I don’t know about you, but I self-identify as a wallower. Something goes wrong, I have a bad day, and I look for ways to indulge those feelings and luxuriate in feeling awful. It’s a vicious cycle, and one that I’m actively trying to counteract, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. And so, after a little bit of thought, I’ve decided to try adding a new feature to The Body Pacifist. I’m absolutely going to continue dealing with thoughts and emotions head-on here, but I’m adding a new category of posts to which I’m giving the catchy name of Vigilante Positivity.The goal is to provide a voice that will speak in the opposite direction of the negative self-talk that plagues those of us struggling with body image in any capacity. You know the one, the voice that says you’re not good enough, you’re not trying hard enough, you’re a waste of space, and asking for help is just going to make you a nuisance to those you care about. We let this voice talk, and we never put our foot down and say, “You know what? No. You are wrong.” So consider this an opportunity to engage your inner monologue in hand-to-hand combat. Whether or not we intrinsically believe positivity at the get-go, it can’t possibly hurt to exercise the positive thinking muscle more than we’re used to. So here we go. Nothing like a little positivity on a Monday morning.
First, thanks for reading. It still blows my mind that I have followers. Know that your showing up on this page and reading these words is making somebody else’s day.
Second, congratulations: you are awesome.
Want to know how I know? Because you are you. Nobody else can say that. I can’t. Those people you look up to? They can’t say that. Only you can embrace your you-ness in the way that you’re doing it right now. How’s that for a résumé-builder?
And your body? For Christ’s sake, don’t get me started on that fantastic piece of machinery. You know what that body you’ve been tormenting and picking to pieces is doing right now? It’s a self-sustaining miracle that’s keeping the awesome collection of thoughts, experiences, dreams, hopes, loves, skills and fantasies that is you here in the world for the rest of us to enjoy. I dare your iPhone to do that.
Your challenge for this Monday (because don’t think you’re getting off that easily! This is a two-way relationship, people) is to think of one part of your body that is unique to you and that makes you awesome. I’m not suggesting that we go off on one of those Cosmo “Love Your Butt With This Twenty-Minute Workout!” tangents. I want you to think of a part of your body that you love right now, as it is, and then think about why you love it.
Here, I’ll go first.
I love the middle finger on my right hand.
(No, not for the reason you think. I get road rage, sure, but that’s not the point.)
On the middle finger on my right hand, there’s this bump right above the top knuckle where I keep my pen. And as a college student, a creative writing major, and a fiction-writer-slash-novelist, I keep my pen there a lot of the time. I’ve had friends tell me that they’ve never used up an entire pen. I went through three last week. (Given, they were probably already on their last legs. But still.)
I look at this bump on my third finger not as something weird, something asymmetrical, something I wish I didn’t have, but as a mark of what I do and what’s important to me. Sure, many people get little marks like this, but in my head I consider mine a secret sign in the writers’ community. It shows what’s important to me. It shows what I want. It’s proof of those long nights I spent writing and rewriting chapters, trying to get every word perfect. It’s part of me, and it’s part of my body, and I love it.
Is there a part of you that you love because it says something about you? It doesn’t have to be anything big. It doesn’t have to be something that makes sense to anybody but you. But I know there’s something there.
No two of us are alike, and that’s the best part about having a body. I don’t want to have somebody else’s body because this one is mine. Even though it’s doing some crazy stuff at the moment and I would like to get some better harmony between the biology and the psychology, this is the only set of arms and legs and organs that I’m going to get, and I’m totally okay with that.
We’re in this together, my body and I. It’s got one job, to keep me around. And I think it’s doing a pretty decent job.
So if you take away one thing this morning and use it for the rest of your day, I hope it’s this:
Your body is a unique, special, incredible manifestation of awesome, no matter what anyone else tells you.
Because it lets the rest of the world interact with you.
And you’re pretty awesome as it is.