Where did all of this begin?
It was that month… that short month where close to 15 different friends of mine, (unprovoked, I might add,) voiced their struggle for a positive self image. Back to back, one right after the other, my people were being harassed by body shame. My usual heart–to–hearts were being bombarded by an unwelcome intruder.
It was downright intolerable. The subject just kept turning up! It was such an obnoxious, terrible, frustrating problem that it left my 18-year-old self with the eloquent question, "O.K.... what in the EFF is going on?!!!" These people were GORGEOUS to me; beautiful, well rounded, lovable young people. Even still, each of us fought against a current of self – rejection. Why?
I was set onto an official investigation.
Our culture reeks of vanity; this is no secret to anyone. Still, In my heightened awareness of the issue there came another realization; nobody was really talking about it. It was as if everyone was choosing to ignore a toxic, green plague that had clearly cast a spell over us all. Why weren't there more support groups for this? Considering the gravity of the issue, there wasn't nearly enough conversation going on.
Every single one of us has internalized the idea that anything less than airbrushed reads as "flaw." Humanism is altogether forbidden. This is ridiculous, of course. Yet, we are hardwired to think this way. How can we help but subconsciously assume the philosophies that have compounded us since childhood?
In my study of self-image these past few years, I've heard a collection of many stories. What I've learned is that each journey to body positivity is very different. While some simply fight to resist destructive media messages, other habits run deeper. Diet obsession, binge eating, steroid use --- it's all a manifestation of our desperate need for control when we have felt trespassed upon. Worse, there is the horror of abuse that leaves many feeling shamed and unworthy of love.
So now, what? We've identified a problem, but how do we fight the strong current?
Take heart! For, although the body positive movement is counter - cultural, it is alive and well.
The great thing is, there are many of us that have learned to slam the door when insecurities come knocking, (as they do come for us all.) While none of us will achieve "perfection" in this lifetime, we have accumulated so much wisdom amongst ourselves. We have all lived and learned, acquiring profound lessons and uncovering hopeful messages. When we share these messages with each other, we make our experiences worthwhile.
Here's what I do know for sure; things become smaller when we find a way to express them. In voicing our troubles and insecurities, we release them from our psyches. This is why I'm an advocate for journaling. Write it down: get it out.
I also know that the worst thing any of us can do, is to isolate ourselves from the people that love us. We thrive in community where we can be reminded of how needed and valued we are.
Knowing these things, I have decided to create The Body Journal: that safe community. I will be collecting blogs written by men and women, who will tell us of the adversaries against their self esteem, and how they’ve stood against them.
My intention is to string together the stories that will benefit both the writer and the reader. While the soul telling the story will experience the grand release, the reader may perhaps find themselves… not so alone.
I am simply hosting a party to celebrate body positivity, and everyone is invited! There is much to be applauded, for while we have strong opposition, we have also, resilience.
2 Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
This is the space where I can initiate the conversation. Everyone: meet everyone. Let’s enjoy our accomplishments, share in our trials, and continue the heart–to–hearts that started it all.
Welcome to The Body Journal.
You are safe, you are free, you are beautiful.