Just Trying to 'Heal the Disconnection'

11:52 AM

I think I'm just as much of a undercover hot mess as the next person...

Which is why I think I hit a nerve when I posted Do As I Say, Not As I Do!  It seems that many of us struggle daily with wanting to love ourselves (mind, body, and soul) but also wanting to change ourselves too. I think this struggle isn't limited to our bodies, but that is where most of our struggle is focused. As Run Far Girl posed the question: Can I accept my body and still want to change it? She is basically echoing the sentiment in my post (well, she wrote and posted hers way before I did).

I wanted a space where anyone could post an image(s) of their body and say whatever they wanted. Good, bad, whatever. No limits to what you want to say to or about yourself or to the blog readers. However, I also asked that said persons would write why they appreciate the same body part(s).

As I was trying to find the words to write this post, lyrics from my fave singer kept creeping into my mind. So I thought I would share them with you.

Private Party
India.Arie
...I'm having a private party
Ain't no body here but me, my angels, and my guitar singing' baby look how far we've come here
I'm havin' a private party
Learning how to love me
Celebrating the woman I've become, yeah

I'm gonna take off all my clothes
Look at myself in the mirror
We're gonna have a conversation
We're gonna heal the disconnection
I don't remember when it started
But this is where it's gonna end
My body is beautiful and sacred
And I'm gonna celebrate it...
I love these lyrics and every time I hear this song (while I'm belting it out), I'm reminded that admiring and appreciating my (naked) body shouldn't be something shameful. I need to 'heal the disconnection' between loving and hating my body. It affords me luxuries that many take for granted - walking, running, playing soccer, throwing a softball, anything really. My body is strong and healthy, even though I am disillusioned by my idea of the 'perfect body'. I think we're all hoping to 'heal the disconnection' and love the body we have.

I am no stranger to half loving my body and half hating my body, which is why I wanted to give other people the opportunity to do this with me. I am and was scared shitless to do this, but I've been wanting too for a long time. Before and After pics are cool, but I wanted it to be something more than that. The raw honesty of people's response to one of my original post inspired me to do this.

Not too many actually followed through with submitting a picture and some text, but to those that did...THANK YOU! I wholeheartedly appreciate your openness to sharing images of your body, while also adding heartfelt meaning (via text) to your pictures. I know this wasn't easy, because I did this as well. I wish more would have submitted them, but what I was asking was not easy, by any means. It was really asking people to put themselves out there and be vulnerable. Not everyone can do that.

The pictures and text are in random order and will remain anonymous.
 

...and in no particular order, here is what these brave souls had to say about the images they submitted.

[My least favorite part of my body is where my upper leg meets my butt. I hate that area because of all the cellulite and stretch marks I have there. Believe it or not, my legs used to be my favorite part of my body (back when I was a 2/3 sport athlete). It's already hard being a retired college athlete but having these to remind me of the all the weight I've gained (40+ pounds) and how much I've let myself go is even harder. To some this might seem like nothing but to be honest, it's hard to look at myself in the mirror.

I do, however, appreciate my legs still. I appreciate the fact that they still have not failed me. I've never had a major injury throughout 20 years of being an athlete (soccer, track, and football). Even after all the weight gained and how out of shape I've gotten, my legs still carry me. They carry me when I play/coach soccer, lift weights, go on long runs, do sprints, etc. My legs still carry me through a beautifully blessed life☺️]

[I know I'm by no means fat but I think I don't know how to dress well for my body. I think the size on the pants matters more than the fit so I always end up with a little muffin top. 

I do love how my body can out run people on the field and allows me to feel so accomplished when finishing races. 

I know I don't see what others see and am always my own worst critic but it is hard to not pick out all the flaws!!!]

