What does it mean to love your body?
I don’t know how many conversations I’ve had with people about the sheer damage we’ve put our bodies through in the quest to be okay with ourselves.
It starts off young, seeing people on magazine covers that don’t look like you. Women who don’t have your body shape or your skintone and and and.
Growing up I never felt all that beautiful because awkward puberty stage and general dorkness. One thing I did experience growing up was seeing how vast the spectrum of beauty is. My mom shaved her head when I was young, I grew up listening to Nina Simone and stared at books about Frida Kahlo (not that I knew what it meant at the time).
In all honesty, I only recently started realising how detrimental my behaviour was in relation to my body. I had never really opened up about how fucked up my eating habits were or what else I was doing, because I told myself that other people had real problems.
But the dialogue I needed to have with myself happened when I moved to the Mother City in 2014. I looked “good”, but felt really horrible and my friends were shocked to see how frail I was. I had been stressed out with trying to find a place to stay, a job and just navigating a new city fresh out of university. Unfortunately, no one tells that your early twenties can truly wreck havoc on your wellbeing.
Getting tattooed has changed the way I feel about myself for sure. But some people don’t respond well to you doing what you want with your own body. Can you believe it?
But the joy of the internet is being able to curate your own content and find things that resonate with you. I stumbled upon the StyleLikeU series on Youtube, which was conceptualised by a mother and daughter team who just want people to express themselves. The duo interview people from all backgrounds and give them a platform to chat openly and honestly. Check out videos featuring poet and activist Staceyann Chin talking about feeling beautiful when a lover sees her body, to a pin-up model who beat cancer (when no doctor would diagnose her properly)
Most of the time, they cry because it’s so raw and real. You’ll cry too.
I’ve watched a good chunk of the short videos online. One of the questions they ask at the end of every interview is, “In your body is a good place to be because…?”
And the one answer that stood out the most was, “It’s warm and it’s soft and it’s finally mine”
(Watch below from 13:10)