I read this amazing article about the five things the author feels the body positive movement needs to move forward. I found myself nodding in agreement the entire time. I too cringe a little when people are adamant that ALL people are beautiful, that there’s someone out there for everyone, horse for courses and all that. It centres around the same issue, that being beautiful. To someone. Anyone. Is where it’s at.

I too feel that in order to show people how we just can’t say no really, love yourself more. Do it now. OMG why aren’t you doing it yet. Annoying! I think conversation is key, asking why and getting to the bottom of the entire idea of what it means to be a woman, to be beautiful and why. WHY mostly, we have that idea. Where it came from and why now when we are offered some amount of freedom to change our minds do we hold on to it?

But before I continue, did you read the article. I’ll wait. 

Because what if you have tried, stood in the mirror dozens of times and tried to love what you see but instead poked and prodded your body. What if your partner reaches over in the night and your initial reaction is STILL to suck in your stomach as it lays relaxed and unchecked on its side. What if you put on that new dress that you loved so much when you purchased it and upon walking out of your room where criticised by your own mother who tells you look horrible*? What then?

How do you continue to take steps towards loving your body and thus empowering yourself within it when you are fighting the good fight and losing? How?

For me to get to where I am, to be open to being publicly assessed and criticised for my body, my clothes and how I look I have to deal with myself day after day after day. It took years of practice to remind myself that my value does not lay in whether someone finds me attractive, beautiful or worthy based solely on my body.

My value doesn’t live there but my value needs a home. My value as a person needs somewhere safe to live that is well cared for and paid attention to. So that’s what I say to you. What I say to my nieces and your daughters. Your value is not in your beauty, because we are all inherently beautiful. Your value as a person is so much more than that alone. Waaaay more. It’s everything you do, say, are and are hoping to be. And all of that lives in your body so it deserves respect and care.

Start to love your body for the most simple things it does. Because being a body is complicated. All that breathing in and out, blood pumping business is tricky. Be thankful for that and build upon it day by day. You love your eyes, your hair. The way your legs contract and release as you walk. The way your arms flex as you push up from a bench.

And one day, even if just for a moment, it will click.

You won’t see a horrible, disgusting thing that needs your shame and disrespect. You’ll see your body just the way it is, doing the things it does and asking for very little in return. And then, that feeling will go away. Probably. But day after day and week after week as you train yourself out of every idea that you have believed before you will find that YOU really do love your body and that feeling will stay for longer and longer.

Even then it probably won’t be all the time. We are pretty much lot causes you and me. You can’t get to 30 being told that you’re too tall, to fat, too big, to oily, too frizzy and too unattractive and not have some underlying damage there. I’m a lost cause of wasted days and weeks journalling my every move with hatred and anger. That time is gone, spent, wasted. And I’m here now. I’m well. But I’m damaged too. And that’s okay.

But one day maybe, if we stop treating ourselves badly and speaking about other women the way we do, then maybe my nieces have a chance. Maybe the daughters of my nieces or your daughter’s daughters will have a chance of never knowing what it is to feel shamed just for being in a body of a girl and then a woman.

Body love is a practice, a journey {gag, journey, so cliché} not a destination. Stop trying to arrive and you might find you are further along the track than you thought. Certainly much further ahead then you were last time you checked. The best part is, you never know who you may be leading into a new way of thinking with your efforts.

So socks up ladies, you’re in training. 

* Important to note that while the other examples in that paragraph are from my own personal experience this one isn’t. I was speaking to a girl in a change room a week or two ago and she told me this story. I couldn’t help myself. I said honey, I wouldn’t have cared if that WAS my mother, I would’ve told her to f’off. 

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