20 February 2018

Embrace - the documentary

You reach out to turn the shower off, select a warm towel and wrap it gently around your body. You walk over to the full length mirror, let the towel drop to the floor. You stare, in awe at this incredible specimen reflected back at you. This familiar fleshy friend that has carried you around, grown with you, provided you with breath and has been witness to every single second, the highs, the lows. The texture of your skin, every pore, every roll, the length of your arms, the way each part links to the next, the cellulite, the hair, the scars. Your chest rises with pride, your shoulders rest back & you feel truly overjoyed with every fibre of your being. Perhaps this body has carried children and you can see those silvery marks left behind by your baby. This body might have been exploited, abused and survived. This body may have been celebrated, worshipped and adored. Maybe this body has walked miles, swam lengths, climbed hills or hiked mountains. Maybe this body has partied hard, given shelter, hugs and comfort. You have such an overwhelming respect and love for your body as you look at it & feel yourself present in this moment right now. And with this glow of gratitude you get dressed, head out into the world and carry on with your day.

So, not sure about you but this hasn’t really been my experience of an average morning. I am a sweet, sensitive soul, I’m a creative, I’m a white British straight 40 year old woman, I’m a mum, I’m a wife, I’m a sister, a daughter, a good friend. I’ve travelled, danced til sunrise, had ‘close shaves’ - not talking about facial hair here, we’ve all put ourselves in silly situations & if we’re lucky just got away with a lesson learned. I’ve been vulnerable, I’ve been incredibly lucky, I’ve giggled ’til I’ve cried (and there was that time I wet myself). I’ve loved, lost, had epiphanies & revelations, I’ve had life changing sad news and found myself on the receiving end of such wonderful life gifts. But how I feel about my body, how I judge it, how I obliviously measure it against other bodies - whilst my perception of myself probably falls into a relatively healthy category - I have been staggered by the shift that has recently taken place within me.

What if we all fell in love with our bodies? What would happen then? What if we were all so empowered by simply looking in the mirror? Can you imagine?! Would we look differently at those photoshopped images of young models with flawless skin, perfect hair, tiny waists & gravity defying boobs trying to sell us products that we don’t really need? What would happen if that ‘problem’ or ‘insecurity’ that the huge advertising agencies rely upon to communicate with us, simply didn’t exist?

“Defy 7 signs of aging” - Nah, I’m grand with my laughter lines & crows feet.

“Lose 12lb in 12 days” - Er, I’m cool with being this weight actually, thanks though.

“Don’t fear the knife. Get younger, firmer, fitter & fight the flab” - You know, I’ve just celebrated 4 decades on this planet & I don’t want to look like a weirdly stretched, slightly startled teenager.

“Get straighter, whiter teeth in just 3 sessions. Only £3,000” - Thanks, but no, I’m really happy with the way I look.

After watching & then becoming involved with spreading the word about this incredible body positive, social impact documentary ‘Embrace’, those old cogs that turned the wheels of my mind, my self image, my body image, have been completely disrupted - in the best possible way. It is a work in progress for sure, but I feel that those other thoughts, you know the ones: ‘Eurgh’, ‘what happened to these?’ ’Hate the way this hangs over here..’ ‘If I could just loose..’ ‘I’m too wrinkly’ ‘If this bit was more toned..’ ‘I wish my legs didn’t touch at the top..’ ‘I just need to drop a few..’ they actually don’t sound right or ring true in my head anymore. When I occasionally catch myself yearning for a tighter this or perkier that, I feel like a bit of a dick.. It really doesn’t matter what size or how old you are, this is a very personal, individual psychological journey. And the great thing is, you can’t un-see this stuff, you can’t un-hear these messages. I urge you to search out this film, grab a friend, go & watch it - it will uplift you, it will shock you, it will free you & fill you with joy, it will break your brain - in the best possible way.


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