Written on the Body: Where we Hold Shame

Operation Rad Bod is all about feeling good in your body, but in order to get there, it’s important to explore body shame – where we’ve held it in the past, and where it’s being trapped in the body now.  So I’m taking you back, way back… to puberty.

A lot of horrifying things happen in puberty, but for some reason, the one that led me to my deepest feelings of body shame was the sudden arrival of hair.

Everywhere.  Thick, dark hair, on my arms, legs, underarms, and on a tiny downy trail from my navel to my pubes.

I remember the first time I tried to use a razor.  I must have been about 11, and I didn’t know you had to take the cap off.  I ran it over my legs the way I’d seen my mom do, taking out the shaving cream I’d richly slathered on.  Of course this removed none of the hair I was so loathe to have on my body, but I couldn’t bring myself to ask my family members how to shave my legs.  I was already drowning in the shame of it being there in the first place.

For a really long time, I would imagine being like the blonde, lithesome girls whose arm hair glistened so femininely in the sun.  In the Euro-centric culture I grew up in, having light hair was synonymous with attractiveness.

“What are you complaining about your body for?  You are so skinny!” my friends with thicker thighs would cry.  But as the grass is always greener, the body hair always thinner, the butt always cuter on another person.  You can never guess what a person is hating about their body, what piece of it is holding all the shame of growing up or growing older.

It didn’t help that the boys in my class were relentless in their teasing.  I never let them see that it bothered me, when they called me “Elvis”, because of the sideburn-esque hairs that stayed by my ears when I pulled my hair into a ponytail, when they likened my arm hair to Robin Williams’, or when they noticed the one tiny stray hair on my upper lip.  I just came up with a wittier comeback, with a sharper tongue than they could expect.  I became too mean to be popular, never playing in their reindeer games.  Though my rejoinders were quick and cutting, inwardly I was humiliated.  I took to dyeing the hair on my arms, ripping up any upper lip hair with wax, and learned my way around a razor pretty quick.

When I got to college, I was tired of all this body preening.  I decided it would be a feminist act to stop covering any acne I had with makeup, and to let all my body hair grow out.  After almost a decade of shaving, it grew in coarse, dark, and thicker than any of the boys I knew.  I wore skirts and ran around campus feeling the wind in my leg hair, going skinny dipping and enjoying the water flowing through my full underarm hair.  I wasn’t actively trying to be “unpretty”, I was attempting to accept the part of my body I hated the most: my virulent hair growth.

During this experimental time, I dressed as Frida Kahlo one Halloween, trying to embody someone who embraced the strength of her unibrow and upper lip hair, rather than rid herself of it.  Now, I am embarressed that I ever dressed up as someone from another culture, but as I never did it ironically, rather to see if I could get through an evening accentuating the thing about myself I hated the most in a positive way, I’m forgiving my inner 20 year old.

If you are in this photo, and don’t want to be, I am sorry. But more importantly, I’m sorry to all of you who aren’t in this photo, because it is filled with awesome. Names withheld to protect the fabulous.

And at that point, when I had “gross” body hair hanging from everywhere it could possibly grow, is when my husband fell in love with me.  I can’t say he wasn’t stoked on the day that I decided to take to shaving again, but it was not the huge disgusting turn-off that it had been for the dudes at my small town high school.  He loved me, all of me, hairy or not.

Looking back, I see the hatred for my body hair as transphobia.  I was at the very point of having to become something other than a child.  I was supposed to be a “woman” — and here I was, with these very un-lady traits.  The boys’ shaming tactics were their way of upholding the gender norms, the strict difference between males and females that kept the heterosexist status quo.

As an adult, I celebrate the parts of me that are not completely “femme”.  Jung upheld that the highest form of spiritual and psychological growth is a person who can hold within themselves both the male and the female.  That is why I believe that transgendered individuals could hold the key to how we can move beyond the patriarchy that is ruining both sexes.  Antony Hegarty, in particular, is one of my saints and spiritual teachers.  Antony’s song/lecture Future Feminism changed me deeply, helping me to see a new way of being, beyond gendered spirituality.

Sometimes I wonder if all of our body shame is connected to gender shit.  I know the shame we ladies feel about our period blood is total misogyny.  It is quite incredible that we are able to give birth, and our periods are what make that possible for us.  Are they messy, inconvenient, and painful?  Yes.  But so much of what is meaningful in life is.

