My giant vision board kind of turned out to be a mental disaster for me.
I was really frustrated that it wasn’t “looking right” and that it was taking “too long.” When I started it, I was still working on my thesis and that just took up most of my mind and thoughts and I had little left to give to the board. I realized that I’ve gotten too caught up in my own view of what it should look like and having it be this big, beautiful poster that I can display in all its glory. During one day of the Radiant Goddess course, our project was to make a vision board and Goddess Leonie had created a small one, about the size of a sheet of paper. Just seeing her hold that made me think, “Wait a second. Why am I making such a big deal? Literally, a BIG deal?” What if I divide the aspects of my life up and tackle them one by one? I could have a vision board for what I want for myself professionally, romantically, in my friendships, in my relationship with my family, my recovery, my body, travel, the list goes on and on. For me, this made me the task much more exciting and doable.
I knew immediately that I needed to make something that represented how I want to feel about my body, since that’s one thing I’m having difficulties with right now. I’ve spent time looking up quotes online (and Weighing the Facts is a wonderful resource-so I give that site a lot of credit for the quotes I’m using on my board) and I’m using a page from the Goddess Guidebook on the backside of the board. The other side is something a little more personal and I’m hesitant about putting it up. It’s basically a picture of the female form with words written across different areas of my body about how I want my body to feel. For example, where my legs are, I’ve written the words “graceful,” “brave,” “strong,” “courageous,” and “powerful.” These words represent how I want to feel about my legs and how I want to view my body.
As you can see, the front side of the vision board has both cutouts/quotes/images and a lot of handwritten affirmations. I really want to make my own “body positive” board with pictures of myself and my body and things that I like about it written on top of them, but that will come in time and when I finish (or rather start) that, I will be sure to share the experience.
I then ran the two pieces of paper through my laminator, which happens to be pretty amazing for $15. I actually feel really happy about the finished product and now when I’m feeling down about my body or have urges, I have something tangible to look at to remind me of things like my eating disorder lied to me and for me, losing weight means losing happiness. I realize that in my eating disorder (and even if you don’t have an ED but struggle(d) with body image, you can relate to this as well) I never loved my body and so I no longer believe that little voice in my head that says, “You know, if you just lost a couple of pounds you would be SO much happier.” Uh, no actually, I won’t.
I may not love my body every day but I definitely can appreciate what it’s been through. Everyone’s body has a story to tell. If you are a woman who has given birth, your body has a story. If you have traveled to some exotic land, your body has a story. If you had cancer, your body has a story. If you love to jump around and play all the time, your body has a story. No matter who you are, where you come from, or what you have done, your body has a story and I think that at some point, everyone has had issues with their body.
I believe that the body really stores emotional baggage and we do not give it enough credit for what it does and how much it protects us. I’ll never forget one day in my second treatment center when we were talking about body image and the task was to go up to the front of the room and write on the white board something about our bodies that made us self-conscious. I wrote, “I don’t have a flat stomach.”
I was the first person to go up there and I was shaking and on the verge of tears. “I can’t stand up here anymore,” I told the counselors. “Please, let me sit down,” I whimpered as tears welled up in my eyes. They told me that it was ok, that I was ok. Then other patients started to raise their hands and say that they could relate, and these were patients that I NEVER thought would feel self-conscious about their bodies (even though I knew they were all there because they had eating disorders). It was pretty eye opening to hear women whose bodies I secretly envied admit that they too did not like their stomachs. We ended up talking about all the good things our bellies did for us (and I like the word belly better than stomach or abs, it’s more comforting to me). It protects our organs, the skin can stretch and carry a baby, etc. I also think it’s worth mentioning (and this is coming from professionals in treatment centers- doctors!) that if you are in recovery from an eating disorder, no matter what diagnosis, your body will probably change and it takes about a year for weight to redistribute evenly around your body. I think that not realizing this and accepting this can lead to relapse (it did for me).
Well friends, I am really excited because my parents, sister, and aunt are flying in tonight for my weekend of celebration and we are going to have dinner at the Melting Pot! I am SO excited because it is probably my favorite restaurant and I cannot wait I’m off to attempt to clean my apartment before they get here!
What do you want to feel in/about your body?