Often I find meditating on my self and my body is exactly what I need to get grounded. My body is a place that, for a long time, I had separated from. I distanced myself from the random reflections I would catch in a mirror or a window and always be shocked at what I would see. I disassociated from my body, I was not present in it as if I was an alien inhabiting a vessel not my own. The impact of documenting my yoga journey can not be reflected on enough. It has changed my life.
Yoga has changed my relationship to my body. It has again, connected my sense of being and self to my body and spawned a body love and self acceptance journey. Other people’s shaming can’t compare to my own constant shaming of myself. That will never excuse the bullies out there. I learned that I wasn’t good enough from TV ads, and TV shows, teasing classmates and my well meaning parents, and strangers looking me up and down. The daily microaggressions. The weight loss equals happy life rhetoric became the nasty voice inside my own head beating me down. And its time to let it go. It’s not easy but it is time to reject the “well meaning critics”, the “concerned citizens” and just plain assholes. It’s time to rid myself of my own biases. For me radical self acceptance begins with my big belly. So here is my beginning lovelies.
You have been the bane of my existence for my entire life. I struggle with you, you poor neglected friend. I have ignored you, covered you, never able to hide you but tried in spite of that reality. I have wished you away. I have wished for rolls where I have mass, jiggle where I have girth, most of all I have wished you flatter like the mainstream fashion magazines of my youth, like even the plus size magazines of today.
That cute little fleshy area on others is a mountain on me. I have been asked when am I due too many times. I have been told that I would be perfect if I could slice off this belly of mine. I have believed it too. I am sorry belly. I allowed myself to give in to judgment, the shaming and the littleness of a nation indoctrinated into myself. I gave in to comparisons that serve nothing and no one. Comparisons, do not honor me, my journey and my unique body. Enough is enough. It is time to embrace you fully, as you are. As we are. As I am.
I am sorry for the neglect and admonishment I have directed at you. I see You and I will not turn away from you again. On hard days I will remember the potbellied 3 year old in the bikini at the pool I once was being adorable loving myself and smiling.
I am grateful to you belly for warming me, providing comfy cozy hugs, holding muscles that support my frame and being so responsive to the efforts to strengthen myself. Thank you belly for allowing me to deepen my self love practice and my radical self acceptance journey. Love, Vanessa.
If you are also in a self acceptance journey, what body part would you write a forgiveness letter to? How do you let go of the inner critic inside?