I’ve been doing a lot of reading recently about loving your body. The bulk of these posts have been about not engaging in fat shamming and things of that nature. This really made me think about my own body story and what parts of I would want to write about here.
January – May 2011 I took a sociology class called “Body Politics” that really made me think about my own body. I thought a lot about how I see my body and how other people see my body. I also thought a lot about behaviors that I do and don’t do that contribute to my body image.
I grew up in a home where the body was an integral part of the life experience. Obviously this is true for most people. It’s difficult to experience life outside your body unless you’re really good at constant meditation or you’re a ghost. In my experience, a lot of my life revolved around my mom’s body. As the oldest of six children my mom was pregnant a lot. If I zoom through highlights of my young life my mom is pregnant in most of those memories.
Like most women my mom gained weight during her pregnancy and consequently spend a fairly significant amount of time focusing on loosing that weight. That’s definitely had an impact on how I view myself. I’ve also spent a lot of time hearing prengnant woman refer to themselves exclusively as “fat.”
In my mind I think “No, you’re not fat. You’re just growing a human being.” Which is pretty amazing, in my opinion. But still, it’s taken it’s toll. And while I’m not pregnant right now I hope to be within the next 3 years, so that’s something that I know I’ll need to watch out for.
Ironically, it’s the desire to not have a desirable looking body that plagues me the most. If you’ve read my introductory post you’ll know that I’m a sexual assault victim. Just for a little background on that. . .
At the time I was very physically active. I did cardio and weight lifting every day of the week. At that time I had a very toned physique. My boyfriend/assailant made that comment very frequently. That he wouldn’t “want” me if I didn’t work out. After I ended our “relationship” I also ended my working out regime. Recently I started wanting to exercise again, but I would not lift weights. That body is not one that I want back. At first I was swimming, but after I couldn’t afford my gym membership anymore I started walking.
The problem is, I know that lifting weights is an important part to a healthy lifestyle. It helps to prevent osteoperosis (something of a problem in my family) and increases heart health and stamina. Believe me, I need all the stamina I can get.
How does this fit into the title “Body Love”? I know this has been somewhat rambling, so I’ll attempt to bring it back together.
Despite these two things that I’ve brought up in my own life, I still strive to love my body. I love my body for what I hope it will someday create. I love my body for doing what I need it to do now. Despite some significant road blocks I try to maintain habits that will show my body how grateful I am for all it does. Most of all, I honor and respect other people’s bodies regardless of how they look. Our bodies do amazing things and they require all the respect we can give them.