I couldn't have asked for a better start to The Body Project sessions. The number of women for Sunday, January 26th dropped from seven to three in a significantly short period of time, which, I'll be honest, disappointed me at first, but as always, anything can have a positive purpose if we choose to see it that way. This smaller group allowed me/us to breathe, discuss ideas, take our time, and truly bond. This is not to say that I won't feel this way during sessions with more women, but the smaller group helped release first day jitters. These three women helped set the stage for future sessions, and I am incredibly appreciative of their support toward/patience with each other and me.
Right away, each woman expressed their nervousness, but after sharing that we all were, this quickly changed to motivation and excitement. We brainstormed affirmations or ways to state the affirmations on each others body parts and helped one another apply the affirmations. Each woman was uplifting and reassuring.
The actual process of photographing everyone was quick and smooth, which surprised me. I had expected difficulties and setbacks, perhaps because of the boundaries people are crossing within and without themselves to be a part of this project. These women overcame any of the trepidations I had anticipated. I was so happy for them.
My favorite part of the whole session was at the end when I asked everyone to share what has changed for them since joining this project. Their answers were beautiful.
One woman said she had truly realized that she didn't want to depend on her exterior to advance her in this world and that working on her personality, humor, beliefs, etc. should be the bigger focus.
Another said that she had realized the importance of affirming other women's beauty. Love, love, LOVE this. She brought up her mom in particular and expressed her concern about her mom's self-hate and negative self-talk. It was as if she was making a vow to the universe when she promised to remind her mom that she's beautiful. <3
The answer that resonated with me the most was from a woman that is happy to be a part of/have a space where she won't be judged for talking about any discomfort with her thinness. She and I talked about how uncomfortable it has made us in the past to discuss any issues we have with our body around those who are thicker or more well endowed primarily because we have often heard throughout our lives that we don't have issues because we're thin. "But you don't have to worry about that" is the common brush off. Many people think we skinny minis benefit from "thin privilege," but this is such a terrible stereotype. We have just as many insecurities as the next person and struggle throughout our lives, as well.
All of that aside, though, I came to the conclusion that we should strive to uplift and affirm one another more than sit around discussing what we hate about ourselves. It seems discussions like that head down a negative path toward a dark hole where nothing is ever solved and our energies deplete. And if it's hard to start that positive reinforcement with others, stand in front of a mirror every morning and tell yourself you love you. Who knows what'll happen?
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