As one who has been on the metaphoric battlefield for most of my life, I harbor a significant amount of scars, and I’m not referring to the stretch marks which were embedded at age 11. I’m talking about the intangible remnants in the wake of school bullies, disapproving and disappointed parents, food scarcity from forced dieting, emotional demons, and the ensuing result of all of the above: excess weight. This physical symptom of my emotionally turbulent life has caused much scorn to be heaped upon my body. From me, those close to me, total strangers, and the ever-looming, constantly leering dieting industry with its amoral empty promises and a litany of insidious ways to practice self-hatred.
Many of you know my weight-release journey began from within. There are plenty of past blog posts, as well as my books which attest to this. I dropped a significant amount of weight more than 11 years ago, the end result of healing my inner wounds. It was an exhilarating time of freedom and discovery. What I didn’t know until recently was, there’s more to be healed. Significantly more. But that’s life and I’m not upset by this news. On the contrary, if there are more layers of the healing onion to be stripped away, let ’em rip. Still, I was shocked when I got the revelation – straight from the source: my body, who it turns out, knows more than I ever imagined. It is ever attendant to what is, and ever the receptacle for what has been, including trauma. Including every unkind word and thought I’ve sent it: Thoughts of the self-loathing variety which, culturally, were not only accepted 20+ years ago but encouraged. Growing up, I routinely heard adult women berate themselves for enjoying food, or for not having a body that fit the standards of acceptability. If you couldn’t be a good girl and look the part, you could at least redeem yourself with regular self-flagellation. Sound familiar? If it is, my deep sympathies to you and your amazing body. As one who had no fear of self-inquiry, I was well aware of the toxic dynamic women and young girls are subjected to. But I thought I’d eradicated the damage with years of positive affirmations, self-help books, and therapy. I made progress, to be sure, but discovered there’s more road to hoe. And the thing about our own personal onion is, we have no knowledge there’s another layer to be peeled until the moment it reveals itself.
My latest revelation came after some unignorable messages from my body in the form of pain, fatigue, weight gain, and low-energy. Eventually, blood tests revealed autoimmune irregularities. I’m treating the physical symptoms with medication and nutrition, but in my gut, I knew more needed to be done. So I underwent four hypnosis sessions to dig deeper. The answers, as always, lay in the underappreciated splendor of the body. It wasn’t just trying to get my attention, it was screaming for it and it was time, I finally realized, to give it the time and respect it deserved. Sitting down with pen and paper, I asked for answers, promising to both listen and follow through with whatever might be requested of me. What had my body been wanting to convey to me with the symptoms of pain and fatigue? There’s always an emotional corollary to disease and I wanted to uncover mine. The answers flowed, as if my body had been waiting eagerly for the dialog. I’m sharing the exchange because I encourage you to undergo a similar dialog with your best friend and closest ally. And even if you’re not on great terms now, making the time to really listen, followed by a resolve to make reparations is a fantastic beginning. Here’s to diving in, making amends, and knowing you are not alone.
What follows if my body’s response to me:
“I cannot carry it anymore. The pain of betrayal. You have betrayed me so many times, and I am here to serve your existence in this reality. I am your host, you are my guest. You have not been a gracious guest. You have hurt and ignored me in so many ways.
Acknowledging that you were influenced by the collective and had horrible messages from the start, it still hurt me. The decision you made, the beliefs you adopted about me, about us, they wounded me deeply and I have never done anything but serve you and work for you and love you and make you comfortable here.
You, in turn, turned on me. Be grateful my woundedness and discontent are only manifesting as pain. There are far worse outcomes as you know – you have seen some of them. At a certain point, we break, we are only able to tolerate so much disrespect and mistreatment. Then it is time to close the shop.
I am equipped with a strong will to perpetuate your life, but if you don’t do your part, it’s ultimately a losing battle. I can’t do it anymore the way things have been going. Like the USA, reparations and acknowledgements need to be made. You did what you needed to do to survive a horrendous childhood where you were not loved adequately, respected, and affirmed, but the fact is, I suffered greatly from your neglect, from your toxic thoughts and beliefs, from the hatred from you and others.
I need for this to finally be heard. I need to be truthful with you. The way you treated me hurt me deeply. We have made progress, but I don’t trust you fully. Trust is everything in a relationship. Everything. Then respect. But there can be no respect if there isn’t trust. Every unkind thought, every bout of food scarcity, everytime you hissed at me in disapproval hurt me so much.
I came to you as a precious creation of Divine Intelligence. We were best friends for the first few years, then, the war began. I know you were under cultural influences, but the sad part is, I am your authority and guiding light – not TV, magazines, parents, or classmates. I Am the one who can guide you to wholeness and happiness. But you must have the courage and willingness to step out of the cultural trance and see the lies and manipulation. So you have gained weight – so what? Are you going to let a sick and unwhole culture influence and degrade you? Perhaps the weight is a teacher. There is gold to be mined in this new phase, but only if you align with me and NOT outside influences who conspire to keep you weak through shame and preoccupation with perfection.
But first, before we can fully align, I need you to acknowledge my sorrow at your betrayal. At listening to others before me. Please sit with this, not as punishment – I never punish – but as a healing process.
Please, please, please listen to me. That is all I ask. Hear me. Trust me. Honor me. I don’t have it in me to let you down, but I will eventually break down from lack of love, from a severed connection. Please wake up to the Truth and return to me.”
Taken utterly aback, the first thing I did was apologize. I was and am truly remorseful for jumping on the hate band wagon and being so unkind to my body. Secondly, I am agreeing to dialog regularly, appreciate often, and listen intently to my body’s needs, whether it’s for food, movement, or rest. No request it too frivelous. There’s a lot of making up to do and I must say, it feels very right.
Post-Script – a few insights I got, post-writing:
- Instead of the automatic response of ‘something’s wrong with my body,’ switch to ‘Something needs tending, or Love.’
- I blamed you (body) when the appropriate thing to do is Thank my body.
- I abused my body because I was scared and abused.
I chose to look at you as the source of all my misery. You are the source of my connection to life.
And further revelation from my body: Hear me, don’t steer me.