The joy of a free body keeps me active. I have seen to it that conscious, intentional movement is a part of my daily life because I like feeling strong, flexible and able to do anything I need to do. When I look down at my body and see what I have done with what I have been given, I am genuinely proud.
My conscious presence in my physical body, in stark contrast to the hovering distance I have kept from my emotional body, pushed me to the edge of what I could do half-heartedly. It convinced me that I could not linger too long in emotional non-committance. I had to jump in.
Like extra pounds, fear weighed me down, anger cramped my body, and suspicion curled me in on myself until I could only feign health and happiness. Only show a nervous smile to the world as I hovered in between rage and shadow, and behave as if I had it all together, even as I snapped at my loved ones and pushed people away. In this, I didn't even fool myself.
When considering what I have done to free myself of my emotional weakness, my emotional heft, I would say that physical activity has been by far the easier task. Taking a bike ride or a yoga class is a joy compared to looking at myself and taking stock of my regret, resentment, and pain. .
Maybe it has helped. Maybe my ability to sit with the physical discomfort of breaking my muscles down and building them back up has pushed me to do the same with my emotional sludge. Maybe watching my body grow healthy, even as I stretched it and pushed it to work through muscular pain that sometimes brought on tears, has taught me that I can do that with my emotional body. Or believe that I can.
Emotional workouts are involuntary on some level. Unlike a nine a.m. yoga class, my grief or pain or sadness springs up and I must ride it the full eight seconds in order to break it. Sometimes eight seconds lasts weeks. This last time it was a full month of breaking down into the dark of my hollow places, where I fear the worst, feel only loss, and hold on for dear life as I am tossed and turned through the gunk of my innards.
I could let go. I could just leave the rodeo and never return, instead choose something outside myself to distract. Something outside myself to keep me from my work. But it gets harder and harder to stop once you start. It's like the first time you see real gains in your yoga practice, like touching your toes or bringing your body into a headstand, once you taste just a bit of emotional freedom, it becomes hard to stop.
The release of the bullshit that holds me back is revelatory. Better than any high or amusement, walking around with a little less pain in my heart, a little less tightness in my chest, a little less gunk in my guts, is a feeling of pure potency. It is a glimpse of what could be. It is the light that blinds in its clarity.
I remind myself from time to time. I used to be tighter. I used to be heavier. I used to be all closed up. I used to carry more than I could possible hold in my fractured heart and bound up chest. The weight could be seen in my eyes and heard in my voice. I remember.
I used to carry so much more.
This, for me, is what body positive means. Developing a relationship with your body so that you can understand, accept, and love yourself as thoroughly as you deserve. If you like what you have read here, please share it. If you don't agree, let me know. I would love to talk further about this topic.
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