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My Silent War...

This story has been around for awhile, but yesterday was the first I had taken the time to watch the Kickstarter campaign video for the Embrace documentary project.

I had a hard time keeping tears from flowing by the end. I'm glad to see the project has been fully funded and look forward to watching the documentary. I'm sure it will invoke a few more tears.

With Christmas 2014 past, all around us are messages about how bad we should feel about our fat, ugly bodies, and what we can do to better them in 2015. I hated this time of year working in fitness because of the industry's focus on body image rather than whole person health, which was always my reasoning for pursuing a degree in exercise science. But the reason for my tears go far beyond my feelings about society's pressure for women to squeeze into a narrow standard of beauty. They are far more personal.

As I listen to Taryn's personal story about her feelings about her "after" body, as I go to her website to read her blog posts that explain her body image journey, I hear words I have repeatedly, silently said to myself for many, many years. I see my own non-stop roller-coaster ride of body love, and hate, whose track directions have been determined by the size on the tags of my wardrobe and the number that pops up when I step on a scale. It feels very shallow to admit how much my love for myself has been determined, not by my abilities, but by how much, or how little, physical space my body occupies in this world. As of late I've realize how shameful it feels that my body insecurity is a reflection of living a privileged life. I get angry with how much energy it absorbs from my life and how I seem to have an inability to get past this very first-world type of "problem", when so many around the world have concerns tied more closely to the simply needs in life. Safely. Shelter. Adequate nutrition.

Each December Scott and I attend a very nice holiday dinner with others from the management team at the company where he works. The food is always amazing. The company is always enjoyable. This year there was even dancing. I love dancing. It's always a great evening out that Scott and I simply do not otherwise take the time to experience together. This year's event was black tie, which means I started stressing about what I was going to wear in October when we got the invitation. Three dresses, 2 pair of shoes, 2 pair of shaping pantyhose, a new sparkly wrap, and a new dress coat later, I am thankful that there's no photographic evidence of our evening. As someone who cherishes so the simple snapshots of our everyday life that I take the time to capture, it saddens me to admit my relief over the lack of a photo. I stepped out for the evening with much anxiety, feeling like a little girl playing dress-up in heels that I imagined to be fantastic, but that didn't quite fit right, and a dress that, while totally cute, felt simply too simple, especially after we arrived at the event venue. I watched many women of all ages in their beautiful, often very sexy, dresses, walking around gracefully in their gorgeous high heels, and I felt like a failure. I listened to, and admittedly occasionally contributed to, conversations being had around me about some of those beautiful women, and their bodies, both angry that those women's worth was being judged, even by me, by nothing more than their appearance, and at the same time jealous that I knew I would never be the subject of such discussions. I guess that's why the fact that not one compliment on my own appearance was offered colors my memory of the evening a bit. By the night's end, with feet sore from too much dancing in my silly high heeled shoes, I couldn't wait to get home to re-box my shoes, throw my pantyhose aside, and trade my little black dress in for my baggy flannel pajamas. Admittedly, it's hard not to feel a bit defeated given the mental energy I devoted to selecting my outfit for our special evening out. At the same time my feeling of failure should really be no surprise given how often negative body talk has been the subject of my quiet inner conversations as of late.

I don't always know the directions a blog post will take when I sit down to write, only that I have a need to express thoughts and feelings in words. In part I know that working through my body image insecurities is going to require me to continue to break open the silence on my inner negative dialog. To more regularly, and openly, and without apology, celebrate the amazing things I AM able to do and create BECAUSE OF my body. From raising great kids, to creating beautiful photos, to teaching yoga, to building beautifully functional things, to teaching and inspiring others to live their best life, I know I have much to celebrate. I need to give that voice more volume in my life.

I think so many other women that are doing similar work within themselves have discovered the same need for this type of therapy. I am thankful for women who are passionate about changing the conversations women of all shapes and sizes have about their bodies, their beauty, and their sense of worth in this world. Women like Taryn. Women like Ashlee and Laura. Women like Brittney. And so many other women who are making a difference with their voices, and with their actions, and with their bodies. Women whose work will help make a better place for my daughters, and someday their daughters, to feel beautiful, and worthy, and valued simply for being the amazing individuals they each are.

I can only hope that by adding my own voice, and by sharing my own journey as I do my own body image work, I can be a small part of helping to create change for good for women from all walks of life in our world. It's my attempt at beginning to end my silent war and finding an inner peace when it comes to my feelings about my body.

For my love of the other women in my life.

For my love of my daughters.

For love of myself.

~ peace


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