I’ve shared on several occasions across social media the lack of connection I feel to my body. The feeling of not being ‘in’ my body. It’s something I’ve started working on through my yoga practice and going vegan and, while it is improving, it is still a big issue for me and something that’s difficult to talk about or explain.
In my last blog post I wrote an open letter to my body which was a starting point for my journey to integrate it into my understanding of self. The letter was as much a commitment to try harder, to treat it better, to listen to it, as it was an apology for never having done those things in the past.
Recently I pulled out my Leonie Dawson workbook (not sponsored) to discover I was up to the body pages. I felt able to face those demons, possibly because I knew I had already made progress on healing them, and so I sat and expressed how I feel about my body and how I have felt about it for the longest time.
As much as it was tough to really look at and shine a light on those thoughts and feelings, it was also incredibly useful. Actually seeing the things that had been swimming around in my head for decades on paper in front of me, seeing them as a tangible thing, shaped into words & phrases that had meaning, was an important moment for me.
I have always written to process things and it is endlessly frustrating to me that I tend to avoid doing that for the Big Issues because they feel too overwhelming and scary. I am so aware of how powerful my emotions are that the idea of even opening the door a crack on the important ones is terrifying.
Honestly there was little thought process behind the exercise and I think that helped. My heart wrote while my brain listened to Kelly Ann Maddox, who was live-streaming at the time. When I stopped and looked at what I’d written so many things fell into place; so many awful decisions, terrible relationships and dangerous actions suddenly made sense.
I didn’t even cry it out, maybe because I already knew all of it deep down & have cried so many times over each part of it, maybe just because the healing has started and making peace with how/who I was is part of that.
The next page was a chance to redesign my feelings about my body for the future. Again, I let my heart & soul write and then took a real look when I’d finished.
The thing that struck me the most was the word “safe” written all over it. That was the thing that made me cry. That was the thing that, even as I let the demons out on that first page, remained hidden. The thing I still couldn’t bring myself to face. In that future body I saw my current reality; I do not feel safe in my own body.
Clearly there is a lot of stuff to unpack around that feeling. That is definitely something that needs more work than just practising being in my body. That’s the kind of feeling that needs a lot of shadow work and an epic self-care practice to truly begin to heal and actually making myself do the shadow work, knowing the size of the iceberg beneath that feeling, is a task in itself, but I’ll get there.
I definitely found some hope, as scary as hope is for me, in that “after” page though because when I looked at it I believed it could happen. I really, truly believe that I can feel those things, that I can integrate my body into my perception of myself, that I can become whole. That feeling was fuelled by finding an old blog post about my anxiety & identity where I wrote that I saw a future where I was unafraid to go out alone. That future became a reality. This future will too.
This is the second of my body related Self Love September posts. Read my first post, Dear Body.
Also published on Medium.