5 Minutes of Fabulous: My Body Image Story
As you may know, last week I attended the Master Your Life retreat, held in NYC, that was focused all around self-care, body image, our inner critic, and intuitive eating.
I had a really moving experience at the retreat and am still processing all these gorgeous nuggets of information that were presented to me. I am still feeling the afterglow of sisterhood, of spending quality time with twelve other women for a span of four days, and feel like these women were able to see me way better than I have ever been able to see myself.
With that, I want to share my body image story because it came up during the retreat and felt really raw for me.
It felt like my heart was opening and breaking at the same time. Can you relate?
My philosophy for my blog and this newsletter is all about designing a fabulous life. A fabulous life to me isn’t just about bubble baths, champagne and oysters, and soft kisses.
A truly fabulous life means being able to embrace the ups and downs of life with grace and elegance. Because when you have the ability to cope with your feelings on a shitty, horrible day, you can also fully embrace and savor the blissful feelings of a slow dance, the well-deserved promotion, and a gorgeous lunch al fresco.
If you can’t allow yourself to have a broken heart or sit with disappointment, how can you ever fully savor fabulousness in your life?
In that vain, I thought I had conquered my issues with my body image. What I have come to realize is that coping with my body image with grace is a journey that I will be on the rest of my life.
At the retreat, we were asked about our first painful memory around body image. What came up for me was Little Nina at around four or five years old (see picture above) and I was in a dance class.
The memory is very vivid. I was wearing a pink leotard, tutu, tights, ballet slippers; and my hair was in a bun. I loved dance (I still do!), but from an early age I was obsessed with dancing. I remember being in my dance class, in the front row, when my teacher yelled at me in front of the entire class, “Nina, suck in your stomach! Suck in your tummy. You’re a great dancer, but if you can’t suck it in, you will have to dance in the back row.”
In that moment I know that I felt shame. I felt like I was untalented, unlovable, and that I didn’t belong.
When you are five years old, how do you cope with those feelings?
Shit, when you are any age, how do you cope?
Since that moment I have held onto the false belief that I have to work twice as hard and be twice as charismatic so that no one will notice that I am chubby. So that my talents can shine and that I can stay in the front row.
I got to this point during the retreat when this really painful memory came up for me, and we had to think about what we would tell our past selves. What would I tell my 5-year-old self in her pink leotard and tutu? I wasn’t really sure. But during a meditation, I had this beautiful vision of my current self dancing with my five year old self in that class. We were twirling, smiling, and so happy. I share this story with you because I am letting go of the memory and the false beliefs that came from it.
I am no longer that scared five year old girl. My message to her now is that she is talented, lovable, and precious. And that no matter what she should keep dancing, laughing, singing, and always smile at her reflection in the mirror.
My story may seem sad, but it’s really triumphant because my story is meant to inspire. My story is meant to help you reframe where you are at with your body image whether it was your body image story from when you were 5, 10, 16, or where you are at today.
My hope for you is to stand before yourself in the mirror, feel proud, and powerful, and to be moved by your own beauty. If you feel inspired to share your story please share with me in the comments section below.
I would love to help you through it as I am proof that you can come out on the other side with a heart and soul that is awakening more and more everyday.
From my current self and my five year old self, I love you deeply and am grateful to have you in my life.