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I Thought I Was Fine (A Poem on Body Image and Honesty)

May 12, 2015
 

I thought I was fine, breasts thin and strong.

He told me they were not what women’s breasts look like.

I thought I was fine, waist athletic yet soft.

Magazines showed me otherwise.

I thought I was fine, thick, uneven eyebrows that I never thought to change.

My first manicurist was quick to offer their fixing.

I thought I was fine, the strongest girl in my neighborhood–always picked first for team games.

The girls told me that guys didn’t like that.

And I needed to be adored on the outside. And I needed to be adored on the outside?

Was I not good enough to be me? Was the core of my truth wrong?

Was I not girl enough to be strong, with thick uneven eyebrows?

Was I not perfect enough to have sweat on my face, ankles covered in dirt?

What did I love the most about me? The confident girl I was. The woman I was growing into.

In those very proud moments, I found myself also being tugged into the dark by a culture I begged to feel belonging to.

In a time where fitting in was everything, I thrived, and I suffered. I conformed, and I starved.

My truth began to live in a shadow, so dark that I too, couldn’t see just who I was anymore.

Who was I? I ask. Who was I? I repeated.

I am good enough, echoed from inside the shadow I was living under. It was just a faint whisper that barely tickled inside my ear, but I heard the call. Just enough I heard, that I understood it.

I cast my inner light as I searched in the shadow to discover what was speaking to me so lovingly. As my eyes adjusted to the bright light shining through the thick shadow, I began to see what it was supporting me, the entire time.

Hello, truth. Hello core of me. Root of every question I pose. Hello, truth, you know all, and all along you’ve been hiding in this dark unworthy place. Oh, how I vow to take you on the most beautiful journey and show you how powerful you are.

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An Interview with Erica Mather, Body Image Expert, Forrest Yoga Guardian

May 8, 2015
 

I met Erica Mather recently and we immediately connected, talking about out mutual passions for yoga, body image positivity, and making a change in the world. Erica is so kind and enthusiastic, and she invited me to be part of her Adore Your Body Telesummit May 9-19th. As a sneak preview for the incredible body-image series, I turned the tables around and asked her the questions that she posed to me. If you want to listen in to all of the powerful interviews, you can sign up for this complimentary telesummit event (link on post). The people that Erica has interviewed are all self-confidence warriors in my book–a great way to spend 20-30 minutes each day listening to incredible inspiration over the next two weeks.

EN: Tell us about where your story of body image challenges and struggles began.

EM: I remember being pretty cool with myself as a little kid, but all of that started to fall apart around age eight. I grew up in the Midwest, and was the fastest-growing gal on the block. I was tall and busty at a very young age. Standing out, and standing apart made me self-conscious, and getting teased for having big breasts eroded my self-confidence. This was all compounded by the fact that I didn’t feel very accepted by the boys, and so I had a very bad impression of myself and my looks.

Looking back at this, it seems pretty unremarkable—it’s not like my story is either that tragic, or unique. And that’s the real point, I think. That pretty much everyone feels some kind of dissatisfaction or shame around his or her body, no matter whether they are close to the “standard” of beauty, or farther away from it. How can that be? Even more bizarre, is that even though I thought I was tall, fat, and ugly, I later came to realize that I’m in fact, pretty good looking! Again—how can it be that people in general are so unforgiving of their looks and their bodies, and tend to feel so bad? The answer is, in short: we’re taught to be. Satisfied people don’t make good consumers.

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What This Blind Bird Can Teach Us About Overcoming Fear

May 6, 2015
 

Fearless(ish).

The bird never saw Spunky aggressively lunge towards him, and thankfully right past him, missing his feathers by mere centimeters. With all the commotion, the bird just stood there, continuing to peck at what looked like muffin crumbles that had fallen to the ground. I was so taken with the bird’s bravery, that it warranted further inspection: There was a nasty looking growth covering the bird’s eyes and it never saw Spunky coming in its direction. In fact, the bird was probably deaf too, because just the snarl of this dog is enough to scare you away. The bird was completely unfazed, aimlessly walking around looking for food, even unintentionally provoking Spunky by walking towards his alert paws, which were ready to pounce. Was this a challenge? Brave bird, I thought.

Why did this bird not react to Spunky’s instinctive and snarling lunge? Were there not any senses left for the bird that could signal fear?

Watching the bird stand confidently as my dog lunged towards him gave me an interesting insight into fear. That is, that fear is strictly perception. The building blocks of fear are constructed from anticipation.

I’m “afraid” of skydiving. I have little interest in experiencing it because I struggle to breathe, even with the blowdryer in my face. There’s so much anticipation when I think of skydiving. The jump camp, gearing up, flying, the actual jump off the plane, pulling the cord, waiting for the parachute to open, thinking about landing and then actually landing. And there’s a million other things that I’d be cautious and afraid of.

Let’s say I was blind or sensory deprived and I had never been skydiving before. Would there be so much fear in just thinking about the act? If I never knew that I might struggle for a breath of air with the heavy wind in my face, would that remove the fearful block of anticipation that I’ve held onto for so long? If I were sensory deprived, might I trust in God, or the Universe, and just jump?

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oh darling, indulge a little