Perhaps we could listen to our bodies in this regard, rather than hiding away our “time of the month”, letting it be the brunt of sexist jokes about women in power?  Maybe it is the time each month that we are our most animal selves, and this is threatening to our increasingly careful, robotic society.

My friend Kaley said to me recently: “I feel like my life’s work and my biggest art project is the exploration of shame.  A lot of my art projects are about shame and my body.  I am going through all the things I am told are shameful, the things I have internalized as shameful, the things that don’t feel shameful to me but other people feel shame about, and I face them and see what feelings come up.  Last summer I conquered my fear of not shaving my bikini line.  This summer I am going underwear-free when I menstruate.  I am always exploring my relationship to my cellulite.  It’s usually fun stuff when I come at my body as my art project.”

That’s right.  You read that correctly.  Kaley is bleeding on herself when she menstruates.  Going about her business, taking her kid to school, going shopping, driving her car, riding a bike, all without using “feminine hygiene” products.

image by emma arvida bystrom

image by emma arvida bystrom

Photos have been her inspiration for this project.  These, by Emma Arvida Bystrom, particularly the person jogging while menstruating, got her “thinking about how we manage bodily fluids. how do we treat snot, spit, ejaculate, blood, pus, and tears differently and why?  I know the acceptance i have for my child’s humanness/’messiness’ has definitely affected the acceptance I have for my own humanness.”

image by emma arvida bystrom

image by emma arvida bystrom

While I don’t believe I’m quite ready to join Kaley’s efforts, as I believe she’s at a whole other level of Operation Rad Bod, her experiment (which includes wearing white shorts!) has inspired me.

image by emma arvida bystrom

image by emma arvida bystrom

I’m going to stop being so dang worried about period blood.  When I feel that my tampon might be leaking, or that I forgot to put one in, and I might get one drop on the panty liner I’m already wearing just in case, I cannot think of anything else.  I become obsessed with remedying the situation, and whether I am in the middle of a bitchin’ dance class, a gratifying adult conversation, or a round of Birdie the Ballerina with my daughter, I rush to the bathroom.

What if I didn’t?  What if I explored my horror, sat with it, and considered how embarrassing it would actually be if people knew I was on my period?  Blood comes out of clothes.  Very few people are staring at my ass and would actually notice.  So, I’ve decided to be a bit more zen about my periods, and see what arises.

I got a chance to try this out this past weekend at the Pride Parade.  Pride is about gay rights, and here in San Francisco, we were pretty ecstatic about the end of DOMA and the reversal of Prop 8.  But Pride is also about letting your freak flag fly, whomever you may be, really being yourself in a way you imagined was shameful or wrong.  It’s about the fact that the things you hide away about yourself are probably the most universal, and if you celebrate them instead, you can connect with others.

Anyway, I danced in the Parade, with 90 or so of my favorite dancer friends, on the heaviest day of my period.  Anyone who has ever been in a parade knows there is a ton of waiting around and very few bathrooms for a huge amount of people.  I was hydrating like crazy because it was a hot day and I had an hour and a half of dancing down Market Street ahead of me.  So, I took a couple trips to the Port-a-Potty, but then I decided to put my new Blood Zen into practice, and not worry so much about what was happening in my underwear.  There was so much else to see and many dance steps to focus on.  In the end, not a drop of blood went astray.  There was nothing to worry about, anyway, so I was grateful for this new perspective that didn’t keep me too stressed about my period to participate in such a wonderful expression of life and love for all.

Totally not worried about tampons. Way more into tutus. Photo credit: Lisa Vieira

Alright, dear readers, confession time.  Let the comments section be the place for each of you to share the part of your body you were most ashamed of in puberty, and where you are at with that today.  And if you want to share your thoughts about Kaley’s experiment, feel free, but remember that she is my actual friend so if you just say “Ew, gross”, I am going to ask a bit more of you, to dig a little deeper, into the underlying reasons for your reactions.  Body shame is the biggest deterrent to body acceptance, so I’m investigating the sources and rooting them out.  It’s a way better use of my time than manic hair removal.

21 thoughts on “Written on the Body: Where we Hold Shame

  1. Fantastic post! I was ashamed of my freckles (gazillions), my short toes (only after people teased me about them), and my fat (that caused the greatest shame). I’ve been overweight most of my life, and although I’m moving toward being healthy, I no longer do it through shame. I love my body today.

