I spent the last three days keynoting at the absolutely fabulous Abundia retreat. Being in the presence of those amazing women (hi y’all!) more than made up for not having internet access, and I’m glad to be back to the blog today.
One of the things that I talked about at Abundia was my journey to giving my body what I believe it deserves. For a long time the idea of “deserving” for me was all wrapped up in the idea of being thin. I was pretty sure that a fat body didn’t really deserve much – I believed that my body would deserve to be comfortable, deserve good healthcare, deserve my love, appreciation and support just as soon as it became thin. Over time I’ve decided that I’m the only person who decides what my body “deserves” and why, and that I believe my body deserves to be loved, appreciated, and supported by me just because it exists and regardless of the things that it can or can’t do, how it looks, or how all of that might change over time.
That journey started for me when I realized that I had spent so much time hating my body for how it looked that I hadn’t had even a moment of gratitude for everything that my body did for me. Even though, at that time, I wasn’t ready or able to see my body as beautiful (and wasn’t sure that I ever would), I was able to start appreciating everything that it did for me – and I did that using a pretty simple (though not alwyas easy) three step process.
The next step in giving my body what it deserved was how I viewed it. It started when I realized that I could see the beauty in other women my size but not in me. I decided that my body deserved for me to get over my conditioning to be able to see it’s beauty. I realized that the ability to perceive beauty is a skill – and that I hadn’t developed that skill well enough to see past the (very profitable) BS that society has been pushing on me, and I that my body deserved better than that, so I decided to work on my skill of perceiving beauty. I started with other people (since that was easier for me) and I challenged myself to find the beauty in every single person I saw, and to remember that if I wasn’t able to find beauty in someone – that was my failing and not there’s. I found that the more I could see beauty in others the more I gave myself permission to feel beautiful myself, and the less I cared what others thought about that.
My body and I now have a great relationship (though, as with every relationship we have our off moments), but I haven’t stopped working to give it what it deserves. I try to treat it really well, I work hard to listen to my body and give it what it’s asking for, and to get good care for my body from people who also appreciate it. My activism is a major part of that. My body is amazing, it does so many things for me and I believe that my body deserves nothing less than my full-throated support – whether it’s asking for an armless chair so that my butt can be comfortable, demanding good evidence-based healthcare, or standing up to societal stigma and bullying. To me a big part of loving my body is making sure that I give it what I am now certain it deserves.
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