Friends, I have been reading A LOT. I love it.
Never have I ever had so much time to devote to boundless education in my favorite subjects.
The past year has defined me. I now know that my goal is to help people feel better about their bodies. I’ve been trying to do this through aerial instruction for nearly a decade. Aerial helped me feel better about my body so I thought that teaching it would do the same for others.
I wasn’t going deep enough. No matter how strong or talented my students became, I still heard sounds of distaste for their incredible instrument (their body). My ears are particularly attuned to these sounds because I struggled with my body image for years.
As a teenager I fostered contempt for my size because despite being a thin white woman of european descent, my body still wasn’t right for ballet. I could list all the problems (as I often did in bed at night as a teenager) but I won’t. Suffice to say, it was a long list.
Then, almost as if by magic, those feelings started to go away. It wasn’t magic, it was circus. I had begun pursuing aerial dance and it was changing my body. My arms and core were getting stronger and my body felt “lighter”. Then, I moved to California to pursue circus and things improved even more. I saw more diverse bodies each day than I ever saw in a ballet studio.
I was feeling great, right where I belonged.
Then, I tore my meniscus and had to have surgery.
I had to stop doing aerial and all of a sudden those negative thoughts about my body came back. As it turns out, I actually hadn’t learned how to love my body. What I loved were my muscles, being “toned” and having an occasional 6 pack. Once those things seemed threatened I was right back where I was 10 years ago. 19 and hating my body.
That hate hurts. It hurts me and it hurts other people. Then I remembered all the humans all over the world that feel some form of contempt for their bodies. I hate that! I hate when people hate themselves. There is so much hate out there being projected onto you at all times, the last place you need it from is yourself. Ahhhh. It hurts me.
SOoooooo, how did I get over it?
I’ll tell you the secret. I’m not over it and never will be. My body image (and maybe yours too) is very tied into my mental health. And how is my mental health right now? . . .
How is yours?
Yeah, it’s not great. However, now that I’ve made that connection (depressed=poor body image) I am ARMED. I have a defense.
I can make a decision. When I’m depressed I can try not to look in the mirror. The mirror sucks. Or, I can remember (while staring in the mirror) that mirrors suck and my depressed mood is projecting this image for me.
SOOOooooo why am I telling you? Because I want you to talk to me about your body image. I want to hear about the shifts. I want to learn about how you dismantle yourself. I want to learn how to help you arm yourself.
My first form of defense, these books:
Health at Every Size, Linda Bacon
The Body is not an Apology, Sonya Renee Taylor (Oakland)
Because I am not trying to arm Jeff Bezos, I purchased these books from Bookshop.org an organization that redistributes the profits from its sales to actual brick and mortar bookstores. Also if you use This Link I receive $$ towards my next book purchase.