Body Positivity and Smiles
Let's talk about Body Positivity.
Since I was four years old I have had an adversarial relationship with my body. A medical trauma caused me to disassociate from myself much like assault victims describe doing. As a result I was not connected very well to myself or my body from a young age.
Then as a little girl, I also had to take a life-saving antibiotic to keep my failing kidneys alive. The antibiotic and subsequent surgery worked, but unbeknownst to doctors at the time, this particular antibiotic permanently damages the teeth of children. The price of my life being saved was that I have had stained, fucked up teeth ever since. (pretty small price in the scheme of things!)
As I grew up kids would tease me. "She doesn't brush her teeth!"
So I learned to hide my teeth and to hide my smile. I learned to hide me and my body and make myself as small as possible. I was a homely girl with stained teeth. My body was not my friend and school kids were not to be trusted.
A few short years ago I became highly aware of just how negative my body image has been my entire life. I decided to change that and began in earnest to pay attention to my inner and outer dialogue about how I spoke of my body. I began to view myself in a mirror dressed as well as undressed and express gratitude for the magnificent body that is all mine and how well it has served me in this life, including my fucked up teeth. This was kind of a biggie for me because more women than you can imagine avoid mirrors. Clothes shopping is not enjoyable and please don't take my photo while we're at it.... this is the fall out of having a negative body image.
I have transformed myself though, from a woman who loathed her body and was disconnected and fucked up smile, to a woman who revels in the magnificent marvel of my flesh and bone including my stained smile.
I smile toothy smiles more often now, though I still default to hiding my smile with closed-lips or holding my hand up to my mouth like a giggling tween to hide my teeth. It's a deeply rooted reflex that I unconsciously do.
Know that if I am with you and I laugh and smile with my teeth showing that I must be feeling at ease around you. Or else I'm drunk... oh wait, I don't get drunk anymore so no, if I'm smiling toothy smiles around you it's because I am relaxed about my flaws in your presence.
This is a part, just one small part, of my body positive growth.
More than smiling toothy smiles, is that I have now developed a truly positive and loving relationship with all of my body, from head to toe and everything in between. To reject a part of me that is not ideal is the practice of self-rejection that I no longer ascribe to. Self-improvement is of course a valuable practice and one that I embrace from a place of love rather than shame.
What I could not know until I did was that becoming a body positive woman meant I would access an ocean of confidence that did not previously exist for me. The affect on all aspects of my life .... including pleasure... has been unexpected. If I feel self-conscious about my body and worried about how I look, I will be unable to surrender to pleasure with another. A woman who loves her body is a woman who will discover new horizons of ecstasy.
Body Positivity has had a ripple effect on every single area of my life.
Another thing is that I am less prone to being judgmental about other people's bodies for I am no longer judgey about my own. I am able to truly appreciate the remarkable living artwork that each of us are in the body that is ours, no matter it's size or state of being.
The human body is one of the most wondrous manifestations of Life.
I began teaching Body Positive workshops over a year ago that have been well received. I am not a therapist. I teach this workshop from a place of Lived Experience.
For the first time, I am offering my Body Positive Workshop ONLINE in a LIVEstream workshop via Zoom... and for the first time I am offering this workshop on a sliding scale pay-what-you-can basis.
Body Positivity and Body Love can be realized despite our culture where body shaming is pervasive. It is an act of rebellion to value and care about your body from a place of affection rather than be at constant odds with how you look. The advertising and beauty industries need us to feel fucked up about ourselves in order to sell us the things to help us hide our flaws. (If I see one more skin care product promising flawless skin...for fux sake!)
If any of this resonates with you consider joining my Body Positive Workshop. Limited to women/transwomen only over the age of 18.
LIVEstream on Zoom
12 - 3p PST (check your timezone)
Special guest Darina Neyret will be onboard to share her insights as a portrait photographer of how transformative body positivity can be.
Suggested price is $25 but pay what you can or nothing at all... finances are not a barrier for anyone who wants to join this workshop to be able to.
Transformed women who love ourselves... INCLUDING OUR BODIES... change not only our own lives but the lives around us. Women are leaders, culture shapers and decision makers in communities of every sector of life. When we love ourselves best, we love others better
(typical no-teeth-showing smile for a selfie)
(pictured here with a big toothy smile with my family)
Link below with all the details of this specially designed workshop that will include journaling and a collage and drawing exercise and much discussion. It just might help you nurture a more loving and kind conversation with your body. The thought of that makes me SMILE BIG TOOTHY SMILES !