    • Thank you, Kelly. I personally love freckles but I have heard that people feel shame about them, so I appreciate you mentioning that. People are so creatively cruel about what they choose to tease folks about – who would be worried about the length of your toes! And yes, of course, weight – as you know I write a lot about that one. I’m so glad to read that you love your body! Yes!

  2. I love this post. First of all you look hot dancing in the parade! It was such a party this year. I accidentally ended up dancing down Christopher street with a Brazilian crew, best accident ever.

    I have to echo your body shame about hair. I went to the beach last month without having shaved my legs for many months, and it was pretty freeing. Granted, it was a gay beach, so no one cared. There was a genderqueer person on the beach with big breasts and chest hair all over them, wearing gold lame swim trunks. That’s how the beach is DONE. Very inspiring.

    I remember when PJ Harvey had a mini-resurgence in the early 2000s and was all of sudden blatantly sexier than ever before, with mini-dresses and flat-ironed hair. I felt so much shame for her at the time, like, girl you are too old to be showing all that leg. Now that I’m in my 30s I get it. Because who gives a fuck. Let it fly.

    • Best accident indeed – wish there was a way for us to be at each other’s dancetastic Pride parades! Thank you for all your musings on this post – they are really rich.

  3. Wow, this post resonated with me so much. I have been reading a lot about shame and trying to uncover my own. It is hard. HARD. But through honesty, I’ve been feeling freer than ever, and ironically, closer to people than ever.
    Body shame is a little different, though. As an adult, I have most hated that I can’t keep off weight anymore. I have gone through times of extreme exercising/caloric intake control to times of shame and over-eating. I am still not totally there with my body image, but since December (after an injury) I’ve been trying to accept my body as it is, appreciate its flaws as part of my beauty. I take care of it, treat it nicely by doing activities I love but not overdoing them, and by eating healthfully – although if I really want some crepes and Nutella, nobody is stopping me! 😉 Ironically, I started painting my nails again. I never did so before because it seemed prissy and fussy, and I didn’t want people to think I was a high-maintenance woman. But I love seeing the colors on my nails; it makes me happy, dammit! Lately, I’ve got a “if it makes me happy” philosophy, rather than one tied to image.
    I don’t know if I could go razor-free, so I applaud you. I just like the feeling of bare smoothness on my legs too much for now. Maybe someday? The menstrual blood prevention for me isn’t so much shame connected (I had a pretty it’s-natural-to-experience-bodily-functions upbringing) as it is wanting to keep my clothes from getting stained (a practical streak). But I am really fascinated by how other people will react to such freedom and the results of her artistic experiment. It is so brave, and I admire that boldness.
    Hm, what WASN’T I ashamed about as a teenager, lol? I hated everything about myself, body included. My height (I was 5’6″ by ten years old), my early puberty (bra-snapping at the same age), my nose (too long), my hair (too mousy and straight), my skin (too white/freckled), my teeth (crooked), my cheeks (too chubby). Eventually, I came to love all of these aspects about myself – they made me who I am, and I’m proud of that person. At the time though, I thought I was such an ugly duckling that no one would ever love me; and that is sad. No little girl should grow up with the message that her worth is tied to her appearance.
    Anyway, longest comment ever. This post just touched on some issues I’m currently exploring, hence the verbosity. 😉 Thank you for your honesty.

  4. I try really hard not to be conscious of my body, but I know my inhibitions hold me back from doing a lot of things. I wish I could be more like my friends who don’t worry about that stuff, but for me, it’s not comfortable.

  5. I spent this afternoon at the pool in my temporary Los Angeles apartment complex, and said “radical body acceptance” in my head the whole time.
    For me, whether good or bad, it took having my husband tell me daily how much he likes my thighs/belly/etc to see and enjoy a lot of my ‘shame’ inspiring parts. Honor those curves.

  6. Wow Rhea these posts just keep getting better…
    The first thing that comes to mind (that still is a source of embarrassment for me) is my various smells. I sweat a lot—everywhere! Just tonight I was wearing a pretty summer dress but the humidity made my thighs and crotch terribly sweaty (and I feared stank and musty). I felt less pretty and more just gross. And since I was young (I developed early) I felt shame about my smells especially from my vagina. I wondered if it was natural. I wondered if I was doing something wrong. I still sometimes cringe with fright that others can smell me but I’m not sure that’s founded in anything. So that’s my confession.