 
[I've always had a little bit of "fluff" around my middle, but despite always wanting flat abs, I was proud of my body and everything that it could do (run marathons, get through multiple yoga classes a week and crazy sessions with my trainer). But after having my first child I wasn't prepared for how much my middle has changed. The look of my stomach bothers me (hello stretch marks!, but 10 months of not using those muscles have left me with no core at all and that is worse. So much so that some simple crunches are impossible.  I gained 40 pounds during my pregnancy despite not over eating and staying mostly active - and I have lost all but 8 of them now at 9 weeks post delivery.  

I've also always had a large chest, and other than having to fork out $80 for a bra I knew my body was proportioned. However, now these puppies could have their own zip code and will likely continue that way for the foreseeable future as I have decided to breastfeed my son for the first year. It's frustrating because some of my favorite t shirts are now crop tops on me and I've had to make some postpartum additions to my wardrobe (I love stitch fix!). But knowing my son is healthy and happy does make all of my own insecurities worth it.]
[I don't care if a super model still has rolls when she sits, I still hate that I have them! I don't have a six pack, I don't fit into a size 2 or 4 (or even a 6). I don't have the stomach that I envy all over social media. My muffin top always makes me self conscious and has conditioned me to wear baggier tops. I wouldn't say I'm 'fat,' I would lean more toward 'fluffy' if I had to pick and adjective. I still wear a bikini and probably seem confident, all the while I'm super self conscious of how I look. I could have taken a pic of the cellulite on my legs, but that would have been the easy route for this post. Instead, I decided to be brave and share what makes me feel the most uncomfortable.

Even though I have these thoughts, I still appreciate the core of my body. It lets me do a lot  of the physical things I enjoy. It's not perfect, but I'm smart enough to know that to attain a perfect stomach is not a priority in my life. Of course I'd love a six pack, but I don't really want the lifestyle that requires. I can appreciate that I have some extra fluff, it means I am eating well, which also means I must be living a decent life to afford the luxuries that let me be fluffy.]
[When I was 18-23 I had the perfect body; it wasn't "skinny," it was athletic- I had a great booty & a flat tummy. Though I looked perfect these were the worst years of my life. My beauty was all I had & honestly I hated who I was. I got pregnant at 27 & started to see brown lines on my belly then as my belly grew stretch marks appeared & I wondered if anyone would want to see me naked again... I went into labor early; the doctors talked of c-section and I imagined looking horrible & deformed. Then the moment came and I didn't care how I looked, I just wanted my son out safe. Within moments he was out safe and my image of myself changed instantly. I was now someone's mom, I was someone's whole world no matter how I looked.

Pregnant with my next son I didn't gain as much weight which I thought great, it will be easy to loose!  But after I had him my "fat" changed & now I have a pooch that hangs and I am struggling to bounce back. I feel like my body is against me. I look at myself in the mirror and wonder who is this. My 6 year old says, mommy you have a fat belly & it makes me feel deflated. God bless good men- my husband says I love you just the way you are but do I love the way I am? I am proud of having a "mom bod" and happier than I've ever been. ]

[This is me: no make up, no time to even put earrings in today, and crazy wind blown frizzyness! Not just one but maybe 3 or four of my students said to me "miss Jamie are you sick?" "You are so pale!" "Have you been crying?!" I absolutely hate looking like I just woke up, not a fan. It really messes with my confidence. Just like I turn the car around if I forget my cell on the way to work, I turn around if I forget my make up... Except today haha!

One thing I value about me is that I always have on a smile and I think that covers over a crazy late morning, or s sleepless night pretty well.] 


I had no idea what to expect when I asked people to send me content of such a sensitive matter. But I'm really glad that I did. These are some real brave souls right here (I'm not including myself). Sharing parts of their bodies that normally are reserved for only a few sets of eyes. Our bodies do so much for us, yet we are also the most critical of their appearance. It is easy to get swept away in the aesthetics of the perfect body, which are plastered all over the media. But lets try to remember not too. Our bodies have done so much for us and continue to do so. Treat them well and speak nicely to them.

Again, thank you to those that took the time to snap a pic and write heartfelt words to accompany the pic. I appreciate your time and raw honesty you gave to this post.

Disconnected in the most connected way...  

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