Several months ago, my daughter started a group. It is just a small group, my daughters and I. We meet once a week to talk about our health. We talk about how we are doing physically, mentally, emotionally, anything that affects our health. The group is called Cuties Get Healthy.
This past week we started a new thing. Usually, our meetings consist of check-in and plans for the next week. We talk about how we have been doing the previous week. Everything is on the table, for the reason that all the things we experience affect our health. The new thing we started to do was read a book and talk about what we think about the book.
The book we started reading was The Body is Not an Apology by Sonia Renee Taylor. So far, we have covered the first chapter. And that one chapter was hard. There are so many things about body shaming that you may or may not think about. The thing about this book, for me, is that it triggers so many gut-wrenching feelings of inadequacy that I have carried with me my whole life. Things that were said to me growing up and things that were said or inferred to me as an adult.
I am not a small person. After my father died, I started to put on weight slowly a little bit each year, and that weight kept me hidden. People often don’t see you when you are fat. Before my father died, he would beat me or demean me in some way if I gained any weight. When he died, I was safe to become invisible through the size of my body. The most recent moment of invisibility was at a local reading by an author. She kept saying that there were only five people at the reading in the beginning, even though there were six, including me. She also ignored what I said but acknowledged the statement when said by someone else. This behavior used to bother me when I was younger. Now I find it somewhat amusing.
But, back to the book. If you have not read it, I recommend it highly. Due connections I have with the subject matter and a painful past, it is hard to read. It is, however, also very informative, and as I answer and think about the questions, the author presents, I am finding a better understanding of my connections with my body and with myself.
Connections are hard. It is hard to see the relationships that I have with my body and the world, or I should say the disconnection that I have with my body and the world. I intend to keep reading the book and journaling my responses to the questions. Connecting with my self and my body is a journey that I have put off for a long time. Thought this week has been hard, I have hopes that as I press forward with the reading, I can find a path that helps me accept my body and the way that I see myself.