We can spend our energy focusing on shrinking or we use can use our energy on creating magic and change in the world. We can leave our mark on the world or we can play small. It’s really hard to do both. I would argue it’s impossible.
In the words of Ayesha Faines, “Standards of beauty are used as weapons against women in all facets. We teach women they need to look a certain way. This is the body that’s in. No, this is the body that’s in. We define beauty by narrow ideas and the intent is to divest women of power because you become so preoccupied with self-hatred that you cannot even have the power to go out into the world and be who you were supposed to be.”
When I heard Ayesha say this, the words pierced my soul because it perfectly described how I lived the majority of my twenties. My power to be who I was supposed to be and to create what I was supposed to create in the world had literally been divested because the only thing I spent my energy on was being smaller and trying to achieve the "perfect" body. It consumed me.
In my mind, once I achieved that, then I could move on with life. Then I could be happy. Then everything would be right with my life. Then I would be worthy to do all the things I wanted to do.
First I needed to lose weight. Once I lost weight, then I needed to add more curves. Once I added more curves, I had too much muscle so I should probably “lay of the weights a little.” Then big butts were in so I definitely needed to work on building bigger glutes. After all, I’m black, I’m supposed to walk around with an ass that looks like it came straight out of a music video. But don't forget, make sure to keep a small waistline because the hourglass shape is desirable right now.
It was all a lie, and it was so exhausting.
How could I possibly focus on anything else when I allowed these bullshit narratives to pervade my thoughts?
Worrying about how I looked, comparing myself to other women, telling myself I looked gross, scrutinizing my body in the mirror, grabbing at the fat I felt on my stomach, and worrying about what I thought other people were thinking about my body paralyzed me from taking action in my life.
I was frozen in inaction, disappointed in myself, and frustrated that everyone on social media seemed to be happy and living a fully engaged life while I watched from the sidelines. That was a lie as well because social media is just a highlight reel, but that’s a topic for another time.
Here’s a list of the things that I allowed feelings of unworthiness related to my body stop me from doing:
- Wearing clothes I liked but didn’t think I had the figure to wear
- Wearing a two piece swimsuit
- Doing anything outside of my comfort zone
- Feeling comfortable walking around naked in front of my significant other
- Meeting new people because I constantly worried about people judging me for the way I looked
- Taking pictures. I hated being photographed. All I saw was my fat body.
- Taking risks
- Having confidence in other areas of my life
- Buying new clothes because I needed to lose weight first. I didn't deserve to buy new clothes.
- Seeing my potential and capabilities
- Speaking my truth and using my voice
- Thinking about what I really wanted to accomplish in life
- Creating and adding value to the world
My life’s work is not to shrink, and neither is yours. Now more than ever, the world needs us to show up powerfully and confidently. The days of sitting by the sidelines in silence are over.
We are done shrinking— our bodies, our voices, our talents and abilities, our lives.
Society would rather women spend our energy worrying shrinking and fixing our bodies. But not anymore. A new day is coming. We will not give away our precious energy to believing the lie of how we are supposed to look. We are reclaiming the narratives about our bodies. The narrative belongs to us.
When we choose to work towards changing our physiques, reducing our body fat, adding muscle to our frames, or making any other aesthetic changes to our bodies, it will be from a place of self-acceptance and appreciation for the body we already have instead of from a place of needing to feel to feel worthy or attain validation.
We are embracing our bodies and our right to take up all the space we want because we can.
We will feel empowered and confident in our bodies. We will make our mark on this world.
This is our time.
If you want to this for yourself, but don’t know where to start, join me in The Confidence Code, a FREE 10 day body confidence course for individuals who want to learn how to feel truly confident and empowered in their skin and start living life HUGE. The course starts Wednesday, January 17th. Click here to sign up today.