The fabulous hewet_ka_ptah has invited me to travel through the book “Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance” by Rosie Molinary. Since I can never resist a good invitation to read, write and journey with a friend, here I am. Now the book is set up to have daily exercises. I must confess that I don’t always do so well with daily exercises, so I’ll pledge to have each exercise take… as long as it needs to take. And that certainly could be more than 24 measly hours.
Day one invites me to “begin” … as in begin a new paper journal. I’m not going to do that because that’s the easiest way to not have it happen for me. A paper journal will get buried beneath a pile of books and papers, stacked away for “later” attention and then forgotten. My computer isn’t going to be buried, and my blog is one of the opening tabs on my browser, so LiveJournal it is. Besides, I’ve already journaled so much here.
And I am to write in response to this prompt: What are your hopes – personally and for the world – with regard to body image and beauty perception? How can you begin to live your hopes today? Thinking about what you want most for yourself and for the world allows you to act on that information.
I have a jumble of thoughts in response to this that touch on wishing for more diversity in images, a change in society’s focus on how a body looks as opposed to what it can do and how it houses the spirit within. I’m also thinking about how socialized I feel to comment on bodies, my own and those around me. The standard is set by the media and our culture, and I think that goes deeper than “smarmy men on Madison Ave. decide what’s sexy/beautiful/etc.” There is a feedback loop between the media and our culture. Sometimes it is difficult to see where the beginning and endings lie, and sometimes it’s not clearly cut at either place. And so, this is definitely one place where I think the personal is political, or at least cultural. Why does our culture support these images? What mirror is being held up for us? What values are reflected?
So what I would like for myself and for the world is to see beauty in diverse images of people across the gender spectrum and for the world to move towards seeing that as well. I would like to bring my own focus on my body to what it does and what it houses, as opposed to how it compares to … pretty much anything. I would like to stop being the mouthpiece for what society thinks a body should be, and I would like to dig to the deepest roots of that and pull it out.
In my experience, the road to change lies first in noticing. So if I begin to notice in myself when I am comparing and judging, I can begin to recognize why and see what needs are being met. And rather than looking at outer wrappings, maybe I will spend more time looking for the spirit in the temple, so to speak. And realistically, this is hard work. I have a lifetime of unlearning to do. I’ve gotten better at focusing on health, but some days it feels more like a concession than a victory, if that makes sense. Like, “Okay, body, we’re not going to be 5’10 and 135 pounds, like, ever, so maybe we’ll just be healthy. Yeah. Healthy. Who needs thin anyway? Heh heh. Heh heh. Heh.” So I’ll start with noticing. That seems reasonable.
PS: If you’re a Facebook friend and would like to join me in this work, let me know so I can add you to the group. 🙂