Oh, What a Glorious Body

thank you to: http://girlzwithcurves.tumblr.com
thank you to: http://girlzwithcurves.tumblr.com

I recently took a solid fall on the rain-soaked wooden stairs outside my apartment.  It was the kind of fall you dread, as I was paying absolutely no attention as I walked down the rainy steps, and thus fell, without catching myself, onto my back.  It was a fall that knocked the wind out of me, and was hard enough that I had to run through thinking about whether I was actually hurt.

Thankfully, once again, my sturdy body sustained some heavy bruising, and nothing more.  As I hobbled away towards my car, I was hit with a wave of gratitude.  I knew that could have been bad.  I’m a rather clumsy person, and I fall a lot, but that was a bad fall; the kind that damages.

Yet, my body was only slightly phased by it.

I am grateful for this body I have been given.

That statement takes work. You know what I mean. Saying that, meaning that, and repeating that out loud to anyone else, is not the norm.

The other day I was looking through some photos from a recent trip with a friend.  I’d snapped a bunch of photos of my charming friend throughout the weekend, and we were reviewing them (as good friends must do with one another).

As she scrolled through the photos, she scrunched her face a little, and commented, Ugh, I’m just feeling some body shame right now. Is it terrible that I hate how I look in some of these?

I cringed a little. I know exactly what she means. I know the feeling of your heart falling as someone tags you in a harmless photo – and you curse them for showing you what their camera saw. And I wish to goodness I didn’t.

After falling, and feeling the gratitude for my strong, hard-to-break body, I began to ponder our conversation. My friend is a curvy woman like me, and I think that she – both in reality and in photos – is damn sexy. I mean she’s seriously sultry and gorgeous.

Does she have the body of the models in Vogue magazine? No…but how many of us do? And yet, she is magnetic – photos, reality, “imperfections,” and all.

And I started to wonder.  When I cringe at my own photos, and feel uncomfortable about how I look…who is that serving? Certainly not me. That kind of body self-critique is full of pain. And if I can look at my friend and see how freaking gorgeous she is in photos, why do I have trouble seeing that in myself?

I’ve worked hard to love my body. Fighting both society’s and a familial tendency for body critique makes me feel like a body warrior on my good days.  (But who am I kidding? Somedays I feel nothing like a body warrior…I shrink, I critique, and I border on despair as I look at photos of myself or my sturdy ankles.)

But this is not about negativity. No. This is about overcoming all that shit.

This post is about feeling expansive, loving, and grateful – in our bodies.  For thanking our bodies when we fall down and don’t break.  For eating big green salads and feeling energetic and powerful. For eating pizza and loving every bite.  For trying out a new yoga class – because you can. For climbing up a mountain, until you have to stop, sit down on a rock, and breathe and take in the view (and especially if you do that often, but you still DO IT).

What if every time we saw a photo of ourselves, we just let the negativity pass (it’s just fear, we know)… and then lightened up, and thought, Oh, how perfectly human I am, or Oh, what a brilliant spirit dwells in this body, or Wow, I look [insert positive word -{lovely, sexy, amazing, glorious}]! And we really really meant it. This is one more step in being kind and loving to ourselves.

It may not be a solution. But it is a step. When we are kind and loving to ourselves, and really listen to our bodies, they tell us what they need.  But we can’t hear very well if we’re always critiquing.

So, this week ~ when you see a photo of yourself ~ pause.  Notice your thoughts. Are they gentle, kind, and loving – or are they full of fear, self-criticism, and pain?  Try to become gentler with your thoughts, and start telling yourself another story ~ one filled with wisdom, goodness, intuition, and nourishment.

And when you fall down, try and be extra good to yourself ~ knowing that you are strong and human ~ and we all can heal.

Love, love, love,



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