I have always struggled with loving my body. Even when I was a young girl, I was very thin, yet still thought I should be thinner. Smaller. As I aged, I participated in the vicious cycle that I believe many of us have. I have even seen memes of this online, as if our shame and self belittlement is something funny. The more weight I gained, the more I would look back and say, "Oh, you think you were too big last year? Well, I would love to be that size now." Every year only appreciating the body I used to have. It makes me think of the hilarious quote from Schitt's Creek's Moira Rose - "Take a thousand naked pictures of yourself now. You may currently think, 'Oh, I'm too spooky.', or, 'Nobody wants to see these tiny boobies.' But believe me, one day you will look at those photos, with much kinder eyes and say, 'Dear God, I was a beautiful thing!'" Funny as this quote is (also, I absolutely adore this show), it struck me as sad, too. Why must we wait until we hate our bodies and appearances more in the future to think of our present self as beautiful? And was Moira herself, in her elegant beauty, not a beautiful thing at her age in the show?
Struggling with how we look is not a small phenomenon. Many people experience this. How heartbreaking is that, when we think of all the souls in the world currently despising their bodies or appearances?
I am currently reading Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype, a book by Jungian analyst, author and poet Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D. Or perhaps I should say I have been reading it for about 10 months and just passed the half-way point! I absolutely adore this book, originally published in 1989. This book, it seems, is making a sort of comeback! When it came out, still relatively on the end of the Women's Liberation Movement, it posed ideas not popularized before this time. I attended a full moon circle this summer, and some of the younger women in their 30s and 20s began musing on the magic of this book, as we had only discovered this book recently. A few women in their 50s laughed when we asked if they had ever read it. "Of course I have read that! I remember when that book came out, I am surprised you have read it."
All this to say, the wisom in this book is timeless. Pure magic.
The other day, I began to read the chapter called, Joyous Body: The Wild Flesh. I dog earred almost every page. The way that she described the body in partnership with the soul made my eyes tear up. The way that she described the contentious relationship so many of us have with our body brought me grief. The following quotes are just some of the wise magic I found in this chapter. I hope they may inspire you just like they inspired me!
"To confine the beauty and value of the body to anything less than this magnificence is to force the body to live without its rightful spirit, its rightful form, its right to exultation. To be thought ugly or unacceptable because one's beauty is outside the current fashion is deeply wounding to the natural joy that belongs to the wild nature."
"Some say the soul informs the body. But what if we were to imagine for a moment that the body informs the soul, helps it adapt to mundane life, parses, translates, gives the blank page, the link, and the pen with which the soul can write upon our lives?... The idea in our culture of body solely as sculpture is wrong, Body is not marble. That is not its purpose. Its purpose is to protect, contain, support, and fire the spirit and soul within it, to be a repository for memory, to fill us with feeling."
"There is no 'supposed to be' in bodies. The question is not size or shape or years of age, or even having two of everything, for some do not. But the issue is, does this body feel, does it have right connection to pleasure, to heart, to soul, to the wild? Does it have happiness, joy? Can it move its own way, move, dance, jiggle, sway, thrust? Nothing else matters."
"Wild Woman shows up in many sizes, shapes, colors, and conditions."
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