This week, February 22-28 is National Eating Disorder Awareness week friends. I saw this t-shirt on Etsy some time ago but just finally bought one. Doing so was an act of self love, self care and self affirmation. This amazing (refashioned) shirt is from Nalgona Positive Shop on Etsy. Gloria Lucas is the brain child behind the shirt and Nalgona Positive Pride which is a community dedicated to decolonial healing and eating disorder awareness for a diverse fat positive community. NPP was “started in response to the pervasiveness of hetero-normative white supremacist ideals in love your body campaigns.” So Much YES.
Since I returned to Instagram and began my self love journey, I have been participating in monthly yoga challenges. I have even won prizes in challenges despite my own fears/bias of not being the right type to be seen, much less recognized for my expression of being in my body. But even with all of the amazing support, validation, Likes and beautiful comments I receive, I find myself comparing my body to those lithe white women that are in the ads for lululemon and who exist in the world, in your yoga class and on Instagram. This is not healthy, this comparison. I am reminded of that quote, “Comparison is the Thief of Joy”- Theordore Roosevelt. And add that it is also the killer of solidarity. And we need to be in solidarity with each other.
It is not healthy for me to measure my body and self image to another’s, period. It devalues me to measure myself by this image that has been forced upon me as a norm in the context of Yoga. It also reminded me that to associate yoga with a white fitness oriented thin women instead of Indian men from whom this spiritual restorative practice began is very much about colonization. It is in those moments that I recognize and really feel the battle cry that we Decolonize Body Love. (*Even moreso if you subscribe to the theory that yoga originated in Egypt/Northern Africa before migrating to India. Fascinating!)
Radical self love and self acceptance is my battle-cry for the year. My year of love begins with self. All of myself, just as I am with dark skin, big belly, large thighs, massive calved, fat, gap toothed nappy haired black woman. What’s not to love. Truly. LOVE all of myself. I have to radically love and accept the body I am in and that involves removing a lot of propaganda I’ve been force fed my entire life. This propaganda of an ideal body hurts us all. This propaganda can lead to low self esteem, self image and eating disorders. Replacing that propaganda with positive messages and actions is a daily struggle. One that brings me tears and joy. Today it makes me proud. #Proud2BMe.
Share your #loveyourrealselfie on social media and check out the NEDA National Eating Disorder Awareness organization for information and resources on eating disorders. Visit their website or helpline: http://www.NationalEatingDisorders.org, NEDA Helpline: 800-931-2237.