Thursday, July 10, 2014

Learning A New Way to See Myself

I've spent a lifetime judging bodies. My own especially, but as long as you are a stranger to me, I am ruthless in my thoughts about what you are wearing and how you look. Anything that I don't like about my own body, I will tear to pieces on yours. 

Summer time is the worst for this. I'm too aware of how pale, how fat, how "not acceptable" my body is based on the beauty industry. But that's not where I first learned to hate myself. I learned to judge my body and those of others from my mother. 

When I was a child, she was overweight. She went from one program to the next, one diet to the next, always complaining about her body, her weight. Several years ago, she succeeded in losing that weight and keeping it off. But it hasn't made her love her body. Now she complains that she looks old. All she sees of herself is what she doesn't like. 

I don't want to continue in that road that she taught me to walk. My body is not healthy so I'm learning how to be healthy. To not use food as a comfort or to numb my fears, to exercise in ways that respect my limits. To not live in a rhythm of feast or famine. I'm learning to feel comfortable in my own skin. To practice acceptance of myself, as I am right here, right now. 

There are days that I do this better than others. Days when I can touch my scars with care, grateful for their presence on my skin. They remind me that I have tools now that I didn't have for most of my life. I'm learning to take selfies and not critique myself in them, but to simply see me. To see what my image has to show me about myself in that moment. 

Part of my recovery has been learning self-care and to identify every week something that I like about myself. It's giving me a different way to see myself, that there are things that I'm allowed to celebrate now. 

A huge piece of this learning to see what is as beautiful and sacred comes from Jennifer's #reframecollective that I'm taking through Story Sessions

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