Today, was a revelation.
Did you know that about 91% of women are depressed about their bodies? Men are also affected, but it isn’t talked about as much so, there aren’t many statistics, which is a WHOLE other issue. However, what is taken from this is that there is a MASSIVE hatred for ourselves. But why?
I am part of that 91% and whoever is reading this may also be thinking that they fall into that category, too. If you’re someone who has followed me for a while, you know that I battled a pretty nasty eating disorder when I was 18 years old. It’s been about 4 years and every once in a while, during tough moments, I feel like I am still so stuck in my bad habits and thoughts, but today was a rare revelation day:
I don’t shop very much, but I since being home in KC for a month to visit my family, I have been to my fair share of stores with my mom. She insisted on getting me something, so I ended up finding a lot of nice things and had to endure the dreaded dressing room that, in the past and still at times, is a complete nightmare (think hyperventilating and tears…). BUT, something happened these past couple trips and I never thought days like this would come.
I grabbed a few pieces to try on and went in. The dreaded mirror awaited me. However, as I stood there, staring at the nakedness that is my real body, I didn’t grimace. I turned from each angle and not once did I look at myself with disgust. I was appalled. The second time, today, I went in and this time? I smiled and danced in front of the mirror. Yes, I stood naked in front of the dressing room mirror, smile on my face, and danced like nobody was watching. Want to know something else? Last night, when I was about to get in the shower, I looked in the mirror, smiled, and also started dancing. I giggled and embraced myself. If this seems like too much information, then please don’t read. I am not trying to be rude, but the human body is seen as such a vulgar thing and it’s ridiculous. I’ve noticed, the longer I live in Europe, that nakedness is seen in a much more positive light. It isn’t viewed so objectively as it is in the US. The culture around our bodies is viewed vastly different. The naked body is SUCH a beautiful thing and I don’t think we spend enough time actually being in our bodies. We wear clothes all day and then go to bed. Do we ever just look at ourselves, naked and pure, in the mirror? I think this is why a lot of us feel almost foreign in our own bodies. How is it possible that we feel like strangers in our own vessels? The vessels that make us beautiful, handsome, strong, powerful, delicate, graceful, etc.?
I left the dressing room not depressed, but delighted. I never thought I would EVER feel that in recovery. I feel like moments like that are one in a million so I am embracing these moments immensely. It reminded me that a lot of women AND men struggle with this, too. We walk around each day and only roar negative things to ourselves. I do this, too. I feel you. But, I think nakedness is something that can slowly help. Stand in the mirror, no clothes, and really look at yourself. Look at your strong legs that get you everywhere EACH day and your arms that help you cook, write, and carry things. The curvature of your spine and the way your cheeks come up when you smile. How amazing is it that our bodies can do so many things and are always working for us, not against us. Never. Despite all the things we say and do to it, it always wants to put you back in balance.
I challenge us all to remove the vulgarity around our naked bodies. I challenge us to not be strangers to our own bodies. I challenge us to strip down, embrace ourselves, and dance. Celebrate our bodies. Thank them, be kind to them, accept them.
It might be terrifying at first, trust me, I know. I have completely lost it at the sight of my own body. I have changed in the dark JUST to avoid looking at myself. I know those feelings too well…
I still have them, but over time and pushing past what felt comfortable, it is finally turning into something beautiful.
Raw is beautiful. Naked is beautiful. Our bodies are magnificent. YOU are a wonder.
“Nature didn’t need an operation to be beautiful. It just was”