Hello my friends and welcome back!
Wondering where I’ve been? I spent the past month wrangling with cardboard, tape, paint, a big ass camera and a mountain of digital images in order to curate a final presentation; capping off 8 months of intensive design. The presentation went better than I could have ever hoped and I am exceptionally proud of my work.
I am also so proud of myself for not losing my grip on reality in what was a very stressful time. There were no breakdowns, few moments of doubt and the time didn’t pass by in a wired blur. Taking a course on mindfulness grounding before that crazy month helped me to get a grasp on my emotions, negate my negative thoughts and cope with stress. Living in the present is an incredibly beneficial thing. (If you want a place to start without taking a course, check out Tara Brach – I often follow her guided meditations before bed).
Anyway, I want to tell you a story about my day!
This morning I woke up in a moody cloud, but the kind of moody cloud that was totally focused on critiquing my body. It’s weird, because this week I’ve been feeling strong and healthy; I’ve been eating well, practicing yoga daily and toning my muscles through Pilates – not for my body solely, but for my mental wellbeing. A week or so of committed exercise doesn’t make a huge difference physically, but mentally I feel a sense of strength and length, I admire what my body is strong and flexible enough to do. But for some reason this morning I looked in the mirror and I was ashamed.
I put on a pair of pants and I honestly said to myself, “I can’t wear these, I am so unbelievably fat”. Then I miserably got changed into an outfit that really, I didn’t feel that great in. But it was loose fitting and flowy, all the better to cover my “huge, fat ass”. I didn’t bother to put my usual effort into my makeup or hair, something that I love to do. I just slapped on the basics because, and I quote, “what’s the point in putting effort in when I’m fat and ugly anyway?”
Woah. I know, writing it down I want to shake myself. What happened to that strong, confident girl who only yesterday was looking in the mirror telling herself, “Damn, you looking fine girl”? She disappeared overnight to be replaced by this hormonal, upset little negative creature. Not good.
I headed to work in a haze of self-doubt. Partway through the day though, something incredible happened. A very small, insignificant conversation that threw me and snapped me out of my negative head space completely, almost bringing me to tears.
A woman in her 60s came in and for some reason we stumbled onto the conversation of body image. She was telling me how throughout her life she was unhappy in her body, critiquing herself constantly and limiting her diet in unhealthy ways, when one day she was busy telling her friend how fat she was and her friend shocked her. She snapped and said, “Who are you to critique this beautiful creation?”
And that moment with her friend changed her life. She stopped worrying, she started seeing the beautiful creation that her body was, and began looking after it and treating it with respect.
Obviously this woman didn’t realise that today I was battling with my body image, it was just a casual conversation as she went about her day. But little did she know that she passed on that life changing moment to me. She left and I was almost in tears. It was exactly what I needed to hear.
Who am I to critique this body that was formed so generously for me?
It is strong and fit and healthy, it is full figured and able. It is a beautiful creation.
And yeah, in case you haven’t already guessed, I am one of those “everything happens for a reason” kind of people. It was a very powerful moment for me.
I wanted to share this story because I know that a lot of us have challenging days where we are not so happy with the person staring back at us in the mirror. It is tough to be confident and happy within all the time, sometimes we falter. But know that you are beautiful and that your body is a blessing. It is not up to you, or anyone else, to critique how you look. Treat your body with respect; both physically and mentally. Learn to love this creation.