Embracing Reality Means Embracing Myself and My Body

Welcome to the Body: AMAZING Carnival!

This post was written as a part of the Body: AMAZING Carnival co-hosted by Jennifer of True Confessions of a Real Mommy and Amy of Anktangle. Carnival participants were invited to write about how we learn to appreciate the ways our bodies grow and change. Our posts explain some incredible ways our bodies impress and amaze us.

Please read to the bottom to find a list of submissions from all of today’s carnival participants.

I used to be Pagan. My Paganism was rooted in the realities of the earth and the body. It was messy and practical and real. It was many things that I still am today, just wrapped up in the language of religion which I no longer prefer to use. Today I call myself an atheist, which is also rooted in the realities of the earth and the body and rests on an uneasy truce with the language of science.

This post isn’t about religion, though, or science. It’s about body acceptance. I first began to become comfortable with my body because I was Pagan, and it’s one of the things I’m grateful to Paganism for.

As a Pagan, I sought to accept what is, whether good or bad. Cycles and rhythms and flow. For example, there’s a reason it rains. Whether or not you “enjoy” a rainy day, the rain comes because it does, because it’s necessary, and it belongs in the cycle. Therefore it makes the most sense to embrace (if not enjoy) the coming of the rain. It’s only pain and wasted effort to rail against the stormy skies wishing it were otherwise. This embrace of the rain and sun (and life and death) defined my Paganism.

I came to notice that for me and many of my female friends, we were generally happy, confident people, but when we would see a picture of ourselves we’d express disgust, displeasure, and denial of the image. This seemed out of line with my desire to embrace reality. I like myself. My image is myself. Therefore I must like my image, in the same way that I like the rain.

Sure, sometimes a photograph catches us at a particularly awkward moment that doesn’t really capture us. But if I’m just standing there smiling at the camera, that’s me. That’s what I look like.

To know myself is to know that image. To like myself is to like that image.

There were many other steps to my body acceptance through the years, but simply accepting the reality in the photograph was the crucial first step. It rains. Seasons pass. I breathe and eat and sleep. The wheel of life and death turns.

And I look like I do. I have the body I have.

I haven’t called myself a Pagan for about 7 years, but this is a takeaway message that I continue to treasure.

“There is really nothing you must be.  And there is nothing you must do.  There is really nothing you must have.  And there is nothing you must know.  There is really nothing you must become.  However it helps to understand that fire burns, and when it rains the earth gets wet…”
-Robert Fulghum

More to read and love about honoring our bodies at these other blogs. Please visit them all and leave some comment love!

Jennifer from True Confessions of a Real Mommy is moved to trust her body, even the fuzzy parts. You can also find Jennifer on Facebook and Twitter.

Amy of Anktangle writes about living with chronic pain and how she appreciates the ways her body functions in spite of its challenges. You can also find Amy on Facebook and Twitter.

Mari from Honey on the Bum talks a little bit about how her body has changed and how she loves it and what it does for her. You can also find Mari on Twitter.

Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about why she’s not worried about how her body looks, because it has a much more important job right now.

Joella from Fine and Fair discusses her love and respect for her body as it grows and changes during pregnancy over. Hear more from Joella on Twitter and Facebook.

Issa Waters at LoveLiveGrow on how Paganism taught her to accept reality and by extension herself and her body. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work shares about her love/hate relationship with a nose that she saw as ugly . . . until she started to learn to love it. Amy W. can also be followed on Twitter and Facebook.

Destany at They Are All of Me writes about releasing the negative notions she was taught about her period, and embracing it instead.

Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children talks about how she had to push through her pre-conditioned comfort level and found herself in a position to naturally be open and honest with her children. More great stuff from Mandy on Facebook.

Lauren at Hobo Mama is not a runner . . . but she proved herself wrong by completing a race. Keep up with Lauren’s adventures on Twitter and Facebook.