Undoing Body Shame

Let’s talk about having a flat stomach while you’re sitting down. I’ve desired this trait as far back as I can remember, I’ve heard women praise Instagram photos of others accomplishing the feat, I’ve watched us poke and pinch and wish and work, but why? Why do we want a body that remains rigid even as it moves and breathes? Most materials change shape as they bend. They might wrinkle or pucker or shoot out weird, why wouldn’t we accept the same of our bodies? Now of course if you’ve got a washboard set standing or sitting, more power to you hunny, get your life. I’m just saying if you don’t, can that be okay?

And I say this knowing full well that I still strategically cropped this post’s thumbnail picture to start below the stomach before uploading it. I’ve progressed on the road towards bodily acceptance but I’m still walking it, and I wanted to show the middle (no pun intended) of that process. You can be on the path to self-acceptance and still edit photos to hide the things you’ve been taught to hide, or have a favorite side, or refuse to wear shorts, and that’s okay. The point and hope is that we work towards undoing the shame that’s been attached to showing all of ourselves. That we work towards silencing the voices that tell us “nobody wants to see [insert whatever body part here]” It’s a process, and we, especially and including myself, are all working on it.

P.S. If you’re on this journey of undoing body shame, I’ve got some things to help! First is Formation, which is geared towards helping black women overcome the messages of shame that we were taught through a 4-week long one-on-one and in-community program that will take you through four steps ([1] understanding the correlation between representation, shame, and effects on the body, [2] how is shame manifesting in your life and how to break its cycles, [3] how to inhabit the body and find healthy reflections, [4] how to heal in community) to more self-acceptance. Find out more about it here (or just go straight to the 30-minute intro call here).

The second is a style session, open to any woman who would like more tips on how to accentuate her body, or specific ideas for dressing for an event, or any which-way you’d like to use the time. You can sign up for a free intro call here or book an appointment here.

Happy self-loving!