Not Giving a F*ck in My Own Backyard.
Today, I meditated naked in my own backyard.
Some of you might think, “So what?” But if you know me, truly know me, you will understand that this is a really big deal.
You see, for most of my life, I defined myself as my body. My value was interconnected with what my body looked like, how strong it was, how it was able to perform on the field or court, and how smart I was.
Yet, despite how my body has looked over the years, I have never loved it. When I was sporting an almost six-pack stomach, I still didn’t love it. When I was 20 pounds heavier after eight months of backpacking, I still didn’t love it. No matter what my body has looked like, I still couldn’t bring myself to fall in love with it.
It’s like the backwards law that Mark Manson speaks about in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. The more I pursued having a perfect body, the more I felt miserable for not having one.
When I was in high school, I developed an eating disorder. Unlike many girls where it is as if an outside person takes over, and they don’t necessarily realize what they are doing, I was 100% conscious and in control the whole time. I essentially forced myself into having an eating disorder because I was that focused on what my body should look like but didn’t.
I reasoned that if I couldn’t be pretty, at least I could be thin. Oh, how screwed up my thinking was.
After having more cavities in one dental appointment than I had in my whole life, and a college road trip where I was sharing hotel rooms with my mom and puking in the toilet while she worried outside the door, I was sent to a psychologist.
Yes, I got over the eating disorder, but no, I still didn’t love myself or my body. I still berated myself daily when I looked in the mirror. I still found all the faults. I still obsessed about the cellulite on my ass. I still sucked in my stomach, or flexed it in hopes that it would maybe, kind of, look a little different.
Over the years, I eventually convinced myself that I may not be thin, but at least I was strong and fit and that is what mattered.
Then I had my first miscarriage.
Despite my strong, fit, athletic though not thin body, I was unable to grow a child within me. My body was not strong enough and healthy enough to bring a new life into this world.
I pretended on the outside that it was all okay, and told myself, “This is for the best. The baby probably wouldn’t have been healthy. This is nature’s way of correcting itself,” and on and on it went. But inside, I wasn’t convinced.
My body had failed me, and I was my body.
Fortunately for me, this happened right in the midst of a deep awakening within myself. Two days after the doctor went in and scraped out my uterus and the dead tissue, I was sitting in a large room of 100+ people for a coaching seminar program. Three days after the doctor went in and scraped out my uterus and the dead tissue, I was standing in front of a large room of 100+ people being coached by the leader.
It was he who let me in on the secret: “I am not my body.”
It was something that I refer back to again and again, as a reminder that I am so much more than my body. So much more than what it looks like, so much more than how strong it is, and so much more than how smart it is.
Yet, it wasn’t as if a light was switched and all of a sudden I loved my body. It is still something that I dance with on a regular basis, but the valleys are not as deep as they once were.
I still prefer having sex with the lights off.
I still wear a tankini in the summer to hide my stomach and my stretch marks.
I still gaze at the cellulite on my ass and wish it weren’t there.
But I also celebrate my body too.
I celebrate my body for giving me two healthy children, despite being pregnant four times.
I celebrate my body when I go for hikes where I feel like I can touch the sky.
I celebrate my body on my yoga mat each day as I twist, turn, and balance in new ways.
And today, I celebrated my body while I meditated naked in my backyard.
Theresa Destrebecq is one of those badass women with a whole lot of heart. She’s a champion for women, and loves supporting them to reconnect with their passionate, confident, empowered self, especially in the face of a loss — a lost job, a lost relationship, lost finances, or a more general lost sense of self. She has lost them all too. You can connect with her on her website, through the Emerge book circle, or on Facebook.