Last week I went to a showing of the movie/documentary Embrace and then followed it up by going to a live talk by the creator behind the body image movement. These two events bought up so many thoughts, ideas and realisations for me that it has taken some time to get them all down and be able to share them with you and heads up this is a lengthy post.
Embrace is a beautiful, powerful, inspiring documentary with a big message, Embrace your body and don’t waste any more time hating your body. It all began when Taryn Brumfitt shared a before and after photo of herself, before was her competing in a body building competition after was herself as herself and the photo created some big conversations about body image. You can watch the little trailer here.
To start with I want to talk about my journey and thoughts around body image. I have a distinct memory of being about 9 or 10 standing near a gate with my friend while our mothers were talking. I think my friend may of bought the topic up and it went something like ‘yeah I think I’d like to loose a little bit of weight around my thighs’ I replied with something like “yeah me too and around my tummy”. Our mums must of overheard us at that point and said we shouldn’t be thinking about things like that. And they were right, we really shouldn’t of been thinking about things like that we were so young. I have another memory from when I was even younger of being in a school race and hearing a spectator, who happened to be another student only a couple of years older than me, say look at her little tummy moving. To say that comment didn’t impact on my life and relationship with my body in some way would be a lie. While the effect of the comment wasn’t huge or dramatic it did pop up every so often as the voice of my inner mean girl and critic and it made me a little hesitant about clothes or activities sometimes.
Somewhere along the line, and I’m not sure when, but I started caring a little less about how my body looked and for the most part I was and am comfortable in my own skin. Growing up I was introduced to Louise Hay and the idea of loving yourself and I think that’s what did it for me. I no longer cared as much about what the other students at school thought or said because I liked myself and I didn’t have to be any different just because they thought so. I also learnt that I am so much more than how I look and that it’s what on the inside that matters. In more recent years since I finished school I have been on my own journey of self love and acceptance with myself as a person and with my body. I still have moments of self doubt, and moments where I’ve thought to myself huh I look kinda yuck but I don’t let myself dwell on it.
These days majority of the time I can look in the mirror and smile back at myself and think hey yup I’ve got a pimple the size of a blueberry on my face but damn look at those leg muscles. I’ve become grateful for my body as well for all it does for me, for allowing me to explore, play and live life and for all the little things it does without me even thinking about it. I’m also grateful for being in tune with my body and being able to listen to it when it says, rest, more water, little less chocolate today, lets dance. My relationship with my body these days is to make decisions from moment to moment, to find the things that make me feel good and to create balance.
I remember watching the project video for Embrace before it became an actual film, Taryn asked ladies to give a word or two to describe their bodies. At that point in time I had known that there were other woman who maybe didn’t like their bodies and that the media was a contribution to that but I didn’t understand just how many people hated their bodies or how much. It really hit me hearing so many woman say how disgusting their bodies were when all I kept thinking was but you’re beautiful and unique. I remember the last lady replying her body was soft and luscious and that made me smile. I thought heck yeah, I can call my body soft and luscious too. Every body is different and yet everybody is the same in that they are our homes, they do so much for us every minute of every day with out us even thinking about it. Our bodies know how to breathe and move and digest food. They really are amazing machines and why would you hate something that does so much for us. We are grateful for our cars that get us from A to B and yet our bodies do the same and we don’t really think about that.
When I heard that Embrace had become a movie and that it was coming to my city I knew I had to see it. The first time it was on I didn’t get to go but the second time around I committed to seeing it. I was in tears before the movie even started when I heard the beautiful lady, Jess, who organised the event speak and share her story. I absolutely loved the film, I walked out in tears but also with so much love and joy in my heart. I don’t want to give to much away but thought I would share a couple of my thoughts from the screening:
- You are perfect just the way you are, don’t spend another minute hating yourself.
- Woman are freaking amazing and when we connect we can create a movement
- Be gentle with yourself and be gentle with one another
- Cherish, your body, your life, each other
Hearing Taryn Speak
Walking out of the movie screening I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hear Taryn speak, I bought my ticket as soon as I got home. Taryn’s presentation was about Embracing our bodies and also about sharing our voice and message with the world. Some little thoughts I took away from the event were:
- Embrace that things happen
- Live your life on your terms
- Practice a little kindness
- Tap into gratitude
- Have a laugh
- Do things on your terms
- Move for pleasure not punishment
- Do things that make you feel alive
Towards the end of Taryn’s presentation she asked we turn to the person next to us and share how we are going to share our voice with the world and what little step we are going to take to continue our journeys of embracing and loving ourselves. By some coincidence I ended up sitting next Jess, the lady who organised the event. I turned to Jess and burst into tears, I was feeling all the emotions but we had a beautiful chat. In that moment I did make a little commitment to myself to share my story (which is this post) and to continue sharing my stories here on my blog, even if it’s just for myself, and to continue to embrace my perfectly imperfect, beautiful and amazing body now and into the future. I have embraced.