The Size Of My Thighs Do Not Define Me

This post was inspired by, and is in response to, a FB post where someone I love was publicly shaming themselves for “eating too many breadsticks” while on vacation.

She “jokingly” made a comment about needing someone to smack her if they saw her eating, then alluded to the fact that her only hope was to actually have her jaw wired shut.

Under normal circumstances, I may have laughed it off, but every woman who followed up with comments agreed, or had something equally damning to say about themselves or their relationship to food.

Luckily, something about it made me really uncomfortable…(as it should anyone who read it)…

However, we live in a culture where we are so often judged (and are judging others), not by our true value, but by the size of our thighs…

And conversations like hers are posted to FB pages without thought, each of which go virtually unnoticed by everyone who reads them…

I want to thank them all for inspiring me to write this, and invite them to join me is starting a new conversation…

(I deleted the opening paragraph to keep confidentiality)…

What I’m about to say may not be easy to read. It certainly isn’t easy to write.

I also want to clarify that I am NOT finger pointing, or blaming or shaming (there is enough of that going on!).

When I say YOU, I mean we, and by we, I mean the 24 million people in the US who suffer from an eating disorder annually…

And countless others who suffer from negative body image issues, low self esteem, or are otherwise insecure or feel unsafe in their physical bodies, myself included.

I am speaking to all women (and men) about a spiritual illness (that when alive inside of us) robs us of an opportunity for creative expression and the chance to be fully alive.

The story I’m talking about creates separation, and prevents us from witnessing this TRUTH…

Our bodies are a sacred and holy vessel through which our soul is having its experience here on earth…

My words come from a place of love, and from a sincere desire to begin a different, more enlightened conversation, with ourselves — and the women in our communities (FB or otherwise) — around our bodies and our relationship with food.

As a recovering (not recovered) anorexic, who has suffered deeply under the weight of shame and self hatred, I want you to now I am not above these thoughts.

Even with a sincere desire to heal familial patterns and old painful beliefs, I struggle, sometimes daily, to heal my relationship with my body and the food I put into it.

Honestly, some days are better than others.

But I’ve come to realize that a bad food day is just that.

A bad food day…

A situation I am experiencing, not a reflection of who I am.

And so, as I continue to heal myself, I must also commit to call it out when I see it playing out in front of me.

I can no longer sit idly by while the women I love, publicly shame themselves because they ate too many peices of cake or drank too many bottels of wine while on vacation.

I want to remind you that your worth is not tied to your waistline.

(And if you ate more than you meant to, I get that.)

Feel bad? I get that too.

But please, be merciful with yourself.

Give yourself some love and hit the gym, or not…

But don’t give into the voice of darkness that whispers that you are somehow not worthy of being, because your pants are a little too tight today.

In my healing practice, I work with women of all ages, and it seems that very few were lucky enough to have escaped the body shaming that haunts so many of us.

And yet, because of the work I do, I am hyper aware of the need to stop these unconscious patterns in their tracks NOW, for ourselves (because 40+ years of hating ourselves is long enough)…

And because it is our responsibility to stop this madness from being passed down to the next generation.

I mean seriously, would you ever tell your 7 year old that you were going to punch her in the face for sneaking one too many chocolates? (This sentence comes from the FB post I mentioned  before.) 

Hell no! And yet, we do it to ourselves…

All.The.Damn.Time.

And as hard as it is to accept, when we say these things to ourselves, they become the stories that then become our sons’ and daughters’ (unconscious) storylines, too. 

They are becoming the foundation for their relationship with their own bodies, and the way he/she feels about themselves every time they eats.

For our thoughts become their thoughts.

Everything they learn about how to be in this world begins with you. The same way that your body shaming began with something passed down in your family of origin. 

I am just now learning to love my post baby 40+ year old body. And speaking out when I see body shaming happening in my community.

One of the teachings I offer client in my healing practice is to see the world as a mirror…

Often it seems like what happens in the world is happening to us, and is outside of us…

However, whatever we “see” is a direct (and Divine) reflection of what is happening on the inside.

And when we stop judging or blaming outside circumstances for doing this “to us”…and take responsibility for what is occuring, and truly honor them as the teachers they are…

Real change can occur…

And this is what happened for me when I read that post today. It awoke something in me that had grown complacent.

I am no longer willing to accept this not so suble self hate converstation expressing in the world, and inside myself! 

In fact, in the last week alone, I have had 6 different conversations with women where they shared:

  • The pain of not loving their body
  • How they avoid intimacy with their partner because they stand the way they look
  • Stress from struggling with recent weight gain and an inability to lose it, no matter what they do
  • The desperate hope that this diet or cleanse is finally the thing to make a difference for them

As I commit to healing this part of my life, I will no longer stand idly by when the women I love outwardly express self-hatred or are “jokingly” shaming themselves in public.

Instead, I commit to being a voice of inspiration, and reason…

(No, those devilish whispers that taunt you are NOT reasonable.)

My hope is that we can collectively rally, pull together and bring healing to the painful and disruptive cycle of separation that robs us of the opportunity to fully love, and be loved in return…

One that denies of us of the miracle that God Himself is offering us through our human experience.

I don’t know how much time I’ve got left on this planet, but from this moment forward, I pray that my relationship with my body will be more illuminated – An experience, where I sit in awe of my physicality and am inspired to nourish it, move it, and be kind to it, regularly.

 

 

 

 

 

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