When Beth and I were at the Monmouth County Fair, we met Darlene Campbell of Campbell and Kate. They make custom-sized button-down tops for large-busted women. After I stopped kvelling over the beautiful shirts, the topic turned to our blogs (this one and hers, Hourglassy) and our mutual passion for spreading the word about body positivity. She introduced me to the documentary Embrace. It’s about the worldwide culture of body loathing and shaming and how it’s reached epic proportions – and why it needs to be stopped.
As soon as we watched the trailer, we knew we had to be part of this. Check it out: (it’s only 2 minutes!)
Did it resonate with you like it did with me? I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. “This body of mine, it’s not an ornament, it’s a vehicle.”
How would you describe your body? Right now, I think I’d say that mine was ok – but a few years ago, I might’ve said exactly what Taryn said. I hated my body. I hated that my clothes didn’t fit. I hated that I’d had big boobs since I was 11 and, as a result, my posture was (is?) terrible. I was frustrated with my migraines, lack of coordination and overall… unremarkable appearance, except for my height. Even my mousey brown hair started to turn gray at 25.
About 5 years ago, I made a concentrated effort to be kinder to myself. (If I wasn’t going to do it, who was?) I don’t know what made me change my mind (could be all the therapy…) but I do know things changed after. Life became a little easier. Instead of hating my clothes, I sought out ones that fit – even though it took extra effort (clothes come in tall, who knew!). I ran a 5K (v e r y s l o w l y). I took up yoga (which I have since dropped and I miss, but that’s another blog). Things aren’t perfect, but they are better.
But, until I watched this trailer, I never considered that this is the body that graduated from a 5-year program in 4 years from Syracuse University. Or that moved to NYC without a job and became a success. This is the body that hugged my mom and brought her comfort. My body helped to start this company and will hopefully someday help women like her with Jill’s Wish*. I need to celebrate that. Someday, I plan for this body to bring change to this world. If you’re reading these words and maybe wondering about how you treat yourself, maybe I already am.
I don’t know why it’s so much easier to hate our bodies or why we say things about ourselves to ourselves that we would never say to another human being. We call ourselves all kinds of nasty, hurtful names. If someone said something like that to our friend, we’d never stand for it. Yet, so many women live with awful, negative self-talk.
I can barely digest the idea that 91% of women hate their bodies. Even if that’s an exaggeration, isn’t that a lot of wasted energy when we’re all so beautiful? And even if we weren’t (but we are), we’re so much more than our looks.
I haven’t seen the full film yet but I’m anxious to see the answers that she finds. Is there a way to fix this? How would we feel if we woke up every day loving ourselves instead? How much brighter and kinder would the world be? What if we didn’t pass this on to our daughters? What would that mean for our future?
I have so many questions – ones that I hope are answered in this documentary. After all, this is our life, aren’t we entitled to control how we feel about our own bodies? Why do we give that gift to others?
There are many screenings of Embrace around the country, find one near you. Bring your sisters and your daughters – it appears that we have a lot to learn.
What would you do with all of that extra energy if you weren’t worried about your appearance?
*As of 11/30/2017, 5% of all sales are donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.