When Body Shame Sneaks Up Behind You

Snow Angels,

As the holidays approach, particularly Thanksgiving which we are celebrating this week in the U.S., it is common to feel a nagging sense of impending body anxiety and a fear of overeating.

Today I’d like to share an insightful tool as well as a page from my personal diary, so that you can leave that nonsense at the door and fully enjoy all the beauty and connection that this season is truly intended for.

I absolutely LOVE my body and feel incredibly sexy and at home in my own skin.  But despite all the work that I’ve done to get there, there are still moments where body anxiety and shame can catch me off guard.

For example, the other day I was noticing a feeling of, shall we say, flabbiness? Wiggle and jiggle? Tightness in my jeans and bloating all over that made me feel, well, FAT?

When this happens there are usually two voices that start up a rousing round of psychological tennis in my mind:

Voice #1 says: Oh God! I’m gaining weight! I’m unsexy! I’m bloated! My value is disappearing before my very eyes!

Voice #2 says: Fuck you! That’s bullshit! I will not play into the mindf*ck that tells me my waistline and my value are the same thing, so shut it!

If Voice #1 is the lead character in Mean Girls, Voice #2 is her tattooed twin sister.

Notice, that Voice #2 may seem like an anarchist at first, but when you listen closely you will hear that Voice #2 is really just anxiety about HAVING body anxiety.

When it comes to these twin sisters, you and I both know that putting duct tape over their mouths will only bolster their creativity and that they will find even sneakier ways to get to you.

(Like when I was a rascally little kid and would find all my Christmas presents early, so my Mom would look for better hiding spots, which really only improved my sleuth-like skills in the long run.)

Silencing them won’t work because these ladies actually have some deep wisdom to offer you.

quote-human-body-is-sacredClick to tweet this quote!

When you feel fat, or old, or ugly, or stupid, or any other type of appearance anxiety, I implore you to take a moment and realize that these things are not actual FEELINGS. 

These words are adjectives. 

A FEELING on the other hand, is a noun. Which begs the question:

What is it that you are really feeling?

When I was experiencing the wiggle and jiggle the other day, I sat down and asked myself this very question.  Here is a page from my own self-archaeological diary, and the jewels that were dug up from deep within that fertile earth:

Ok, I feel fat. But I know that fat is not a feeling. So what is it that I’m really feeling?

Well, I’m dating someone new that I really like, and we have become quite serious.  He’s going to be here in 15 minutes.  I feel really scared about this relationship.  I feel like I’m just starting to really enjoy being alone after getting divorced, and I’m scared that it’s too soon.  I’m scared that we’ll fall in love, but what if someday we wake up and he doesn’t love me back? Or I don’t love him back? Wouldn’t it be better to dance with the devil I know, than risk having my heart broken again?

Ahhhh, so what I’m really feeling is scared.

As I wrote these words I realized that I had been placing all of this fear, anxiety and intensity on my poor little bloated belly.  I had been blaming her for my feelings of insecurity and nervousness, because it is so much easier to think that the unknown can be controlled by doing a juice fast to reduce bloating, than it is to face the truth that love is shaky and messy and unpredictable.

Once I came to this realization, I felt an enormous weight lift off my belly.  She went from being a verbally abused little kid, crying and hiding in the corner, to a lighthearted, cartwheeling, happy little princess once I began to direct my feelings appropriately.

This process always teaches me that my body is not a battleground.  It is an oracle.  A teacher.  A friend.  It holds and absorbs the fears that my mind is just too afraid to look at square in the eye.

But when I slow down to listen to and unpack all that she is holding for me, I can discern my own truth, and I become free.

I do hope that this tool offers you an experience of  knowing yourself more deeply, and connecting with the most precious, sacred, sexy part of you this holiday: your white hot truth.

With Love, Wiggles and Happy Jiggles,

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