    Another shame that comes with getting older is that I now have rolls on my stomach and ribs where I used to have an effortlessly flat belly. The upshot though has been much more womanly boobs 😉

    One last thing is that so many close friends of mine have wrestled with serious debilitating body issues and some would express envy at my relative confidence about things like my big butt. I consider myself very lucky to have grown up in an area where the dominant racial group values extra meat on your bones. It really engrained in me that hips and butt are super hot. The world is finally catching up a bit but we have a long way to go.

    • Wow, these comments are blowing my mind with their awesomeness. I love the specificity of yours. This feels like a modern day confessional, everything out in the open on the internet but still slightly anonymous because we’re not face-to-face. I miss sleepovers with girls where we’d talk about all this stuff, so this is just incredible. Thank you for your honesty, Jessie! You are rad.

  7. Love this! Body hair was a huge one for me, too. Just as you say — dark, thick, everywhere! And I too let it all grow out in my 20s and that was when I met my hubby, who probably had never seen anything like it. I think at puberty it was such a visceral sign of new sexuality, in a way not fitting with mainstream sexiness, that made it shameful for me. ‘Sexy’ was neat and clean, all the human bits tucked away. Like sex scenes in a movie. What eased my anxiety was not being alone. I went to a hippie Quaker summer camp where the counselors had hairy legs and we girls changed our maxi pads side by side in composting outhouses with multiple seats. I met girls who used tampons with no applicators which seemed so gutsy but so natural in that setting. Just being in it together removed the shame for me so much. I wish I’d known you then to have a sister in dark hair everywhere! Thanks for writing.

    • Amazing imagery, Abby. That summer camp sounds incredible! I wish we could go back right now, actually. And I love what you said about sexy being all neat and dehumanized. That’s pretty much the opposite of what is really sexy to me, but it is what our culture often tries to sell us on, because it is unattainable and therefore will constantly keep us in a state of seeking the perfection we already have in our natural states.

  8. Oh puberty! I was the opposite Rhea, actually oblivious to the fact I was growing underarm hair until my dads girlfriend gently took me aside and pointed it out. I felt mortified. First that it was there, second that someone else pointed it out to me. Now I realize that I’m actually not that hairy, so I don’t worry too much about it. Kayla’s thoughts about art relating to shame, her body and menstruation is mind blowing. I would never in a million years have thought to go sans pads/tampons during periods. But it does seem that humans are the only animals trying to hide our time of the month. I love how you said during menstruation we are our most animal selves. That is a powerful sentiment. I know that shame dissipates when we share our stories. Thank you for giving us an opportunity to!

  9. yesss! stoked. it’s the end of the day and i have definitely hit the end-of-the-day wall, so i’m just gonna list some thoughts instead of try to be super eloquent.

    1. i started with using luna pads (i still use the same pads i bought 10 years ago!!) i’ve also used the sea sponge and the keeper/diva cup. love them all. the keeper is part of the way i found out i was pregnant- the color and quantity of blood were unusual (brighter red/less). i like wringing out the sea sponge in the shower and watching the blood go everywhere. i like bleeding every month. i can actually feel myself ovulate about a week before i menstruate, and that is a result of tracking my menstruation, learning about ovulation, and getting to know how my vaginal discharge changes throughout the month (taste, smell, texture). check this out: http://www.babycenter.com/101_what-cervical-mucus-looks-like-through-your-cycle_10351429.bc

    2. this month i went out of town for a weekend, the weekend i was going to menstruate, so i packed lots of white. i have the white cotton bloomers from american apparel and was planning on bleeding all over them. but the day i was gonna wear them we were going to be walking a lot and be out for a long time, and i didn’t want to be feeling super soggy/dealing with stiff dried blood encrusted shorts. comfort comes first! i have started wearing white underwear instead of pads or going pantyless because it’s a neat way to monitor bloodflow but wicks away the moisture. plus there’s nothing like showing up to my boyfriend’s house wearing bloody white underpants.

    3. i have discovered that bleeding on myself doesn’t look as cool as the girl jogging. it mostly just looks like i have a rash.

    4. i’m thinking a lot about comfort lately, even more than shame. how can i be MOST COMFORTABLE? underwear is a tough one. i wore boxers and briefs for a long time, but now it just feels like too much fabric in the 100 degree heat. lace panties crawl up my butt. everything feels too tight. no underwear sucks because i pour sweat out and it feels like i peed myself. WHAT IS THE SOLUTION???

