Can you remember what it felt like? Can you remember a time when you felt so free inside of your body, so joyfully alive, that you radiated? I think we all start out this way, knowing that our bodies are instruments to live in and love. But somewhere along the way, for many of us, our bodies become our enemies. They become something we need to control, to manipulate, and yes, to punish. I was trying to think back in my life to exactly when that shift happened. For something so monumental, you would think that there would be a specific moment that would stand out.
I have memories of sunny days spent clambering over rocks like a mountain goat, or floating down the Chilliwack river in an endless loop. Jump, splash, swim, climb out, run back, repeat. I remember my first BMX with a great tenderness. It was my first taste of freedom. Bike rides to the corner store, where we traded pop bottles for candy. Riding back, sucking on a lollipop, hands waving in the air. There was no self-conscious anguish about how my body would appear to others. I lived inside my skin with a casual grace and joyful abandon. When I was hungry, I ate. When I was tired I slept. When I felt like dancing, I danced.
I remember not one moment, but a series of moments when everything changed. The Sears bathing suit department. My mother insisting that we needed to buy my new bathing suit from the women's section because my newly formed breasts made the children's department bathing suits indecent. The women's bathing suits had an extra layer to them, a brownish "flesh" coloured liner to conceal the nipples that might announce my impending entrance into womanhood. Said liner poked out of the top of my bathing suit during our school trip to the YMCA pool, and was mistaken by one of my classmates for material I had used to stuff my bra. His loud declaration across the pool brought humiliation and shame. "She stuffed her bra!"
Another moment of bathing suit humiliation, again during a class trip, this time to the waterslides. Another loud declaration in public. "When was the last time you shaved your legs?" At 11 years old, the answer was never.
I remember my father, clearly uncomfortable with my burgeoning sexuality, retreating physically from me. He took to calling me "Busty" that year. I remember boys, trying to fondle those breasts in backyards and behind trees. I could not escape the fact that puberty hit early and hard. My body was no longer my own. Wherever I went, people felt free to judge it, to leer at it, and quite often, to grope it. I learned that my body was too much. That I should hide it, because it was something shameful. My body became my enemy.
I look at my children now, and I see that they live in this state of oneness with their physical form. When a song comes on with an infectious beat, they literally cannot stop themselves from moving. When they run, they run because it feels good to do so. They inspire me to demand more of my life than what I have become accustomed to.
I want to remember that freedom. I want to let go of anything that gets between me and living joyfully inside of my skin. And I want others to know that freedom with me. I hear so many women speak disdainfully about their bodies. It is our language now, this language of too much or not enough. This is how we speak of the sacred vessels we are gifted with. Instead of feeling grateful for the miracle of legs that allow us to walk and run and dance, we bemoan the cellulite on our thighs. Instead of celebrating the bellies that nurtured our children as they grew in our wombs, we agonize over our stretch marks. Instead of loving the evidence of a life filled with laughter and sorrow and love, we complain about the lines around our eyes.
So do you remember? Do you remember a time before all of this judgement and shame became a daily part of your dialogue? Do you remember what it feels like to be truly free and joyful in your body? We are all little miracles. And I want to remember that, every day. Will you join me?
When we don't love our bodies, we don't love ourselves. When we don't love ourselves, we waste time, energy and money trying to "fix" ourselves. When we don't love ourselves, we make poor choices in our relationships, careers and finances. What if we could spend that time, energy and money doing the things we love, the things that light us up and make our world a better place? What if we could choose to live joyfully inside of our bodies? We believe that every body deserves love, starting with self love.
An empowering and inspiring day of speakers, joyful movement, and self reflection designed to make YOU love your body!
Coming February 2016 in beautiful Port Moody, BC. The location is easily accessible by transit, and has plenty of parking.
The brainchild of Joyelle Brandt, author/illustrator of the children's book Princess Monsters from A to Z and the upcoming One Act of Kindness. Joyelle is passionate about making the world a kinder place for all of us to live in. She is putting together a group of amazing people to co-create this event.
If you want create something awesome, join us!
Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org along with your area of interest:
Day of Volunteer
Social Media Cheerleader
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