Learning to Embrace My Body

I saw Taryn Brumfitt speak at Leading Moms in 2014 and I've followed her online ever since. She's enthusiastic, thoughtful, and engaging, and her message is one that speaks to me both as a woman and a mother.

We’re on a quest to end the global body-hating epidemic.

The Body Image Movement (BIM) is an internationally recognised crusade that was founded on the belief that your body is not an ornament, it’s the vehicle to your dreams. BIM believes that everyone has the right to love and embrace their body, regardless of shape, size, ethnicity or ability.
— bodyimagemovement.com

Taryn is bringing Embrace to Vancouver this weekend for two screenings on February 26th (more info and tickets here). She's also hosting a question & answer reception after the second screening and I encourage you (woman, man, mother, childless) to check it out. It pains me to think of my children (any child) growing up feeling inadequate or worthless because of the shape, size, colour, ability, etc. of their body. I want to learn as much as I can about body positivity so I can help my babies, and all the babies, feel secure and confident in the body they've been given.

Partial proceeds from the Vancouver event will support G Day, a national rite of passage event series that supports positive body image, self esteem, leadership, and supportive peer and family relationships for tween girls.

Venue
Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre, Arts Club Theatre Company
162 West 1st Ave, Vancouver (Olympic Village)

Date & Time
February 26th at 12 noon (screening only) and 3:00 pm (screening & reception)

BUY TICKETS

This Body of Mine

This thirty-something-year-old body of mine is 25 pounds heavier than my twenty-something-year-old body of the past. That is not hyperbole.  

This body of mine sags where it used to be perky and ripples where it used to be taut. It is crisscrossed with scars and stretchmarks. It has been cut open and sewn back together. Electricity crackles through its bones and settles in joints with a malicious hum. 

It has hiked Irish hills and explored the British countryside and once it got lost in a sleepy Italian town because maps are confusing and north always feels like it should be right in front of me, no matter which direction I'm facing. It has danced and swam and loved and wandered. It has endured.

This body of mine has become bulbous both with new life and with cancer, stretched beyond what I thought was possible. It's grown and birthed two babies, and grown tumours that overtook an embryo that never stood a chance. 

My babies and my cancer have fed off this body of mine.   

This body of mine is not perfect but it is full. Full with baby giggles and shared jokes and mountain air. Full of 3am pizza and sloppy kisses and travel dreams and homemade birthday cake. This body of mine is not perfect but it has lived. It lives. Twenty-five pounds heavier than ten years ago, self-conscious but not self-loathing, stronger(ish), this body of mine lives. I won't take it for granted. 

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Invisible

We'd had very little sleep the night before, and a few hours on the road in front of us, so after lunch I ducked into a coffee shop for the necessary caffeine while Shawn strapped the kids into their car seats.  It was the type of coffee shop with a twee name and mixed-medium art by a local artist hanging on the pristine white walls. The woman who made my drinks was (I guessed) in her early twenties and (I knew) impossibly beautiful.

I ordered our drinks and rolled my eyes at the $11 total ($11! For coffee! Get off my lawn!) and stood at the counter to wait. The guy behind me placed his order and stood chatting up the coffee goddess while she steamed milk and pulled shots. He was young and scruffy in that way that is supposed to look nonchalant but is actually very intentional. 

I stood waiting, invisible, as the young scruffy one told the young beautiful one about house parties and his band and something about a mutual friend and a hammock. She giggled at the appropriate places and coolly accepted an eager invitation to the next house party and managed to royally fuck up our drinks. 

We pulled away from the coffee shop and tried to agree on who would drink which drink. (They both tasted like melted ice cream.) I'll happily forfeit the killer eyeliner and the drunken ragers and the taut skin for my station wagon and babies but I'll be DAMNED if they try to take my coffee. 

It's an interesting thing to be invisible. It's not a bad thing, just a thing. I'm not a young one or a beautiful one or even an intentionally-scruffy one. I'm just me. And I love me. I love my wide hips that have birthed two babies. I love my stretch-marked breasts that make milk like it's their damn job (because it is their damn job!) to feed those babies. I love the scars that tell the story of beating cancer and the dark circles under my eyes that tell the story of my sleep-hating baby. 

My life is full and beautiful and enough. I don't mind being invisible. 

 

You're Beautiful

"You're the most beautiful mommy," he said and my breath caught in my throat because I wanted to say no, I'm not beautiful, I'm exhausted and smelly and wobbly where I used to be firm and my hair is falling out and I haven't had my eyebrow waxed into two distinct eyebrows in months and none of my clothes fit and my boobs leak breastmilk and my eyes leak tears on a daily if not hourly basis and did I mention I'm tired? I'm so tired. 

But I didn't say any of those things. I swallowed my words and smiled at him.  

"You're the most beautiful mommy because your love shines like Iron Man's unibeam."  

And he's right.  

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