I remember the first time I couldn’t fit into a pair of jeans that I swore I’d had forever. It was as if they were always going to fit, no matter what they were my trusty go-to pair. I remember thinking that I’d gained weight and as I pinched my love handles I thought about how I could change this part of my body. I was 14.
Clearly amidst the changes of puberty, though I’d had my period for three years already my whole body was filling out and while my breasts had already developed early I could NOT believe that I was a C cup. You can bet I was taunted and teased. In truth, I had a tiny frame, and boobs and was absolutely everything that anyone could make fun of. It was mortifying. I walked around trying to cover up LITERALLY every part of me. I wore covered tops, t-shirts, I’d always been relatively tom-boyish but this accelerated my fear of being observed for my body and it instigated this self-loathing of it.
Fast forward two years, I’m an active sports player at the peak of my game just starting out on the JV volleyball team as a freshman. And then I get slammed with a crippling illness and month and months later a final diagnosis. If you haven’t read my full story you can read more here. I went through months of trying to comprehend not what was going on with my body, but why.
I was consumed with both hatred for my body turning on me and determination that it wasn’t going to stop me from living tha I actually missed a huge point. Well, I suppose missed is relative if you consider that I understand it now. I never thought that my body was actually trying to communicate with me.
In both of these cases, my body was doing EXACTLY what it is supposed to do. EXACTLY what it’s designed to do. I am a female who at some point may have children and so my body was putting on weight and transforming to be able to support and give life some day. And for the love, I was 14. It’s terrifying to think what little girls and teenagers think of their body’s this day in age. I’m hopeful that with more body positive movements and women I truly madly deeply admire (and have mega girl crushes on) like Jen Pastiloff, Jessamyn Stanley, Rachel Brathen, Dana Falsetti and Kerri Verna along with so so many others who are standing up for young women to understand they are enough just as they are that this is getting better.
What I didn’t realize while being a teenager my most ill, was that the illness, the symptoms rather (before it had a label) were all a pathway of communication for my body to my brain. In order for me to comprehend that something deeper was going on internally I needed to experience the physicality of it. I needed to understand the language of my body. Something I’ve come to know and continually explore over many years later.
Our body’s are intricate systems that work on a delicate level of message processing. Think about it. Your body is constantly speaking to you. You have a headache; maybe you’re coming down with something or perhaps something you ate doesn’t sit well. You’re swollen; you may not be flushing out your system or you may be holding on to water from too much sodium. It can be great things as well. You get goose bumps the instant someone gently touches the back of your arm. The sensation you feel on your skin when you receive a bear hug from your dad. The feeling of having someone kiss you for the first time on your forehead. These are all forms of language that your body has with YOU. It’s a matter of breaking down, of trusting yourself and getting deeper into how you communicate.
I’ve worked with myself for years on this. Through feeling into what’s right for me, experiencing sensory releases through acupuncture, through food as medicine and through embodiment yoga there are so many ways that I’ve been able to better understand my own body’s communication pathways.
It’s not always a matter of asking why. Your body first and foremost asks you to listen. To tune in, to tap into the depths of your physicality and soul. This is how you get to the heart of your body’s language. It’s why I am so excited to co-lead the Body Language Workshop that Tera Bucasas and I have created and are hosting at the end of this month.
I am so incredibly passionate about this because every cell in me wishes and hopes that those of you, and for all those young women out there and honestly boys too, won’t be walking around questioning their bodies and wondering “what’s wrong with me?” On October 30th I want nothing more than to help guide people more into trusting their bodies, on a physical and emotional level. I am so overjoyed to be able to share this with you all. The workshop takes place in Seattle, October 30th from 2-5 PM and if you’re interested you can register here! I hope to see and get to explore more with you all there!