I went to see a show called The Slutcracker in Somerville on Sunday—a burlesque parody of The Nutcracker. No, this post is not going to be a review of the show, but if you want to spice up your holiday season and have a couple of laughs then by all means check it out. Just keep in mind, as the name implies, it is not for the easily offended. So did The Slutcracker inspire me with a wonderful holiday message for this post? No. But what it did make me think about was body image.
There were plenty of scantily (about as scantily as you can get) clad women and a few men on the stage. And they ran the gamut of shapes and sizes, which I very much appreciated. Living in a country where we are constantly bombarded by the media with images of seemingly perfect looking women and men, it was refreshing to see some real people on the stage. But I did find myself looking through the women thinking, I wouldn’t mind looking like her, or that woman looks like she is in great shape…which ultimately implies that as much as I think I have made peace with my body and how it looks, there still may be some work to be done. Do we ever get to the point where we feel our bodies are good enough?
When I was at my heaviest I did a lot of work around consciously accepting myself the way I was. For change to occur it is imperative to first accept what is. I was fairly successful with this yet I still wanted the way I looked to change. I stopped the self loathing talk around my weight and as I have talked about before I quit my endless dieting cycle and made peace with food. I believed that I would find an organic solution to getting back to my natural weight or size, which did happen in time. But how do we really know in our hearts that we are at our “natural” size and shape for our personal being, and when do we stop striving for it to be something else?
I’m not talking about giving up on exercise or an eating style that works for you because you have finally made it to the weight you were hoping for. These are healthy changes we need to adopt for life. The real question is, no matter how large or small we might be, how do we really accept our bodies for the astoundingly complex and amazing vehicles they are for us and live happily in them?
I think the answer here is confidence. Confidence in ourselves as infinite amazing spiritual beings who are just trying out this body for awhile. Remembering who we really are at our core and not getting so hung up on the outer shell looking like perfection. Because there is no such thing as perfection. No matter what kind of impeccable shape we get ourselves into we will always be able to find something we are not happy with if we look hard enough. That leads us back into a place of seeking—seeking a better exercise or the next hot healthy eating trend so we can just look a little better. There is certainly nothing wrong with wanting a healthy appearance—the key here is to keep a healthy attitude about it.
So if you can, appreciate yourself where you are with your body, as I appreciated the range of beautiful bodies on stage at The Slutcracker. Give yourself a break from the nitpicking and dissatisfaction with your vehicle and be grateful for the amazing way it operates. When we stop trying to mentally and physically beat our bodies into the shape we are conditioned to believe they should be in, that’s when our bodies will relax into a comfortable healthy state of being for us.