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April 21, 2021

F*ck Body Shame—I Matter.

Here I am—outside in a gorgeous field of spring lupine and sweet peas feeling joyful, playful, and happy to be sharing a sunshiny day with a girlfriend.

We missed seeing the spring bloom last year because the trails closed due to world events and they’ll be gone in a matter of days with the increasing heat of the season.

All this made it all the more pleasurable to enjoy now—and when I look at this one photo of me, almost my entire focus is judging my belly and waist. I literally have to coach myself mentally to see, remember, and value the joy and radiance of that special moment in time.

Even with all the love, acceptance, and healing work I have done, I am so f*cking ashamed of my body.

I don’t want to be. It’s so painful. And I gotta be with it and not bypass the incredible activation this brings. Body shame runs so deep.

It’s so common. I hear stuff like this from women all the time—and that is so sad. What a waste of time!

I used to always be very slim. My grandmother called me maideleh shayne (Yiddish for pretty girl). She always said I was tall, long, and slim like a model. I felt proud, like I was succeeding at something.

My form became a fixed barometer of how good I was at any given time. I obsessively monitored myself.

At the same time, I did not take up space.

I literally tried to take up as little space and have as few needs as possible. I didn’t want to burden anyone. I was known to be an “easy child who doesn’t need much.”

I didn’t know what I was worth.

To not embody that I matter empowered me in a dark way to easily skip meals and skimp on food to stay slim and keep getting reinforced by the people around me.

“You look amazing! You’re so fit and skinny! I wish I could have a body like yours!”

I was “underweight” when I went for medical check-ups. I always secretly cheered myself on when being weighed at the doctor’s office. I was too smart to ever be diagnosed as anorexic. I played a fine line there.

Fast forward to around the time when I turned 40. My hormones started shifting, I was already burnt out in some ways being an acupuncturist, and this little lower belly bump started growing on me. It didn’t respond to exercise or other things I had done in the past when I needed to quickly reduce.

I freaked.

I also had just started the journey of fully landing in my body and embodying the truth of who I am. I worked somatically to repattern the incessant judgment that my needs and emotions are too much.

I started taking up space and having a voice.

Shame cannot remain when it no longer stays hidden.

So here I am sharing it, revealing, telling my story, because I matter—and you do, too.

~

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Ronit Ashkenazi  |  Contribution: 1,010

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