December 14 – Jnana (Self-knowledge)
Name something you did that was completely out of character. How did it feel?
This is the year I decided to stop fighting my natural body shape and instead accept it.
Except it wasn't that easy.
This is also the year I've gained and lost the same 10-15 pounds a couple times. There are physical reasons for the weight gain, but there are also more emotional reasons that caused it. In the industry I'm in, looks matter. But what I learned was they matter way more to me than to those who know me.
My first step to acceptance came in an Elephant Journal article I wrote called Does My Inner Goddess Look Fat In These Jeans? After a difficult day at the gym, I came home and while holding back tears sat and wrote off the cuff. The whole post took me about 20 minutes to write, and in an act of never-before-seen in me bravery, I published it before I had time to think twice.
The response was overwhelming. The comments and emails I received were touching, honest and raw. Yes, looks matter. But our own warped perception of ourselves is clouding how much (and how little) they matter to those who love us.
I've done a lot of internal work on myself this year and I knew I had succeeded when in the store dressing room one afternoon I pulled on a pair of jeans a size bigger than I've worn in the past six years and didn't cry, didn't scream and didn't immediately start crash dieting. This is where I am now. That's where I was. And I'll probably be somewhere different in a few months. It's OK.
But then the real challenge came. Elephant Journal assistant editor Hannah Siegle wrote a series of posts on real women, real bodies and real bellies. She even included pictures and encouraged us to send in our own pictures of our own real bellies. Each picture featured a woman holding her hands in the heart mudra over her belly as a symbol of self love.
I sat and cheered on the women who were writing and sending in their own pictures. I followed the posts glad to see women standing up and saying "This is me. I am not a photoshopped picture. This is who I am."
And then fellow Elephant writer Kate Bartolotta asked where my picture was. Damn. Time to walk the walk and talk the talk. So tonight I emailed Hannah my real belly picture to include in an upcoming post she's writing.
And in the ultimate act of self-acceptance I am willing to post the picture here as well.
This is the real me. No photoshop. And I love the real me, belly and all.
This post is part of #reverb11, a series of daily writing prompts to explore the year passed and manifest the year ahead. I'm following the prompts found here. (Yes I'm a little behind and writing some out of order.)