This is my body. I am safe.

***This blog post contains mention of body issues, weight gain, weight loss, and a sprinkling of F-bombs.  If you’re offended by any of these things, I warmly invite you to stop reading now.***
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This is a long read.  You may prefer to listen to the audio recording (view on the website to see audio player):

 

this is my body, salt, Nayyirah Waheed, Goddess Wands
from “Nejma” by Nayyirah Waheed

 

This is my body, I am safe.

That’s my current mantra at the moment, on repeat.

The reason why has something to do with a topic that is really difficult to navigate for many, myself included – weight loss and existing in a smaller body, and navigating the increased unwanted male attention that I experience in a smaller body.

I want to preface this by saying I am 100% against diet culture.  You are beautiful at any size, and your weight does not determine your health, your worth, your beauty, sex appeal or anything else about you.  In fact, I wrote a blog post about my experiences living in a larger body and how I’ve learned to love and accept my body.  You don’t have to be thin to be beautiful or desirable, and fat and skinny are just adjectives like tall, short, curly, straight, pink, red and so on.

With that being said, I’ve recently been losing weight.  Not because I want to see a certain number on the scale, or because I want to fit into a certain clothing size, but because my body had started being negatively affected by my weight gain in the form of insulin resistance.  I was exhibiting symptoms of PCOS and pre-diabetes, both of which are exacerbated by insulin resistance.  Diabetes runs in both sides of my family heavily, and I decided I did not want to create that experience for myself as well.  If you’re unclear about what insulin resistance is, I recommend giving it a quick google.

Coming around to the decision to lose some weight was not an easy process.

At 12 years old I began taking diet pills, and continued to take them for most of my life, until I finally stopped hurting my body that way about 5 years ago – shortly after I began learning about Reiki.  I had a great deal of guilt, shame, body hatred and childhood programming to unravel.

I found the body positive and intuitive eating movements and they helped me heal.  I learned to love my body, accept my shape, and commit to celebrating my physical self regardless of the outward appearance.  I learned to shake off society’s beauty standards and see every ripple, curve, and dimple as gorgeous and perfect and divinely created.  Body positivity wasn’t always effortless, but I chose to celebrate myself instead of berating myself and healed a tonne of emotional shit that centered around not being good enough, not being beautiful enough, not being in control of myself enough.

Intuitive and mindful eating were also deeply healing.  Unlearning decades of weight watchers, calorie counting, restriction and punishment, fad diets, cabbage soup diets, drinking nothing but V8 juice diets…  For once in my life I felt free!  Food was no longer controlling my every moment, every thought.  I ate joyously and indulgently – I received pleasure from eating delicious home-cooked meals and allowed myself the creative expression of cooking beautiful meals from scratch for my partner and I.

So you can understand why it was a bit of a mind fuck when I realized my weight had skyrocketed and my body was actually getting sick, and that the solution was changing my eating habits to reverse the insulin resistance in my body.

I rebelled at first.  “NO.”  I thought.  “Fuck this diet culture bullshit!  There are healthy bodies at every size!  It’s fat-phobic crap to say I’m unhealthy because I’m fat.”  And you know what?  I stand by those statements.  Fuck diet culture.  Fuck people capitalizing off of our insecurities.  Fuck every Dr. who dismissed a fat person’s symptoms simply because they were fat.  Fuck photoshopped bodies and fuck feeling guilty about what you choose to eat.  Fuck comparison.  Fuck passive aggressive comments from coworkers or family members or so called friends that make you feel shitty about yourself.

So I guess it’s safe to say that I experienced a bit of anger at first.  Anger, shock, confusion.

The thing is – this time the motivation to lose weight wasn’t coming from any of those places.  It was coming from my own body, whispering urgently in my ears late at night after a sugar binge to please, please take better care of me.  Even though I loved the concepts of mindful and intuitive eating, I would binge eat a lot.  I’m not proud of it.  I could polish off 3 meals a day including a nice dinner and snacks and still eat a dozen homemade chocolate chip cookies before bed – sugar rush buzzing through my veins and contrasting the leaden, numb, cushioned feeling in my body after eating so much food.

It was the only real “vice” I had left.  I had given up smoking cigarettes and binge drinking nearly a decade ago.  I had given up smoking pot when I realized I was not in control of my consumption of it at all.  Don’t get me wrong, I have deep respect and appreciation for Cannabis.  It’s just that I wasn’t treating it that way.  Perhaps as a result of trauma, bingeing seemed to be my coping mechanism of choice for many years.  I had let go of the cigs, alcohol and smoking cannabis, but I was white-knuckled gripping the binge eating with both fists.

Now I know that not every person who is fat is a binge eater, or experiencing unhealthy eating habits.  It is nobody’s place to tell you what to do with your body and what is right for it.  That is your job.  An inside job.  And this was the unfortunate truth that my body and my insides would no longer allow me to ignore – my eating habits were making me sick.

So, I got mad.  I got angry and rejected all of it.  I was not eager to let go of my newly found freedom from caring about my body and my weight.

 

this is my body, salt, Nayyirah Waheed
from “salt” by Nayyirah Waheed

And then I realized, that was the problem.  I didn’t care.

Mindful and intuitive eating are wonderful.  But they only work when you care for your body.  When you love your body and your self so you take the very best care of you, and that reflects in your eating habits and how you nourish yourself.

