So you had a baby. Or you started showing signs of chronic illness. Or went on a new medication regimen that saved your mental health and added 70 lbs to your frame. Or you stopped listening to the stupid patriarchy and committed to not dieting and gained some weight. Or you got an injury that stopped you from doing stuff you like. Whatever circumstance brought you here, you feel broken.
I've noticed that sometimes, body positivity can really feel pressured. When I had a miscarriage, and I was ready a lot about body positivity, I thought:
It was real hard. There were many conflicting feelings. The pressure to unconditionally accept my body felt saccharine and suffocating. Feelings of alienation, ambivalence and isolation predominated my fractured psyche.
One thing I focus on these days is Body Neutrality. It's not a super new thing, although it started getting some real headway earlier this year.
I'm not sure where the idea originated. Some quick googling on my part brought up Fit is a Feminist Issue's post: Here's an Idea: Body Neutrality. She says:
Without deciding that something is good or bad we give it room to just be. You don't have to love your body or hate it. At the end of the day, it's just a body. A sacred, important place to be sure. You body is where your heart and your mind reside. But it's also just a body.
We all get old. We all die. We are all broken in some way (and if we are not, great, but we will be someday). Having compassion and allowing ourselves to view our bodies in a factual, neutral way can really help neutralize some of society's shittier messages.
I did this one time when I was recovering from a tonsillectomy. I had some post-operative bleeding in my mouth that would come and go, especially at night until I learned how to properly use a humidifer (i.e. having it as close to my face as possible). After the first two nights of terror, waking up gagging on my own blood, I came around to not add panic to the already intense experience of healing. I was like, oh yep, this thing is happening again. Which, admittedly, didn't solve the problem (getting that spot cauterized the next morning did) -- but it also didn't add to my suffering in the moment.
Vacillating between the extremes of self-love and self-hate is draining and harmful. If we can find some space to just be with our bodies, it makes getting through life a little easier. We don't have to add more suffering to the everyday process experience of being a human.
So the next time you're having some extreme feels about your bod, maybe try to observe it in a neutral way for awhile. Take your judgment of good or bad out of it, and just be with your body. See how that feels. Lean into it. And let me know how it goes.