My life’s work is to foster self-body love and acceptance in the people I am in contact with. My truth is that my self-body love is evolving, too.
There are a lot of places and people who still don’t get the basic premise. We can be healthy with different sizes and shapes. This is not rocket science.
I have been visiting different movement/ exercise classes to explore my body.
I have a lot of feelings at the moment. No, that is not accurate. I am MAD.
I attended an exercise class where the message was that I need to be smaller, thinner. And why is that? And who says that? That assumption is incorrect. That is society’s belief. That is what the media is selling. This is big business.
Smaller really is not what I want. I want to feel alive in my body. I want to feel strong and powerful and healthy. I want to experience pleasure and joy when I move my body.
“Keep moving,” she said. “Your tush will get smaller.”
What’s wrong with the size of my tush I thought and felt?
“Ten more; feel the burn,” she said. “Your legs will get smaller.”
I have been loving my legs recently. Why do they have to be smaller?
And of course, you probably know what is coming. “Hold and breathe as you suck your navel into your back. Your belly will get smaller.”
The messages continued to be about how my body did not measure up. My body and I were receiving messages that did not feel loving and supported. We were experiencing an unhealthy dose of criticism and judgment. When I came to the class I felt I was doing so to honor and care for my body. I was feeling good when I arrived. My mood was shifting.
Ok. I am extremely sensitive. Perhaps I was overreacting. I looked around at the other faces in the class. Their expressions made me feel they were judging their own bodies. This does not feel like a safe place for me or my body…or the other participant’s bodies. Why are they coming?
Oh yeah. They’re coming to get smaller…
Robin Okun, LMSW, is a certified Nia Instructor, Movement Therapist, Center for Eating Disorders, Director of Mindful Movement Studio, Ann Arbor, MI, 734-395-2624, firstname.lastname@example.org