In the past I have kept myself on the outskirts of the body conversation. I would dip my toe in but not really want to get wet. If you had asked me why, I would most likely complain and throw my hands up over the hypocrisy of it all. I would hold my own experiences with my own body out in-front of me like a shield and avoid anything that could possibly be common ground. Nobody could tell me what this body gig was like. I lived it. You keep you and your body talk over there, thank you very much. I have traveled this road people. You have no idea. So back it up and leave me alone.
I was stuck inside my story. My eating disorder, even when recovery was the road I was traveling, was my excuse to stay small. That said, my healthy sized ego was convinced that in order to be a part of the conversation, I needed answers. I was still trying to find those solid answers but my search felt more like nailing jello to a wall.
I don’t have one story, one day, one moment where this all changed and I decided it was time to shift my perspective and jump into the pool (aka conversation). It has been this slow moving progressive force wearing away at the shield I was holding up until I noticed I could finally see people on the other side and allow myself to be seen. This simple yet profound act of vulnerability makes all that judging and complaining all the more difficult.
We all have a story and our bodies hold these stories. It took us our whole lives to get here. Our bodies, for better or worse, were with us for the ride.
My body remembers being 7 and doing cartwheels in my backyard for hours. I remember the freedom.
My body remembers being 12 and beginning to believe small, pretty, and desired were what was needed for happiness. I remember the fear.
My body remembers being 16 and the exhaustion that came from going days with nothing but gummy bears and water. I remember the pain.
My body remembers being 26 and growing my first baby. I remember the awe.
My body remembers being 35 and fitness was a top priority. I remember the energy.
My body remembers being 40 and what it felt like to have put on new weight and to begin to navigate a new kind of body. I remember the fear and freedom that were suddenly crashing together.
My body now knows being 41. It is beginning to remember and move in new but old ways once again. It never really forgot.
My body has a story for me to own.
“ When we deny the story it defines us. When we own the story, we can write a brave new ending.” ~Brene Brown
It is true that that talking about how we see, feel, and relate to our bodies can be complicated and uncomfortable. It requires a vulnerability that is simply more convenient to avoid. I had said in my earlier post that I wanted to float in this pool (aka conversation). I said that I wanted to lay on my back, feel the sun on my face and let go. Well, I thought about this image and what it really meant. Although a peaceful one, it didn’t feel completely accurate. You see, I want to write a brave new ending. I want to do this with an awareness that comes from rooting down in truth. My body has been waiting for me to remember what it never forgot. I have the strength to stand.
Answers still feel like jello to me. This conversation is deep, wide, and there are waves to jump. We are all bound to find ourselves treading water from time to time. My hope is that as we find our own footing, we reach out and remind one another to simply put our feet down.
Our shared body story is pretty messy one. We can totally drain ourselves with a never ending doggy paddle of complaints, judgement, and flat out avoidance (I am speaking mostly to myself here). Or we can own where we are and what we got. Let’s allow our bodies to remind us of what has always been true, our truth is all the ground we need to stand tall.
Here’s to a brave new ending.