No Wrong Way to Have a Body

 pottery created and photographed by:  Malinda Reich

pottery created and photographed by: Malinda Reich

As of this moment, I am 23 years old and I weigh 230 pounds. Growing up I would have equated that sentence with laziness and would have been disappointed in my future self. But I love my body more than I ever have before. My body is glorious. I picked the image above [photograph depicts five different sized shaped pottery vases, some tall and thin, some short and round] because it really reminds me of the thought: "there is no wrong way to have a body". All bodies are beautiful. 

 At 8 years old, I went on my first diet and tried numerous crash diets and loathed my body for many years. I would pinch parts of my body, hating them. I've had many different bodies in 23 years. The last six years or so, I've really been working on my relationship with my body. I have up and down days. However, in the past three years I've been noticing that my self thoughts have been more and more about love, acceptance, and JOY. Last Spring I wrote in my journal, and I've turned to this journal entry in the past few months when I have had down days. This entry reminds me of a moment where I felt such an explosion of power that I wrote it down:

I grew up in a society where I was taught that my body was solely for the consumption of others and how they perceived its shape was where my value lay. As I work to liberate myself from this binding I become empowered to find out that I find pleasure in the power of its design and workings. My body is utilitarian and I find joy in its uses. The strength of my thighs as I climb a mountain, the flexibility of my joints as I stretch, the softness as I encircle a loved one in a hug.

My body is valuable. Regardless of how it is perceived by others. My gestures of touch are not payment for inhabiting this planet but gifts that I choose to bestow, and therefore all the more beautiful and loving. When I look in the mirror, my body radiates the gratitude, knowledge, and power I have learned to see. 

Ways to help yourself love your body:

+ Find a therapist/body image support group

+ Learn about the technicality of the body

+ Write positive affirmations

+ Follow body positive people on Social media

my favorite instagram accounts: @BodyPosiPanda @Sitting_Pretty @JadeBeallPhotography and @NolaTrees

+ Pay attention to how your body feels when you hug someone (isn’t it amazing that we can use our bodies to help us bring comfort and assurance to someone? Soak in that moment when giving a hug)

+ Journal your thoughts

+ Find an exercise you enjoy (exercise should be a pleasure not an act of torture) 

+ Spend time naked

+ Be aware of your inner thoughts - good and bad

+ How would you want your daughter/son/friend to think about their body and women’s bodies? 

+ Healing is not linear

+ Create a positive body image board on Pinterest

here is a link to my Pinterest board https://pin.it/34luudemwjgk2u

+ Be aware of how you compliment other women - change it to reflect comments on their personality or ask a sincere question

+ Buy and wear clothes that you LIKE that fit the current body you have (instead of holding out until you gain you ideal weight or body shape) 

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**This is a living post. That means I will add suggestions and resources as time goes on and I find some gems I want to share. Last updated: January 12, 2018