body shame, leotards and mirrors

“What has become clear to me is that healing my relationship with food is ultimately about tending to my deepest inner nature in the most respectful way possible. It requires that I learn to honor and care for my subtle energetic capacities so that I don’t have to artificially buffer myself with food or by carrying excess weight”

written by Melody Mischke, article linked here: https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/blog-the-banyan-insight/details/protective-eating/

I don’t know why I feel like I’m constantly battling my body. Like I’m upset at it for not looking a certain way. I think that’s a deep wound between my body and I. I’m constantly disappointed by how it looks, constantly poking and prodding, grabbing and trying to tuck away fat, and shaming it non stop. Why do I only see value in bodies that look a certain way? Why do I think that I need to fit some impossible standard to be worthy or beautiful, that doesn’t allow room for all the many different expressions of beauty? Why do I want to shrink so that I could feel better, more confident, more successful? Why do I think that the only thing standing between me and my ultimate success and happiness is my appearance?

That doesn’t make any sense.

 My Divine self offered to me today that true beauty comes from the heart. She told me that her “body” and mine is just a projection of light configured into a form. I think that as Sacred Humans, we are ultimately offered the choice to configure our body however we like or want it to look. This is possible through subliminals, frequencies, Law of Attraction and many different techniques. But what keeps us from this “ideal” body that we hold in our mind’s eye, is maybe (for me) a deep sense of unworthiness. Thinking that I don’t deserve to look the way I want to. That I’m stuck inside a body I hate that expands, contracts and deteriorates every day. While the reality is that our bodies are organic matter to hold our soul, as our light bodies start to be activated and expanded, they can offer miracles and magic that seem maybe superhuman to others. 

This deep unworthiness I feel is a core wound, and I’m noticing how it oozes and trickles into every aspect of my life. This comes from the initial separation wound of fragmenting off of Divine Source. Going from complete love and one-ness into separation can be traumatizing. Feeling like an orphan, unwanted and unloved and unable to understand why we were abandoned. When really we were given an incredible opportunity to explore the depths of darkness in relation to Source in order to lovingly remember and come back to it. Truly we are all still one with the Divine and connected to it infinitely, no matter what else we have been programmed to believe. These wounds come up from many lifetimes living in density, abuse, conflict, all traumas that keep repeating and playing out in each timeline, begging to be healed. We have the opportunity to explore all of these, hold them each in love and compassion, and watch as they transmute in the light. 

For this reason, I’m trying to let go of fixation on my body. I’m going to try a no mirror challenge, for at least 7 days, and see what that brings up for me. I know that in the past (and now) I’m constantly looking in the mirror, examining my face, lamenting pimples popping up, and judging myself. I constantly look at my body, compare it to yesterday or the day before (even though our bodies naturally fluctuate and change) and get anxious and upset if I’m more bloated or gained some weight. 

This also reminds me of dance classes when I was studying Musical Theatre. The uniform was always a black leotard and tights, in a studio with floor to ceiling mirrors surrounding you. That is an incredibly confronting thing to face every day. Being forced to wear a leotard is (in my opinion) uncomfortable, unflattering and leads to so much self consciousness. It’s tight and itchy and leaves no room to hide. I understand that some people prefer leotards and that’s great, but I think everyone should be able to choose what they’re comfortable wearing. So many dancers I’ve spoken to during my dissertation about mental health in performing arts mentioned leotards and body dysmorphia in dance class. From my own experience, whenever I felt bloated or was on my period, putting on that leotard and having to confront my reflection was terrifying. Then you’re in class, comparing your body to your classmates, trying to focus on technique, while in your mind you just feel gross and unhappy and want to hide. You also have to keep your eyes on yourself in the mirror and constantly be pinpointing your flaws and what you’re doing wrong. 

Because dance requires “perfection” and technique in the physical body, it’s natural that we’re constantly fixated on it, correcting ourselves in the mirror and receiving corrections from teachers. Corrections from teachers are necessary and beneficial to learning dance, but sometimes those corrections can go too far. What I’ve witnessed myself on a few occasions, and heard about from other’s stories, is a repeated history of dance teachers commenting on or body shaming dancers. Teachers would call people out for gaining weight, shame and ridicule them for their appearance, and say things like “if you don’t look like that (demonstrating one of my thin and muscular classmates) you should not be wearing a crop top to an audition.” Even these comments are perceived as gentle and kind compared to the rest of the industry. They also can go the other way equally uncomfortably. My teacher always told me I “look like a dancer” while at the same time making me feel that I would never be able to technically or practically achieve a high level of skill. He commented that I had a lovely thin figure, but no strength, even though I worked out nearly every day and spent hours in the studio on the weekends. I noticed that my dance skills those three years never really improved because I was constantly nervous and self-conscious in class and didn’t think I was capable of picking up choreography or being good at it. I think that musical theatre training kind of destroyed my love of dance, because before I went I had a deep and personal passion for it. I recently met one of my old dance teachers who I love so much, and the only one who actually made me BELIEVE that I could be a dancer. I enjoyed those classes so much, I enjoyed the work and the learning process, and improved way more in that short time than I did in 3 years of rigorous training. I felt satisfied and happy with myself after those classes, and didn’t worry so much about my technique and pick up skills. Modern dance gave me a freedom of expression that was so much more gratifying than jazz. I hope that going forward I can rediscover and rekindle my love for dance, in a much more open and satisfying way. 

My goal is not to detach from my body. Instead I want to FEEL into my body more. I want to cultivate a love for it in the sensations and energy that runs through it. Working out and doing yoga allows me to really make space and open up in my body, as well as feel the strength and power that it has readily available. I want to learn to love my body in its essence and being, in a true and deep way. Not a superficial kind of love that is conditional and based on how it looks today. I want to honor and appreciate my body in all of the amazing things it does, and let go of needing it to change and look a certain way. This last one gives me chills, because I know it’s not going to be easy.

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