Last week when I wrote on my reaction to this picture I didn’t suspect that it would elicit such a reaction.
I truly just happened upon it and had quite a reaction to what I saw. I didn’t really see the silhouette of the hip bones or the relative size of the waist to hips. I just saw hands on a stomach, lightly resting against the flesh. My first flash in that instant was to the Prenatal Yoga class that I teach. At the beginning of each class I have the students place a hand on both their heart and belly. I instruct them to imagine a loving, healing light emanating from their hands and creating a path of warmth and connection. I do this along with my students, but have a difficult time really placing my hand on my belly, instead letting it hover, afraid to touch the flesh or feel the softness.
This picture raised the question, what if I was ok with feeling my belly, with feeling my softness, and my vulnerability?
Over the past week, the discovery of the xoJane Real Girl Belly Project, and one follow up post later I have received quite a few belly pictures in my inbox. Amazing bellies and amazing stories. All real, raw, and unretouched, even more beautiful in their truth. I’ve felt a shift in myself a bit as well as I step more into accepting that I really am “ok” as I am or how I ever will be. I am more than my body and I don’t need to be pregnant to be ok with feeling my humanity. These brave women and men who have sent me their photos are so much more as well. My heart has been touched as they open up to me, a complete stranger. Inspiring.
As a result I have also connected with others who are working to expose the truth of our human nature. No Photoshop allowed. Plans are beginning to brew for a project showing real bellies with hands resting in a heart mudra and a domain has been purchased. The media and industry isn’t going to change. The way to be heard is to become louder than them. Average, skinny, plus sized, man or woman, please join me in this endeavor.