Ain't I A Woman (and body talk)
Welp. Here we go.
I've been following a lot of body positive accounts for quite some time, my favorites include: @healthyisthenewskinny and @naturalmodelsla and anyone affiliated with them as well. I have been very diligent lately about learning more about how to fully claim, love, strut and enjoy this body of mine.
I have never been the equivalent of anything remotely skinny. Most of my friends have always been the cute pixie type and I never really associated myself with either of those terms. Tall, thick, massive, sure, but never really cute or pixie or small. I come from big boned people, strong people and I have never quite understood that until recently.
I have had some rocky seasons before this moment.
Before my junior year, I started training for a Resident Advisor position(I've mentioned the ten day backpacking trip before). On that trip after sharing my life story and my fear with not feeling as though my body was capable to handle that trip, one of the guys on my team asked me, "When are you going to see yourself the way your Creator sees you?"
After that year (my "first" senior year before the victory lap) all my coping mechanisms went out the door during a really stressful time and all I ate was pretty much salads, coffee and bagels for almost two week straight. My anemia sky rocketed and my mom was convinced I was not okay but I was the skinniest I had ever been so it couldn't be that bad right? Wrong. I was not healthy, I was not well and it showed. I slipped about these habits in a staff meeting one day and my mentor asked if I wanted to talk about it, I said nope. But then the tears fell shortly after. I didn't feel in control of my life so I took my eating to an extreme something I could control until it consumed me.
And look, I know all the scriptures. Sure I've heard, that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. But why couldn't I be that and skinnier? Why could i be fearfully and wonderfully made....without thighs that touch? I know that I was knit in my mothers womb but was I knit to be this tall? this thick? I know he considers me lovely but i didn't. I didn't say anything like that to myself. And so something had to change... not necessarily my body but my mindset.
This photo was taken "pre-whole 30" and I've stared at it many times and wanted to wait until I took my "post-whole 30" and beginners yoga head shots. Because if I did that, then I could say look how far I've come, look at how much more defined my jaw is. Look my gut is a little more slim now. Look at how unhappy and unsettled I was before. Which is true to an extent because even though I'm smiling, I usually always smile so that's not much of a defining factor for me. The defining factor was what was going on in my head, omg my clothes are actually touching my body, i can't hide in this so I guess I might as well OWN IT.
And as I sit here with my post- breakfast burrito in bed belly--- I refuse to say that me in this photo was any less or anymore than me right now. If anything, me right now feels like this body is finally hers, it is strong, knows who she is and what she is capable of. This body is getting healthy(er) and everyday I am doing my best I can to listen to it, to treat it well and not to send it any more hate mail.
I've been learning a lot about intuitive eating && what it means for YOUR body to be strong. Intuitive eating is not about the diets, the limiting or constricting,its not about you telling your body what it can and cannot have, its about your body telling you what is not good for it. For me its been, dairy, bread (sometimes) processed sugars (coffee syrups R.I.P). Whole 30 gave me a clean slate. I'm no health guru (literally just ate a breakfast burrito (with no cheese and a wheat tortilla so basically healthy right? LOL) but I sincerely appreciated the whole 30 process, I had to find the balance of just not eating and doing whole 30 (i found it btw don't worry) and of course I ate a piece of chocolate here and there and put some raw sugar in my coffee because I wanted this to not just be a season of 30 days but something I actually tried to live out still working on it).
I had a lot of people ask me why I was doing it, why I was restricting my body that way and in my head I was thinking, are you kidding?! Just look at me! But instead I said, I don't feel like myself, I don't feel healthy, I don't feel good at all, so I'm starting from scratch--getting down to the basics. Listening to my body instead of shaming it.
And in the midst of riding the whole 30 train, I also tried to get on the hypes. (But honestly the first two weeks I couldn't work out because I felt like I would pass out ---we worked through it though) The hypes like soul cycle and kombucha and unlike everyone else saying their life was changed I despised both of those. Seriously, despised. I consider myself a pretty open and accepting person but I felt trapped on a bike in a dark room and someone was kind of yelling at me. I also don't believe first impressions should be what you base an experience on so I will go back one more time ...maybe. But kombucha is completely out of the picture and also the word fermented kind of freaks me out.
So instead, I found that walking the Rose Bowl was my thing, hot yoga is TOTALLY MY THING ( i love it and I feel like a fairy at the end of every session) and I just had to listen to my body. Instead of telling it to do stuff, I listened. And here's the thing, I don't believe that we should detest doing good to our bodies. As in, if you really hate going to the gym but you enjoy Zumba GO TO ZUMBA, do the hard stuff that challenges your body but don't get to the point where you're doing something so much you start festering this really deep wound from it okay? Not worth it. Eat the vegetables, throw kale in a smoothie, do what works but also don't make excuses. I made way too many excuses.
And i've spent way too much time wishing that I wasn't in this body instead of loving it. And loving it doesn't mean just letting yourself eat tacos at midnight in your car alone (I mean sometimes it does because #balance) but sometimes it means waking up a little earlier and going for a walk. Grab a friend and hike somewhere, get a yoga partner (Thanks Karen). Don't eat things that make you feel like crap, seriously life is too short. Get the coconut milk ice-cream instead ( still gets the job done). I honestly can't tell you whats going to work for you, I only know what I know because it's worked for me. If you're thing is soul cycle, then girl go find your soul and dance your heart out to JT and Brittany. Find what works for you!
Look at yourself in the mirror today and declare the good.
Hey arms, you're looking toned today.
Oh sup tummy! You got a little curve flat going on, I can dig it.
Sure, my thighs are basically twin sisters or something, practically inseparable but they're strong and they can kick box the mess out of something.
declare the good today friends.
I wanted to turn 25 and feel good about where I was, in life, in this body, in this soul, in general. This is a very gradual climb up what I can foresee to be a pretty steep hill but right now? Right now I can celebrate how far I've come so far, celebrate how much closer I can hold this body of mine and maybe tomorrow will be harder but today? Today we did good.