love and appreciate the body I was born into.
I don’t feel like I have it all figured out, but on most days I do feel healthy, happy, connected, and joyful.
When my friend Blaze Bell (the fantastic wellness coach) and I were trying to figure out what to call our new four week online course, we settled on the word Radiance. We decided that word spoke to everything we wanted to be in solidarity with other women about – and it described what we wanted to teach. We want to develop more connection with each other, our bodies, and explore the joy and freedom that comes with body love and positivity. We are passionate about this topic, and are so excited to share our expertise, resources, and hearts with you.
You are radiant. I am radiant. We are beautiful, unique, and glorious no matter what the size of our body is – because we are humans with flaws, imperfections, and so much goodness.
If you want to learn more about our four week online body love and positivity course – Radiance – here’s the link for more info. Sign up by Friday, July 1st if you’d like to join us during the month of July.
In the meantime, promise me you’ll notice one thing about your body today to like. Find one part of you that goes unnoticed often – but that you like. It could be earlobe, a freckle, a mole, your big butt, your tiny calves, one toe, or your funny elbow. Give it a squeeze and send good vibes to your body. I trust there is something, if not many things about you, that are incredibly lovely. Find them. Celebrate them.