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How I Have Expanded into my Fullness
My journey toward loving my body
First Published at anniematan.com and then on Instagram on Dec 4, 2020
In October, I got to do a Boudoir Shoot with Annie Caplan and I have been sharing the photos from that shoot, along with notes about my journey to loving my body on instagram. Today’s post was the longest and fullest one yet so it felt like it deserved a blog post. To catch up on all the pics and my story of expanding into my fullness, check out the posts on my instagram.
…I have been looking forward to posting this picture all week. What a change this is for me! A year ago, I had a hard time passing a mirror without thinking harsh thoughts about my body. And now, I am proud to show her off.
I’ve come so far!
This week, a client asked me how I got to this point – where I am comfortable with all my voluptuous parts. We talked about white supremacy and patriarchy and how we are allowed to love our big breasts but not our big bellies. (Or bums or thighs.) We talked about how patriarchal societies literally buried the abundant Goddess icons that preceded them. (Listen to the Mosaic podcast with Carol P. Christ for more on imagining God as feminine and our egalitarian matriarchal history.)
We talked about the “health and beauty“ industry that feeds and profits off the lie that we are inherently flawed and our bodies need constant adjustments, reshaping, trimming, lightening, hiding.
I shared that part of what got me here was a process of removing anything from my social media feeds that supports body shaming or diet culture and choosing to fill my feed with folx like (go find them on instagram) @Sonyareneetaylor, @adriennemareebrown, @Kelly.diels, @thatAngelamorris, @thebirdspapaya, @peachykeenswim, @marondesade, @neta.j.rose, @christinacleveland, @tristahendren, @tehomcenter, @periodaisle and so many more who share affirming words and images that remind me that all bodies (even mine!) are sacred and beautiful and normal and sexy and worthy of love.
AND I also take the time to hide and report as offensive any ads that encourage me to reshape, hide, or alter myself so I can feel more confident. I choose to feel confident in THIS body even as she hangs, bulges and droops in clothes that were designed for hangers and not humans. Instead of buying shapewear, I am investing in clothes that come in all sizes. That I feel good in. Sometimes they hug every curve and bulge so my expansiveness is plain to see. And sometimes they flow over me and slink around me in a playfulness that leaves more to the imagination.
I shared with my client that sometimes my daughter #GEM catches me doing curve appreciation dances in front of the mirror both on hard days and on happy days. And our bath and shower songs are the mikvah songs I learned in Kohenetland, where I became a @Hebrewpriestess. Songs whose words are “I am a living temple of love. My body is the body of Shechina (the goddess). Oh, I am that I am.”
And then, I got to this point by having a #thisis40 photo shoot with @provocateur_images, with the goal of remembering my sexiness and desireability and then this new shoot, just over a year later, with @annie.Caplan.photography to reclaim all my parts.
And this past year, I chose lovers who explicitly, vocally appreciate my shape and fullness. Who celebrate my curves with me. With whom I never need to hide or feel invisible.
And you. You all who have commented and supported and asked questions and shared your own stories. You have affirmed for me that sharing myself in this way is positive modelling. That #wearetheculturemakers. That my journey isn’t just for me, it’s for all of us.
And oh, it has been a journey. I have expanded into my fullness – physically and emotionally. From shame and self-judgement to joy and self-appreciation. I’m honestly marvelling at how far I have come.
So here I am. My own Shabbas queen. Celebrating sweetness, embracing joy, delighting in presence. Sharing my wholeness.
After I shared this post on Instagram, I was invited to publish it in the upcoming Girl God Books Anthology, Willendorf’s Legacy: Sacred Body, edited Trista Hendren, Tamara Albanna, and Pat Daly. You can pre-order a copy of the book at the button below (all proceeds go to Girl God Books.)
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