So, back on my original track here at the end of the First House: The body and my connection to it. Astrologically, the First House is ruled by Aries, which has the planetary ruler of Mars. Mars is in charge of your Passion, Drive, Fight, Sex Drive, and, basically, what gets you out of bed in the morning, but it is also in charge of the experience of having a body. And it is a very interesting experience.
I’ve already talked a little today on my body in terms of identity with being overweight, but curvy and being fairly capable. I’ll probably repeat some of that here, but I want to go in a bit different direction.
When I first got the idea for this post, I was looking specifically at engaging in body positivity and addressing my own discomfort with my body. There was a relevant experience to go with this: one night, I went over to hang out with some friends, including the guy I am seeing and his other girlfriend (if you missed this info, sorry, feel free to listen for a more in depth explanation). The people there are fairly comfortable with their bodies and so I walked in on topless people. Feeling slightly embarrassed but curious, I took the opportunity to engage in some selective nudity.
I was surprised at how simultaneously comfortable and uncomfortable I was. I think of my body as less Body by Victoria and more Body by Victorian, and while I have some discomfort with my size, I knew I was among people who didn’t find it to be an issue, yet I couldn’t quite shake the urge to cover up. I had managed to relax a bit when one of the roommates I didn’t realize was home waltzed into the kitchen for a late night snack. He actually didn’t notice a thing, focused as he was. Of course, my discomfort still spiked, but I waited it out and put my shirt and bra back on as I was getting ready to leave, feeling flushed and a even a little liberated.
And yet, when I started getting into the range of messages in the body positive label, I was taken aback and some of that discomfort returned. There were parts I expected: love your body for all it does for you, love your body as it is, you are perfect the way you are, how to get a bikini body: put a bikini on your body….. and there was the other end, too: goals for fitness that were entirely appearance dependent and very rigid, motivational models for keeping to your workout, and the ever-present “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” Some of the stuff in the middle had a very able-bodied person approach to a positive frame of mind. There was even a woman who had stopped her obsessive work out routine in order to actually enjoy her life, and her post about how much happier and healthier she felt was met with both positive outpourings of support and negative jerks telling her to enjoy diabetes (she had a tiny bit of padding over her belly rather than being as cut as her before pics – hardly a poster child for being unhealthy). It was a mess.
The fact is being happy with your body is a hell of a lot more complicated than a daily appreciation, although that can help. We just see too many messages every day that tell us how our appearance should be, too many haters who will go out of their way to try to make you feel bad about some aspect of your appearance, and – Heaven forbid you actually are a very attractive person – how you should handle the affect your appearance has on others. I don’t think a positive mantra is really enough to fully counteract all the negative.
My original idea for activities this week was going to be body positive mantras and moving mediation. Both of these are fairly mental, though, and Aries and Mars are about physicality and action. So I’m going to up this a bit. My plan is to get up early over the next week and engage in my moving mediation, however, I am also going to spend a significant amount of time on my appearance and see how that affects my mood.
I, in general, am a fairly low maintenance gal. My hair is wash and go, I rarely wear make up, I like nice clothes but I prefer to be comfortable (yoga pants and leggings, y’all), I wear glasses rather than contacts. I’m hygienic, but I shower fast. All in all, while I appreciate my body and my appearance, I just generally have better things to do than fuss over it. This week I plan on taking my time, putting together outfits, crafting a look, trying out clothing items, hair styles, and make up looks that I would normally shy away from, experimenting with presentation. I also plan to spend some time being actively appreciative of my body by pampering it: lotions, face masks, body scrubs, scented candles – to really luxuriate in my senses and the sensations of my body.
And I’ll be logging how I feel and the reactions I receive throughout the week. But, in the meantime, here is a long list of stuff about my body that I like and am thankful for:
- My body is strong and healthy.
- My skin is very soft and fairly smooth, especially on my belly.
- I have fantastic tits.
- I have curvy hips and a nice, firm booty.
- My legs are shapely and powerful.
- My feet are pretty nice – no weird toes or ingrown nail issues.
- I have excellent posture.
- I can be fairly graceful – one fellow cast member said I moved like a queen.
- My body responds quickly improvements, ie. a jump in flexibility when I do yoga.
- My body tends to retain improvements – I stayed more flexible for 3 months after my first yoga session without any additional sessions.
- I have some impressive biceps, especially for paying almost no attention to them.
- I love my tattoos. They each have special meaning for me.
- I love my tongue piercing. It brings me such joy.
- Despite most of my fat appearing on my belly, I still have little ab indents for some inexplicable reason.
- My hair is super soft. It also has natural waves that tend not to be too frizzy and are fine with me straightening them as long as I do it methodically.
- What little gray hair I find, usually tends to be a really cool silvery color. Hoping that stays.
- I have really long, thick eyelashes and light, fairly well-behaved eye brows.
- The hair on my head grows fast and thick, the hair on my body tends to grow fine and slow.
- I have excellent hearing and acute sense of taste and smell.
- I have really nice fingernails – they grow fast and strong.
- I enjoy a wide range of flavor profiles that allows me to really appreciate a variety of foods.
- I have a pretty singing voice and, damn, I can project.
- I can swim pretty well.
- I am also an excellent kisser. Among other oral abilities.
- I have sensitive skin and a responsive body.
- I have a full range of movement in everything except my left ankle due to the plate.
- I was able to breastfeed my child – I fed and provided antibodies to a human with my body! The research on this stuff is intense. Your tits are molecular chemists – respect!
- I’m a decent wrestler, actually. Hand-to-hand was fun for me.
- My natural tastes favor pretty healthy foods.
- I’m not ill very often.
- Despite being near-sighted and having an astigmatism, I have excellent color differentiation. I proved it on a black and white photo for UW-L’s steamboat collection – I could read the name of the boat when no one else could see it – we had to adjust the contrast for anyone else to make it out – it was previously listed as unidentified.
- I have a very expressive face. It has been used for mime.
- I have pretty good teeth, especially for never having had braces.
- I heal quickly – burns, in particular.
- My hand-eye coordination is pretty decent.
- I have steady hands that allow me to do amazing things, like draw pictures or blood.
- I like my cheekbones.
- The navy rims around my pale blue irises are intriguing.
- People really enjoy my smile.
- I love the way my body feels right before a storm.