Do you remember the first time you felt shame around your body or your appearance?⠀ ⠀ For me it was the beginning of 4th grade. I was on the daycare bus after school, and I was sitting next to a popular girl who was a year older than me. She was tall and thin with pretty blonde hair and everyone was on the edge of their seats listening to whatever she had to say. ⠀ ⠀ That afternoon we’d received our school IDs and we were passing them around to each other. Suddenly I heard her gasp and a look of shock and disgust crossed her face as she read out the weight on my card: 72 pounds. I don’t remember exactly what she said next, but it was something like “I’m older than you and I don’t even weigh that much!” When she handed it back to me she said, “I wouldn’t show that to people.” ⠀
⠀ I immediately felt ashamed and wanted to hide. I didn’t understand...it was just a number—why was it bad? Up until then, I didn’t have any memories of feeling like my body or appearance were bad or needed to change, but after that day I began subconsciously collecting evidence that what said she was right. ⠀ ⠀ As I continued to grow up the idea of who I was/needed to be/should be was sourced from the outside. I believed I didn’t have the answers...I wasn’t enough. But as I’ve been doing work to heal and integrate my inner and outer worlds—I’ve had to learn to accept, love and listen to all of me. ⠀ I spent a lot of years blaming other people for my issues, and while others have to take responsibility for their actions, so do I. At a certain point, I internalized the chorus of voices that told me to be quiet, take up less space, and that nothing I ever did was good enough. ⠀ ⠀ My work has been finding my own voice and truth apart from the lens of other people and toxic beauty culture. I've cultivated a relationship of devotion, care, acceptance and love with my heart, mind and body. I took time to internally dialogue with these parts of me and got to know them as I excavated the lies of past experiences. ⠀ The truth that changed my life is this: we can’t control most things, but we can control how we speak to ourselves and the relationship we cultivate with ourselves. And for me, there is nothing more beautiful than someone living in the truth of who they are. It may be messy and not curated for social media, but it’s real, raw and honoring of the present moment. At the end of the day, a flower is a flower whether a seed or in bloom. Both are valuable and contain boundless, unique beauty. What is something you can do today to honor the season of life you’re in?