You are exquisite. An unrepeatable miracle.
The most perfect and imperfect combination of DNA and cells, nature and nurture, time and place.
You are a mind, a collection of firing synapses and neural pathways that will never be repeated.
Hurting and healing, success and failure.
You are graduation days and funerals, tears of joy and tears of pain.
You are numbness and apathy, the days that will be forgotten in time, the days of breakthrough and the ones that feel like they will never not be red raw and burning.
An entire galaxy of thoughts and feelings and you live in this body.
My body has grown and changed with the times and seasons.
It has carried me through my most beautiful memories, it has felt the sun of the Pilbara and the frigid rain of the countryside that raised me.
I have watched it grow in strength with every hour spent at the barre, with every performance.
I have felt as it somehow remembers the steps and combinations that my nervous mind cannot.
My body has held every bruise and cut for twenty years, it has held itself together through weeks of sleepless nights and days of joy and laughter.
It is the vessel that let me run both too and from.
I never thought that watching myself grow from a small girl with sticks for limbs to a woman would be so terrifying.
I never believed that I didn’t like my body until I was faced with the prospect of losing my tight, malicious control over it.
I never thought that the rules I lived by would begin to kill my mind and spirit as well as my body.
I barely realised until, for my own safety, it was taken from me.
I never thought surrendering control and trusting the process of hurt and healing would leave me so deeply confused and uncomfortable.
Make this house my home.
This became my prayer, every day in front of my mirror as I tried to trust the process, to trust my body to do what it was designed for. Let it protect me, let me trust that my physical being was designed with love to hold me together.
I have lived in 15 houses. I’ve walked into empty, echoing rooms too many times. I stopped learning home numbers and unpacking boxes eventually because every new house was simply a roof over my head.
There is a striking difference between a house and a home. A house keeps the rain off until you have to move on again, a home is where you feel safe, loved.
As I live in a body that I am unfamiliar with, I feel lost and empty, like my voice is echoing through a house of cardboard boxes, mothballs, and packing tape.
But slowly, I am making this house, my body, my home.
Loving your body has to be more than looking in a mirror and liking what you see.
Love is messy and complicated and sometimes it means seeing the bigger picture despite what the close up shows you.
I am learning to love my body beyond its aesthetics, because I have to. I am learning to love it as the gift that it is, the house that holds a broken but healing person.
This house will become my home (though it takes time and tears and sometimes weeks of aimless wandering).
So, I will love my body because it is a gift.
A scientific miracle.
Designed to bring me life.
Because it has carried me across stages and studios.
Because it is more forgiving to me than my mind is.
Because despite how it changes as I grow older, it is still mine.
Because it is a temple of the Holy Spirit, an instrument of a greater story.
It has witnessed abuse and it has witnessed love and it has kept me going.
I will love my body for its strength and grace.
I will love my feet that have let me dance and run.
I will love my arms that have held my siblings, my hands that I can raise in joy or surrender, that have held my pen as I have written hundreds of words in exams and journals.
I will love every inch of my skin with its scars and bruises, my rib cage and my spine, every tendon and muscle that holds this girl together.
I will be confident in my bodies pre-programmed protective instincts. That it knows what I need to stay alive. I will trust that it knows what it is doing.
I will make this house my home.
I pledge to:
Develop and celebrate body confidence throughout Love Your Body Week!
Start learning how to love my body however I am feeling, however I look and wherever I am!
Not criticise my individual body parts and let size dictate my self-worth, because I am a whole person
Realise that it is a journey of understanding. It is not about trying to conform to an idealised body image
Stop giving the scale power and stop letting the number it reads determine the success of my day
Stop the fat talk, in regards to both myself and others and fight back against my negative thoughts
Try and not compare my body to others
Not be affected by negative appeals of the media
Be grateful for all the things my body allows me to do, instead of fixating on the size of my body
Remind myself that bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and that no matter what shape and size my body may be, it is worthy of kindness, compassion, love and nourishment
This year from the 3rd-9th of September is Butterfly’s Love Your Body Week, a campaign that seeks to “actively change the negative conversation by encouraging people to stop appearance based talk and body shaming and replace this with the celebration of body confidence“.
Butterfly provides a wide variety services of services around Australia to those impacted by disordered eating. They advocate for improved eating disorder services, as well as providing their own face to face programs in some states, a phone councilling service, as well as online support groups that can be accessed globally.
All my love,