Are you taking up residence inside your own skin? Or, are you permitting others (loved ones, peers, multi-national corporations, and the like) tell you how to feel about yourself?
Recently, I was watching the film Miss Representation, and I must admit, though I consider myself to be a media-literate person overall – I am still experiencing the reverberations of shock and horror over the multitude of external forces that I permit into my consciousness as it relates to my experience of my body.
I encourage you to watch this brief clip from the film:
Now, I will say I’m not entirely in love with this film for a couple of reasons – mainly, that it focuses primarily on White and heteronormative populations, as well as the basic premise of woman-as-mother-figure, BUT it is very powerful.
On Occupying Your Own Body:
As a culture women are brought up to be fundamentally insecure. [Lisa Ling]
It is barely possible to conceive about the many ways that the media impacts the way that each and every one of us thinks about our bodies, lives, possessions, homes, children, and professions, even those who would like to believe that they are free from any such associations. Regrettably, the media sneaks in when you are least expecting it – the billboard that catches your eye as you are idly day dreaming on the way home from work, the “kind” advice of a co-worker, the excitement about Disney princesses that your four year old brings home from school.
However, it is possible to make the decision to remain present within your own mind and skin, considering the impact of the world around you on your thought processes, decision-making, or attitude about yourself. It is possible to consume media intelligently, and to have conversations with others on it’s reach and impact. It is possible to make the decision to stop buying – to use your money politically to support businesses that you feel supported by and aligned with.
You can’t be what you can’t see. [Marie Wilson]
Very often, people ask me why I blog. They ask me why I want so many aspects of my lived experience to be broadcast out loud to the anonymous internet – sometimes opening myself up for heavy criticism and pointed remarks about my weight or beliefs. I blog because I have lived these experiences, and I don’t want to be coiled up in my own silence and shame any more. I want to model that for other people, and if it is possible that these actions permit just one single other person to free themselves from their fear or hurt or shame, then it has been worth it.
We need more people in this world to stand up and say this is what I believe in. For example, I believe that all people should live in a world where they are free to love themselves, no matter what their body shape, gender identity, size, race, geographical location, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or level of ableness. I also believe that this is possible, and that it’s something that I’m willing to commit my life to.
I believe that we all have the potential to become better versions of ourselves – but by that I mean, more loving, more trusting, more compassionate, and not more beautiful, thinner, or better groomed.
I believe that in a world with few visible role models, we need to actively look for people that inspire us and share them with one another, so that we might create a culture around bringing people up instead of tearing people down.
It’s extremely important for women to be writing their own stories. [Rosario Dawson]
Above all, I believe this.
Once upon a time, someone told me that if I didn’t write my story, some one else would, and that I probably wouldn’t like what I read. I started writing then, and once I started writing, I couldn’t stop. I started this blog, primarily so that I could process my fear and hope for the world around me as it related to body image. I needed a place to transform the horrifying conversations I was overhearing or TV shows I was watching, into something beautiful that I could take pride in.
But it’s not all about me. I’d love to encourage YOU to write more, to detail your own lived experience and re-frame your relationship with your bodies and with food.
Once upon a time, I created Body Lovin’ Homework with exactly this intent, and now I’m ready to kick it up a notch. I have slowly started creating an Ebook of exercises and explanation, a bible of how and WHY to use writing to get to know yourself better, but I need your help. If you are someone who has used any of these prompts in the past (either personally or publicly on your blog), I want to hear from you. If you are someone who has always wanted to get involved and wants to be a part of this anthology, I want to hear from you too.
I am looking for people who want their voices to be heard, want their stories to be read, and want to inspire others to pick up a pen and get to work.
If this sounds like something that you’re interested in, leave a comment here or send me an email. If this sparks your interest, and you’re eagerly waiting for this Ebook to launch – the tentative date is Valentines Day, but I will keep you in the know.
Yes, our society and ever-present media influence IS powerful, but we are not without our own tools or our own minds. We are not without our own communities, built upon the tenets of helping one another and reaching out in love.
I’m not sure about you, but I’m pretty excited about that.