    5. i love how natalie said she just started painting her nails, and was, in the past, afraid she’d be viewed as high maintenance. it’s been a solid part of my femme identity to ALWAYS have painted toenails and hairy armpits. this stuff is SO NEAT, isn’t it?? how the numerous lenses we have all come down to create our own (sort of) unique view/experience.

    5. as a teenager i think i felt uncomfortable about the moles on my face, my skinny ankles, the dimpled pouches of fat on my upper thighs, and probably my glasses. now i still pluck hairs out of the moles, i could give a shit about my ankles, sometimes i feel weird about the pouches of fat but i show em off anyway, and i don’t care about my glasses… in fact sometimes i’m worried i look cross eyed when i wear contacts.

    6. now as a (semi) adult, i feel uncomfortable about my episiotomy scar, the hair in my moles or around my nipples, and pooping anywhere that isn’t my house or an anonymous public restroom. and weight stuff sucks. the best way i know how to combat these things is to talk about them. sometimes that’s scary. and sometimes it’s hard to feel safe/find people who will talk about that stuff too.

    7. one last thing about bleeding on oneself. actually two things. inga muscio talks about it in her book cunt, about what would happen if we just bled on ourselves when we’re at home, lounging around in black sweat pants or sitting on a towel? and then there is The Blood Skirt: http://blog.gladrags.com/760/the-blood-skirt-by-ashlee-green/. wearing layers of black skirts. in fact, that is a really good article!!

    8. oh also- i have significantly less cramps since i stopped using tampons.

  10. oh shit also!!!

    1. yay jeanette winterson!!

    2. i am trying to really channel kali when i menstruate, and then see if that time can be a meditation on what i want to accomplish in the next 28 days. usually i’ve felt menstruation is the time where i release all the negative energy and finally can explore my true emotions. which implies that i’ve bottled everything up all month. i have begun to notice that when that happens, my period is more uncomfortable!! so now i want to turn it around and use my period as a starting point/gathering of energy, rather than a climax/release/letting go of energy. and kali’s got something to do with that. dunno what or how, but that’s the adventure i’m on.

    • So glad you got the Winterson reference! And that is really interesting about trying to be intentional about your menstruation each month. I need to think about that further. I pretty much dread it because the bloat makes me feel so uncomfortable and bad about myself, but I really want to shift that. Why give up one week of each month to feeling crappy? It can be an opportunity for growth.

  11. 1. My lack of boobs. To me – my biggest shame is… the lack of something. My breasts pretty much stopped growing when I was 11. Just stopped. It has been something that has been a struggle for me throughout my life. Dress shopping is a nightmare. Finding bras that work is near impossible. The pre-pubescent-boob-look is very chic if you’re a 110lb runway model and I am not. My husband LOVES my boobs – and I thought that finding a man that appreciated my little ladies so much would make me appreciate them. Sadly, I can’t let go of that voice that says, “Your less of a woman.” Eventually, we’d like to have a kid, and I’m really interested to see if my boobs as a functional part of motherhood will allow me to appreciate them more, and maybe even embrace them? Move them beyond an image and more toward a part of my womanhood. It’s an ongoing issue.

    2. This is one that I’ve come a LONG way with – my legs. I don’t have slim legs and I have junk in the trunk. I also cellulite which is so hard to come to terms with. Cellulite cremes and “cures” are everywhere, and it has to be bad if everyone is trying to get rid of it, right? It’s just a constant attack on something I’m trying very hard to move beyond. Seriously – almost every woman I know has cellulite to some degree. Maybe it’s not something we need to cure? I realize that this is MY ONLY body. I told you that I’ve started running pretty seriously in the last three years and even though it does have image implications (I’m fitter than I’ve ever been), I still get bashful when I have to show some leg. For most of my life I would not wear shorts that came above my knees. Running has changed my relationship with my legs in ways I couldn’t imagine. See them as part of my machine. They are my team. I am at one with them. We’ve done amazing things together and I can outrun almost everyone I know. That’s what legs are for, right? (I’m hoping I can get to this point with my itty-bitty breasts. I will say this though – having small breasts is pretty handy for running purposes.) Rhea – I told you a few weeks ago I wore a skirt that was WAY shorter than I’d normally wear. I was so out of my comfort zone at first, and by the end of the evening I felt like I could conquer the world. And it wasn’t because I felt people thought I looked “hot.” It was because for so much of my life, I hid my legs. Just out of shame. Why? My legs are powerful.

