I'm at the Walnut Creek (California) library after going to a talk by Dr. Lindo Bacon*, "When Self-Love Isn't Enough: How Health Practitioners Can Support Body Appreciation in an Unjust World."
I just love the title. One of my biggest issues with the self-help industry is its focus on, well, the self. I suppose it makes sense, given the name of the industry. And, I think that this focus on the individual can end up creating more individual shame and isolation because we end up feeling like it's all on us to fix everything.
One of the solutions is seeing ourselves reflected and understanding larger context. That we actually are not alone when we hate on ourselves around our bodies not fitting into predetermined cultural ideals of perfection.
Reading Health at Every Size (and then diving down the rabbit hole of fat studies/liberation work) and The Beauty Myth (and many other feminist pieces) in college alleviated my individual shame and awakened both anger and acceptance.
Suddenly my own relationship to dieting, losing weight and gaining weight made a ton of sense to me culturally. That it wasn't my fault. I was taking in the cultural messages that I would be loved and accepted if I lost weight. And feeling alienated from myself and others after recently discovering my queerness, I jumped on that bandwagon.
"Just loving myself," wasn't enough. Combining theory with personal development and healing was the magic formula for me.
Dr. Lindo Bacon shared stories she's never revealed publicly before today of how her relationship with her gender identity and presentation impacted her eating disorder. She wanted to lose weight to align her body with her internal sense of masculinity.
Our many identities impact how we seek love and acceptance -- and trying to change our bodies, which impacts how we are seen by others -- is one main approach.
It makes sense. It all makes sense.
And now the question comes, and remains -- how can we be with it, accept it, and change things, on a personal and collective level?
This is one entry in the November Queer Body Love daily blog writing, where I will be exploring through writing what I see, think, pray, and question. I don’t know what liberation looks like, but I want that for you, and for us. This blog is me sharing a personal practice of being with the question of what that might look like in the hopes that it might be useful. If you're interested in personal support from me as your guide as you explore that in your own body and life, check out my newest 1-on-1 offering, SOFTEN. I can sit with you with so much love and compassion as you orient in the direction of more ease and comfort in your body and with yourself. Together we'll take a stand for new possibilities.