The Art of Sitting Comfortably Without Shame and Shining Light
Hello from Bora Bora! I am on vacation in Bora Bora with my husband celebrating 15 years together as a couple, and we are having a blast! Bora Bora is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and it is hard to believe that what your eyes are seeing is real, it is that beautiful! I have been enjoying every minute of this trip and have been reading, meditating, and thinking a lot as I relax on the beach or the balcony of our little hut on the water. There are so many beautiful insights I am learning more about and becoming conscious of when it comes to female value, health, and wellness, that I will be writing more about shortly. But, the one lesson that has received a shocking amount of response on social media was this photo and my caption.
"I read a quote one time from Kate Winslet that has always stayed with me. She said, “As a child, I never heard one woman say to me, I love my body.” I have never heard any of the women in my family say nice things about their bodies either. But I do have one very vivid memory of a family trip when I was about eleven at a beach house in Maine. My second cousin was a little older than me but not much, she was not skinny and not overweight, just a normal healthy size for her build. I remember all the cousins were playing a board game and she was wearing a bikini and sitting just like I am in this photo. She didn’t care at all what her stomach looked like; she just sat comfortably and confidently. That memory has stayed with all the years because it was the first time I had seen a girl be comfortable in her skin. I want my daughter to grow up hearing women in her life speak positively about themselves and grant her permission to sit comfortably without question. So the next time you feel self-conscious about your stomach as you sit on the beach, just know there might be a little girl who remembers you forever.❤️ "
There were hundreds of comments from women sharing their personal stories, rallying in support, and saying, "We need more of this!" I agree. We do need more of this, but I have realized that unless women see themselves as the biggest influence on the women and girls around them, we won't see more of this! There is this irrational belief that you need thousands of followers on social media and be an "influencer" to have a powerful and meaningful influence. If we continue to believe this false belief, then we will stay where we are. We will forever be stuck in the proverbial "Sucking in" position waiting to breathe and denying ourselves to the opportunity to live as we are.
I understand that this image is powerful because it is natural and let's be real.... the last thing we see on social media are natural female bodies. But, we must also stop to examine why showing a woman sitting comfortably is such a big deal. I am a person on vacation sitting in a swimsuit; I didn't find the cure for cancer, or rescue injured sea turtles on my swim. I think this image and the response on social media proves just how oppressed we as women are. So much so, that we long to sit comfortably, not only in a swimsuit but our skin.
"The proper place for women is in every culture that oppresses us." - The Feminine Mystique
I have been reading The Beauty Myth and have about 1,000 notes in it so far. I read this quote today and instantly was able to connect it to my Instagram post. When we think of the term culture, we often think of ethnic and demographic cultures, but I think about this quote in correlation to social media culture. Would you say social media is oppressive to us as women? Absolutely.
Social media allows anyone and everyone the ability to produce and create their own reality show in which they are the stars. That means anyone can pretend to be the version of themselves they wish they were and they believe is more likely to be accepted by others. They can post photos that are manipulated constructions of their face and body, and they can write captions and ideas that never belonged to them. (I have witnessed this to a shocking degree.) We see female "prototypes" with the same makeup, bodies, clothes, and lives, it is hard to tell the difference anymore. We see women being reduced to sexual objects as "normal" and even worse; expected. And each day more young girls are being persuaded to use their sex and bodies as a currency for love, attention, and self-value. Social media is the only place that a person can receive praise and love for a version of themselves that merely doesn't exist. I can't think of any more oppressive than that, and so I have made a different choice. Knowing it won't be easy, I have consciously chosen to be here, in this oppressive culture; as I am. To not only sit comfortably in a swimsuit but to feel the joy that comes with choosing to live my life without the shame that comes with having a female body. It feels scary, amazing, and peaceful all at the same time. I am not sure how to describe it other than to imagining each cell in your body opening up and letting light shine through them. That is a kind of beauty that makes you tear up just thinking about it, like I am right now as I sit here writing this. That kind of beauty is freedom, and we cry thinking of it because deep down our spirits want nothing more than for us to finally be free. I invite you to join me. You won't be perfect and not every day will be comfortable or pleasant, but with practice, you can master the art of sitting comfortably in your skin. Summer is here and you can start by wearing what you want, having an amazing time in a swimsuit without shame, and letting yourself bend, fold, wrinkle, and roll, like EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BODY DOES! You are a human, not an object. The difference between a human and an object is that a human can shine light, an object can not. When you feel shame creep back in, take a moment to feel your light shining through your cells and remember you deserve that kind of freedom.