    3. My grey hair: Right now I have a pretty bad-ass grey streak going on right now. I HATED my grey streak at first and I actually dyed my hair about a year ago to cover it up. The funny thing is – once it was gone, I missed it. Dying it was actually an eye-opener for me because once it was gone I thought, “Oh – I miss MY streak.” I’ve almost embraced it as if it has super human powers. It’s the wise part of my scalp or something. Still, there is this underlying fear that in ten years, my contained super-hero-grey-streak will be gone, and I will just be grey. At 31, I’m in this weird period in life where I’ve never been happier. I feel confident, I enjoy my life, I have good friends, I have a healthy marriage, I’m not the insecure girl I always thought I’d be – but at the same time there is this HUGE fear of… sagging skin. Growing old. Wearing out. Wrinkles. (And this definitely linked to society telling us that getting old should be avoided at all costs. I FEEL happier the older I get, yet society is constantly telling us that youth is king.) And then I wonder, can I dye my hair and be comfortable with that? I hear Natalie’s comment about painting nails! I felt the SAME way. How weird is that? I started painting my nails last year just because it was fun. My relationship with my greying hair is confusing. Can I dye my hair, like I paint my nails? Or am I trying to cover something up that is a part of me? WIll I feel the need to rush to the salon every four weeks to cover up grey roots? Do I really want to go there? How do I come to terms with my body changing again? The last time this really happend was puberty – can I embrace this in a way I never did when I was 12? One of my badass neighbors who is one of the most beautiful older women I know, has a gorgeous head of grey hair. Rather than dye it, she went out and got dreads. And she looks beautiful, confident and wise.

    My husband is a super-Carrie-cheerleader and he wants me to let it all hang out – grey hair, big butt, little boobs, short-shorts – I’m wondering when I can become my own cheerleader and stop feeling shameful?

  12. ~Thank YOu~ again. Another wonderful, educational, thought provoking, enlightening post. I love the period photos, thank you for sharing them. You are doing such great work.

  13. First I’m going to say how stoked I am I stumbled across this blog since I have been hardcore evaluating my own body shame: where it started? Why? What? I almost can’t remember a time I didn’t hate or feel ashamed of something of my appearence. First it was my pale skin and freckles, when I was very young I would try scrubbing them off, then during puberty I would layer my face with makeup I didn’t need to cover them. I have much less on my face now that I’m in my mid twenties and I actually love my fair skin and do what I can to protect it. As far as my freckles, I’ve learned to embrace those as well by finding the beauty in them I see on my sister. Then there’s the weight issue, which I think has been instilled inside of me forever, since I can remember I’ve listened to my mother (who is the best most beautiful person I know) complain, struggle, cry about her weight and body. So I think that growing up listening to that, naturally I began to pick my own apart and learn to loathe it. With my age and still watching my mother struggle with it I can see how sad and stupid it really is to treat yourself that way so I’m really starting to see my own body differently while trying to help my mom work through her body hate. I try asking myself why I don’t like these things about my body, am I uncomfortable, no. Am I unhealthy? Nope. Do I have strech marks? Yes I do and so does every other woman I know. Do I have some cellulite on my thighs? Yes and so does every other woman I know. I’m learning to love my body by seeing these beautiful women in my life that complain about the same things I do and realizing they aren’t big deals. I’m human and its ok my thighs touch and my belly shakes a little when I walk around in my bathing suit. Shit, its ok to wear a bathing suit!!! Day by day its a struggle but I am getting there. I’m wearing a bikini and not hiding under a tshirt or a towel, I’m wearing shorts when its hot out without tights or leggings, I take days off from wearing make up and I’m ok. Nobody looks at me with disgust, or laughs at me. None of the horrible things I thought would happen if I did these things have happened and it feels so amazing and liberating to get to this point with myself for myself. Another thing I stopped doing that had a lot to do with my personal body shame is comparing myself to other people….its so unhealthy and I’m so glad that I stopped. We are all shaped differenly, there will always be someone smaller, someone bigger and it doesn’t matter. What matters to me is being me and being happy with my body, my imperfections. Sorry this was super long and mostly me venting but thank you for writing this and inspiring me to continue with my own exploration and acceptance of myself!!!

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