What scale do we measure ourselves against? As we break away from dieting and the culture of destructive health and wellness, how do we measure our worth? Without the points, the macros, the BMI, the restriction, the calorie burn, what measurements are there?
When I’m not coaching or taking class, I am performing artist. Performing was my first love and has been my life for a long time. I’ve worked all over the world, singing, acting and dancing. Unfortunately, since the pandemic hit in March, theaters have been closed. Looking for the silver lining though, since March, I have been able to take the time, invest in myself, and like I’ve talked about here before, change my life.
I have worked diligently to heal my relationship with my body. On this path, I gained freedom from dieting and freedom around food. I have learned to treat myself with compassion and lead with kindness. I have become an Intuitive Eater. I am everything that I was before, but better, brighter, fuller, happier, more dynamic, and more authentic.
Anyway, I am writing today because, I am lucky enough to have performance opportunity in February, and I can’t wait! I feel endlessly lucky to get back on stage (so to speak) and get back in costume…. and a little scared. Let me tell you what had me feeling anxious.
To fit my costume, I had to take my measurements. That’s pretty common in the acting world. Costumes have to fit, of course. But, after transitioning to a self-care, self-accepting, body-positive lifestyle, the idea of measuring myself felt daunting.
However, it is important to note, because I am in a petite, white, cis body, I have not experienced much, if any, bias around being costumed, outside of my own self judgement. So, I recognize my privilege here. But I feel responsible to share the good and the bad of my experience (because my experience is the only one I can share), and hopefully, together, we can create a platform where ALL experiences can be shared.
Anyway, I stared at the tape measure and I felt my anxiety level rise. Since starting this journey, I haven’t weighed or measured any part of my body. A part of making peace with our bodies is putting an end to attributing worth, morality, and value to those numbers. Society and diet culture tell us that those numbers equate to how worthy, healthy, smart, and lovable we are, but it’s simply not true. And I know that; you know that, whether it’s consciously or subconsciously. I’ve fought hard to break away from that thinking that diet culture has indoctrinated our society with. So, even though I know my measurements have no value, other than as dimensions for my costume, I felt triggered by all those old patterns of self-judgement. But, I had to do it, for work, and to keep doing the work…if you know what I mean.
So, here are the five steps that made it possible to take my measurements and honor my self-image, self-worth, and self-trust.
In and out. Okay, maybe I took a few. I reminded myself, that I am okay, even in the hard moments. I gave myself the gift of grace. I can do hard things.
I needed to find the “why” behind the emotions I was having. There was a time in my life where a change in measurements could make or break me, a time when I idolized and fought with myself for a smaller number, a time when I abused myself for a higher one.
BUT, I know better now. My worth has nothing to do with my body. No one’s does. My joy, my life, my talent, my intelligence, hell, my beauty has nothing to do with that measuring tape. I don’t judge the size of my feet, and I won’t quantify my body that way. The only time that number has value is when we subscribe to diet culture’s insisting that size matters and has morality. I KNOW THIS IS BS. My body is capable of amazing things and I am so grateful for it. Full. Stop.
I asked my husband. It’s a totally neutral activity for him, and maybe that could rub off on me. I have learned that keeping this journey secret is a part of diet culture’s pathology. It makes us feel alone. We think that we are the only ones struggling. That it comes from weakness, or that we are missing something. But, that is not true. Asking for help is nerve-wracking when we are so used to keeping it all locked up, but having support can change everything.
I put on some comfortable clothes. Clothes that made me feel good. NEWSFLASH – workout clothes, hell all clothes, should be comfortable and functional. Wear what makes you feel good to move your body in. Style is great, but personal preference takes the cake here. Because if you feel good, then I promise, without a doubt, you look good.
I just did it, before I had time to think. Measure, record number, measure, record number, and so on, until it was done. Then, I put on a song I love, and I danced. Not well. I jumped and bounced, swayed and shimmied. I got out of my head, and back into my amazing body. Diet culture has this way of making us over analyze and think about our bodies in ways that quantify and judge. Let’s get back in our bodies. Grounded in ourselves.
Measuring myself was scary. I felt triggered. BUT, I will not be destroyed by discomfort. And, now that it’s over, those numbers really don’t mean anything. I am so much more. We are all so much more than our measurements.
I measure happy and kind. I measure worthy and lovable. I measure smart and creative. I measure loyal and optimistic. I measure talented and thoughtful. I measure emotional and passionate. I measure goofy and bright, and so much more. Those are my measurements. They are the only ones that matter. What are yours?
Check out the rest of my blog to find out more about me and my journey and check out the rest of my site to learn how I can support you on yours. Comment below and tell me what your most important “measurements” are.