I decided that I wanted to commit to taking better care of myself, reversing the insulin resistance and living for many years to come.  My boyfriend’s weight had also skyrocketed, so we spent a great deal of time feeling into this and talking about it together, as we both have unhealthy histories with dieting and weight loss (and weight gain).  We decided together to take action and began researching healthy ways to reverse insulin resistance and shed some excess weight.

Now, this blog post isn’t really about weight loss, despite the lengthy intro.  I wanted to share my motivation and thought process, to gain clarity into my own feelings even as I articulate them here for you.

No, this post is really about what happened when I started to lose a little bit of weight, and how it gave me a crystal-clear insight into how I gained so much in the first place.  Insight into why I have been binge eating since childhood, and why this understanding is something relevant and worthy of sharing with all of you.

I’ve lost 15 pounds so far.  My body is marginally smaller, and I can walk for hours without the terrible hip, back, and joint pain that I had been experiencing.

When I am not working on Goddess Wands or my practice as an energy healer, I work as a professional makeup artist.  I freelance, and I also work directly for a couple of brands.  When I do brand work, I am in various malls and Sephora locations.  Yesterday when I was working a shift I was walking through the mall on my lunch break and heard a hissed “Niiiiiiiiice” from a complete stranger as I passed.  I looked over quickly, saw that it was a tall, well built man and quickly averted my gaze.

Later that evening I was sitting in my vehicle outside of an Old Navy, about to meet with someone inside of the store.  I heard a wolf whistle through the glass of my closed window and saw another large man in his car beside me, sitting in the passenger seat and staring at me intensely, looking at me with something between desire and desperation in his eyes.  Again, I quickly averted my gaze and shored up my energetic boundaries.

In those moments I felt so unsafe, so uncomfortable and frankly violated by the intensity of that unwanted and disconcerting attention.  I do not understand what makes a person behave that way.  It’s not complimentary, it doesn’t make a person feel good, and it certainly wouldn’t entice me to talk to them or date them even if I was single or looking for a partner.

As someone who has been groped, attacked, and has experienced sexual assault, it triggers me.

It makes me want to eat and eat until my body becomes a growing fortress that their hungry eyes cannot penetrate and will not rest on.

Now, I don’t think it is news to anyone who follows this blog that it can be very common to gain weight after being attacked as a form of emotional armor and protection, on a subconscious level.  It’s not news to me, but I think I had forgotten how disconcerting it can feel to be a little bit smaller, a little more vulnerable.

I came home yesterday evening, angry.

“Why should I have to be unhealthy to feel safe?!”  I asked my friend and teacher Julie.

“You don’t need that protection anymore.”  She said simply.  “You keep experiencing this because it’s within you, needing to be resolved.”

I exhaled sharply as I read her words, feeling the truth in them, and the way they softly but unquestionably gave me my power back.  I thanked her for the insight, and for the truth she wasn’t afraid to speak.

I don’t need that protection anymore.  Truth be told, I have put a great deal of time and effort into learning about and repairing my energetic boundaries.  I am protected, more so than ever before in my life, but in a very different way.

I can put down the emotional armor.  She was right.

This is my body.

I am safe.

 

this is my body, salt, nayyirah waheed
From “salt” by Nayyirah Waheed.

This is my sexuality.  It belongs to me.  It is safe for me to feel sexual and sensual at any size, and if my sex chakra glows like a Christmas bonfire and it excites others when I am around – that’s their responsibility.  I don’t need to dim my fire.  I don’t need to take responsibility for the shitty behavior of others, and I don’t need to spend my life compensating for and trying to pre-empt it either.

I do need to take good care of myself.  I do need to have strong and healthy boundaries.  I do need to take responsibility for how I express my sexual energy and my own behavior.  I do need to choose to be in spaces that feel safe and supportive, and to protect myself and my energy so I can also navigate spaces that can be triggering, if need be.

This is part of the process of reclaiming my sensual energy, learning to navigate the disturbances and complications that may come up as a result of this work with grace and mindfulness.

Self Reiki, Pranic Healing, working with my Goddess Wand, practicing Inquiry and paying attention to what is happening in my head and in my heart…  All of these things have helped me clear and release a tremendous amount of “stuff” from my sex chakra and my energy body in general.  I’ve done a lot of healing work on myself, and yesterday’s experience reminded me that there are new layers to pour love on, to heal.  New spirals of understanding to embrace.  New dimensions of myself to discover.

I recently binge-watched the entire first season of “She’s Gotta Have It” on Netflix (AMAZING, by the way) and watching how the show portrayed Nola’s experience of being cat-called and harrassed and finally attacked, and then her healing process after the attack, and how her lovers responded to her sexuality in that gorgeous black dress really blew me away.  It felt like such an honest and authentic depiction of what it can be like, and a mirror of my own experiences.

It’s hard to feel safe being sexy when your sexuality has been used as a weapon to disempower you.  Real talk.

But you can do it.

We can do it.

This is my body.

I am safe.

From the heart,

Krystle

Owner, Goddess Wands

P.S.  If these words resonate with you, I would love for you to share them.  Let’s start a conversation, and be brave enough to be real with each other.  This was the most difficult blog post I’ve ever written, and also one of the ones I’m most proud of.  It’s hard to push the publish button because I feel so vulnerable, but I also feel liberated by that rawness and vulnerability.  Did this touch you?  Set you off?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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