Back in April I had some inspiration to create a couple of e-courses about reclaiming your body as an ally and something to celebrate.
I was a decent way through creating the first one, and then George Floyd was killed, riots started, Trump gave a green light for military force, and the reality check of the racial injustice, power struggles, and story of separation (to quote Charles Eisenstein) that we live within floored me. I spent a number of days on my knees, weeping, praying, groaning. Feeling a heartbreak that I can’t explain with words.
When I tried to get back into creative mode, my energy was zapped. “Why do they [these courses] even matter anymore?”, I asked myself.
Liking what you see in the mirror, feeling good about yourself, and finding your flow felt shallow and self-serving. It felt like there were bigger fish to fry than women with white skin (the majority of who these courses are likely to reach) learning to love their bodies.
So I pressed pause. Once again swimming in the dark pool of the unknown, praying to God, “What do you want from me?”
This weekend, an answer started to come. A lightbulb shining on this:
That while racism points to something much deeper than the color of someone’s skin, maybe a place to start is with the most obvious thing: the body.
And not just the differentiating characteristics of black, white, and brown, but also thin, fat, tall, short, curly or straight haired, able-bodied or not. All the ways we separate ourselves into categories and believe one better than the other.
I’ve been sitting with this, starting to write and have conversations about this. There is likely more to unfold.
At this point all I have is a question for you.
If you knew that making peace with your own body was a foundational step to knocking down the wall that divides us into ‘us vs them’, breeding resentment, shame, hate, oppression, and other evils of the world, would you do it?
Would you make peace with your own body, your own self, as a prayer for peace in this world?
I tried to articulate something to this effect in the TEDx talk I was invited to give in 2017 (by my friend Amber Wheatley, a woman with black skin I am now having quite insightful and healing conversations with around the topic of race. Race wasn’t mentioned in this talk, however, if you watch it, you can add ‘very different skin color’ at minute 14:45.).
Last week I listened to a talk by Bear Hebert on unpacking whiteness, and was introduced to the concept of ‘collective liberation’ (I know, I’m a little late to the game.)
Collective liberation is the idea that none of us are free until everyone is free.
That a white body isn’t free until a black and brown body is free.
That a thin body isn’t free until a fat body is free.
Think about it, if you live in a culture that idolizes thin white bodies, even if you have a thin white body, you are stuck, because as soon as your body changes size, you fall off the pedestal and your identity is no longer safe and secure.
So until we live in a society where there is no one on the pedestal, then we are all going to be living in chains. Whether your experience is contorting yourself into the same shape and size as the idol, or living out a story of ‘less than’, when your skin color, shape, size, or ability is different.
This is not cool for anyone.
So where do we go from here?
I don’t know yet, other than to sit with the question: Are you willing to make peace with your own body, your own self, your own history?
Because for sure if I can’t make peace with myself, how can I truly make peace with another?
And maybe, just maybe, if we each start to make our own bit of peace, a tidal wave shifting towards freedom and peace for all starts to grow.
For some first steps towards making peace with your body, join my newsletter and you’ll receive a copy of the True You Journey chapter, ‘My Body is Mine to Celebrate’. I am also available for trauma-informed coaching around the topics of body image, relationship with food, and letting yourself be seen.