So here's a weird way that body shame comes up for me.
//// Let me preface for a moment. I've chosen to be sparse with posting pictures of myself for a while on social media. At least ones where you can see more than my face, or if more than my face, I'm usually layered in clothes. I feel the need to be reserved. This comes from a place to guilt and shame. One, because of how my body has been changing and two, because of a very vein reason, I haven't gone to my hair stylist in months. \\\\
So here it goes with my body shame baggage.
For those of you who are not so familiar with some of the work I do, I work with women on body image, exiting diet culture, and tapping into attuned eating practices.
I'd say that the majority of women with whom I work, have had a very entrenched view of how they are supposed to eat and how their body should look (well, I think that's most of us, right?).
When we follow a rigid way of feeding ourselves and keep the lens narrowed on an ideal body weight/size, the process of exiting diet culture and learning attuned eating IS challenging.
The process and what happens mentally and physically IS predictable.
The woman goes from tight restriction and control to rebellion and indulgence. There is a pendulum shift that MUST occur with food and body until the space of discernment and attainment can be explored. I had to go through this myself.
For most people, this looks like a "Fuck it" mentality and they "go off the deep end" consuming all the forbidden foods and generally gain weight. If you have been a restrictor in any capacity, part of the healing process is this reactionary state of eating and gaining some weight. The body requires this stage in order to begin trusting the person again.
But this feels SCARY AS SHIT!
I have clients that want to take a dive back into diet culture because the pendulum swing is so uncomfortable, and I also have clients who have chosen to stay the course. The attunement and discernment pieces get clearer, the panic dust settles, they are able to relax into themselves, and the process of true nourishment and body liberation blooms.
So what the hell does this have to do with me and my body shame?
Well, my shame is coming from a place of dropping weight. (To be clear, I have also been on the gaining weight side of shame.) Here I am, an advocate for women in larger bodies, and it has become apparent to others that I have dropped weight.
My body is doing the opposite of what some of my clients' bodies are doing and I want to hide that. I want all women to feel safe with me regardless of what their body is doing and what my body is doing.
We live in a society that covets weight loss regardless of the weight loss approach. Intentional or not, and that is fucking dangerous.
I'm actively seeking social justice for all bodies and supporting women in larger bodies because I believe that how we view bodies is hurtful, traumatic, and dangerous to our health.
So how do I reconcile the very thing that I am a rallying against; the thin ideal, when my body is more closely aligned with that ideal?
How do I ditch the guilt of being called "the skinny woman" by a person who is working with me, knowing that she has a yearning to live in my earth suit?
How do I overcome the fear of even posting this for all of you to read, knowing that I will be judged on either side of the coin for how I look or how I feel about my body in this current moment?
These are questions that I am sorting through as my body goes through its own process.
Some of you will understand, others won't.
What I will do is to challenge myself to be ok with that.
To remember that I don't have to be in the body size, shape, or color to still have a voice for bodies unlike mine.
Hiding in my own shame doesn't benefit anyone.
In fact, I think that speaking out in support of people who don't look like me is the most important thing I can to do.
No matter my body size/shape, shame still flushes up within me. I'd like you to know that. I'm not exempt from the messages of diet culture and toxic healthism.
The reasons for our shame may look a bit different, but it feels much the same. It comes from our bodies not fitting in....whatever we believe the "IN" thing to be.
I want women who are physically different than me to hopefully see that these feelings exist in me as they do in you. That this stigma around body image affects us all and I'd like to change that.
I invite you to share your thoughts on your own experience with body size acceptance. Write about it, talk about it, blog about it. Just get it out there.
We need to raise our voices in order to heal our shame.