To be absolutely honest, I’m tired of thinking about my body. I’ve spent the better part of my life fretting over how it looks when I bend, how it folds in certain clothing or how it might appear in photos. I’ve thought endlessly about what it would be like if just one of my body hang ups were solved overnight. I’ve considered every bite of food during a month when trips to the gym were sparse. And now I am all out of thoughts about my body. While body positivity valiantly encourages us to regard our bodies with the highest esteem regardless of its shape or form, I’m wondering what it would be like to not regard it at all. What does it look like if we could view our bodies as vessels that move and support us rather than something to hate or love?
Recently, I went back and forth with myself about posting a rare swimsuit photo. In the picture I’m sitting down and leaning over, accentuating the area of my body I am most self-conscious about. I stared at the photo while going over positive affirmations in my head. You are beautiful just the way you are. Love every part of yourself. In the end, the thought that actually convinced me to pull the trigger was much more nonpartisan. I have a body, and it does things. If someone has a problem with that - it’s a personal one. Stepping outside of having an opinion on whether or not my stomach looked “bad” or “good” also allowed me to release myself from fear of external judgement. This is something I hadn’t been able to accomplish by attempting to love myself out of my body insecurities.
Eventually, I would still like to say that I wholeheartedly love my body - and mean it. But I’m not there yet and the concept of body neutrality has offered me a second option when positivity wasn’t healing the wound. Our bodies are meant for so much more than to be looked at and criticized. It feels good to remember that.