HOW ARE YOU TENDER WITH YOUR ANIMAL BODY?

 image by Tina Maria Elena Bak www.instagram.com/tinamariaelena

image by Tina Maria Elena Bak
www.instagram.com/tinamariaelena

I clearly remember the year that my boobs started to grow. I was 12 years old and wanted them to disappear so badly. Having boobs meant that I couldn’t run like I used to, it meant unwanted attention, it meant being “dangerous” while really I felt IN danger. How could my body, that had carried me up until then, make me feel so unsafe? My breasts symbolized my loss of freedom to me, replaced by shame and burden

Yesterday I posted in my Instagram stories, “Have you told your boobs that you love them today,” to which a dear friend aptly responded, reminding me that not all folks love their “boobs” because of gender. What an important reminder to consider and name the experiences of some trans and non-binary folks!

What if parts of our body do not reflect our identity, including gender identity? How do we love our bodies if we have struggled with nourishing them? How do we love our bodies if they don’t fit into social or cultural ideals, especially those of us of racial or shape diversity?

My friend Lou’s response sparked a beautiful conversation on what it really means to love our bodies and ways that we are working towards that. It made me realize that I don’t know one person who doesn’t reject some part of their bodies. 

It also made me reflect on my own journey with my body and how it has been a long road to come into friendship with myself and my body. There are two things that felt huge in my own journey of healing: TOUCHING these rejected places and feeling SPIRITUAL SOVEREIGNTY over my body.

TOUCH
Touching the rejected parts of myself, in this case my breasts, has been monumental. Touch can be physical, or even with awareness brought to this area. You can use your breath to “touch,” or even words. For years now, I have started talking to my breasts more kindly. More recently, I’ve been massaging my breasts and doing chest guasha with a rose quartz guasha tool and rose oil my friend gifted me. I have started wearing less underwire and letting them go free more. I have meditated with them. It has been a long process, it is a daily practice. 

SPIRITUAL SOVEREIGNTY
Another part of the process has been taking spiritual ownership over my body. This means that the gift of this body belongs to me, and no one else. While I can have gratitude for where it came from, it is now my responsibility and also mine to decide how I walk in the world with it. It doesn’t belong to any government, person or spiritual figure. It belongs to me and for this reason I feel a fierce commitment to care and tend to it. Ways that I’ve taken ownership is by practicing self-care and continuing to learn how to say “No” when something is not in alignment with me. It has also been listening to my body - to its messages and needs.

AND YOU?
What are your experiences? How do you speak to your body? How you are tender with the places in your body that you don’t love or have even rejected? How are you working towards love?