Body Club is my make believe way of countering the negative influences of the culture we live in. In my mind it’s a safe place where we can let our bodies be. I envision it as a psychic sisterhood that links us to our self and each other.
The “rules” of Body Club are our reminders that this is a place we can retreat to be at peace with our body. So far I’ve let you in on three:
Like fight club, we don’t talk about it. Not talking about your body with others is a way to break the obsession with not being good enough. Change the conversation and switch your attention. That’s the first rule.
The second rule is to have at least one trusted friend, coach, or counselor (other than your doctor) that you can talk with about your body – your insecurities, distrust, disconnection, and struggles.
The third rule of body club is to value your body for what it does, not what it looks like. That is, as Dr. Lindsay Kite expresses, your body is an instrument, not an ornament.
The fourth rule is that your body doesn’t owe the world anything – not thinness, beauty, youth, pleasing behavior, or anything else.
Your body is for you, and only you. You may share it intimately with others of your choice, but it’s for you. Your body’s sole role is to support you in life.
If your body is keeping you alive it’s doing its job and it’s a good body. Your job is to respect and appreciate your body for this service, not to starve it and squeeze it to look or behave a different way for the sake of others.
This has been a hard lesson for me. I grew up believing that my beauty was my worth. Being smart had some value so long as I didn’t show it off or upstage men. But that was a side benefit to my true value which was being thin, attractive, and feminine.
I never consciously believed this. I’m not even sure when or where it was absorbed. That I owed beauty to the world, and to men in particular was a belief that has just always been with me.
This may sound shockingly regressive to the younger among you, but it was the culture of the Southern United States in my growing up years, and to some degree still is. This subliminal message of women’s worth is more common around the world than you may realize.
In this belief system being fat is the worst transgression. It’s no wonder I (and many of you) began obsessing about weight and dieting at an early age. And it’s no wonder that I have spent a lifetime obsessed with how others perceive my body. Now I know better, even if I still struggle at times to embrace new beliefs.
When you bring into consciousness your own background beliefs about what your body owes others, you can begin transforming how you see yourself and letting go of layers of unnecessary shame. It’s not easy work, but it’s well worth the effort.
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I’d love to know what unconscious beliefs you have about what your body owes the world. Let me know via the Contact form or on Facebook at Women Eat Community. You can also get on my calendar using this link.
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