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Sunday, January 23, 2011

A book review and a new feature

I am just going to come out and say it: sometimes I hate my body. Those of you who know me in person are crying, But Diana! You are beautiful! You are tall and have long legs and gorgeous hazel eyes and awesome freckles! You are THIN! How can this be??!

It is one of those things that is.

You probably hate your body sometimes too. Maybe a lot of the time. Hopefully not all the time. This is part of the Western human condition, male and female alike. If you are like me, you're probably really tired of hating your body--tired of every ad and every asshole who tells you that it's not right, that it could be better, prettier, stronger, faster. So we will add our voices to the scores of voices that are saying, Enough. They are everywhere online: I linked to some of my favorites in this post and it's time for me to add my blog to the list. With that, a new weekly feature in which I will appreciate my body in some way! I have no kicky name yet, and I don't know if it will be posted on a particular day each week. Maybe Sunday would be good; Sunday is a nice day for reflection. But for right now, it is just taking the form of this:

My body, despite what I do to it, keeps going. It does all the work for me. My feet walk, my hands type, my lungs draw in air without being told to. My body is the ultimate Mother. It even scolds me by coming down with colds and backaches when I push it too hard. For all of this and more, I am grateful.

And now for the book review portion of this post! This post in general was spurred partly by the fact that I read lots of body acceptance blogs and Tumblrs, and partly by the fact that I recently finished reading Dianne Sylvan's book The Body Sacred. It's not a new title--it was her second publication, I believe--but somehow I never got around to it until a few weeks ago. It is a sort of combination book: part ruminations on goddess spirituality (specifically Wicca), part ritual and exercise guide, and part self-help for body image. It's a good mixture, I find. Goddess worship and body acceptance go hand in hand. Sylvan is a self-described fat girl who knows of what she writes; though her spiritual practice and views have changed since the publication of this book, I feel (based on what she writes on her blog and Tweets about and so forth) that the core of the matter is unchanged. That core is this: Your body is sacred. It deserves to be treated with the utmost respect and care and love. Self-love and self-acceptance and self-esteem are a continuing work, a mountain that will always be there to be climbed. If you would not say to your lover or best friend, Hey fatty!...please don't say it to yourself. Even if you are an atheist, a Christian, a Muslim: treat yourself as a goddess (or god. Men have body issues too) and your physical embodiment as holy and worthy. Because it is.

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