Healing from within – how to embrace and fall in love with your body

by | May 2, 2021 | Diversity and Inclusion, Mental Health, Women Empowerment | 0 comments

When I had my first baby, 6 weeks after giving birth to my son, I went shopping only to realise that my body was no longer the same, and all the subliminal messages scream how our bodies should look.

I remember breaking down crying in a fitting room, because nothing could fit me anymore, and all the subliminal messages around me were screaming – ‘Something is wrong with my body’.

Right there and then I made a decision to open a boutique for women celebrating all bodies, no matter the size or shape you are. I founded Mary Rose NW Boutique, size-inclusive, body-positive promoting self-love and women empowerment.

Women have been inundated with messages of unrealistic expectations and promoting body image that is far from reality for most people, putting pressure on women especially. 

Diet culture is the worshipping of thinness, attaching moral superiority to a smaller body. Our society is deeply ingrained in diet culture. Diet culture has its roots in the patriarchy and its goal is to keep women small, contained, and unheard. What would happen if we stepped into our power as female business owners? What if we stood up and said we are enough exactly as we are? We do not need to fit into one box. We are more than our bodies.

The stats show:

  • By age 6, girls especially start to express concerns about their own weight or shape. 40-60% of elementary school girls (ages 6-12) are concerned about their weight or about becoming too fat. This concern endures through life.
  • 79% of weight-loss program participants reported coping with weight stigma by eating more food.
  • Of American elementary school girls who read magazines, 69% say that the pictures influence their concept of the ideal body shape. 47% say the pictures make them want to lose weight.

When I was between the ages of 10 and 12 my personal journey began with an eating disorder, I then developed obsessive-compulsive disorder. This is when I developed anorexia and the need to control my eating habits. I never felt good enough, and as a young girl, I was never taught that my body was ok, just the way it was.  I grew up as a ballet dancer and from a very young age and I would look up to one type of body as an expectation of how I should look and as my body started to change, I felt the pressure to fit that mould.

I spent 15 years of my life living with anorexia and bulimia. I was consumed with self-hatred at the deepest level. More than a decade later, I am not only comfortable discussing my journey, but I have stepped into an activism role with the mission of empowering people in all bodies to love and accept themselves. I believe when women step into their power, own their stories, no longer hide behind their smile, our world will change. I am sharing with you all how to become one of the most powerful leaders of tomorrow by loving your body today.

 What would happen if instead of focusing on our self-body image and start to channel that energy on our passions and making a positive impact in the world? 

The world would change. Women have been oppressed for far too long. Standing up to diet culture not only means accepting our bodies for the beautiful, life-giving creations that they are but also knowing that you are valuable and worthy exactly as you are.

That our bodies do not define us and we can focus that attention elsewhere. The amount of time we spend calculating, obsessing, and feeling negative about ourselves can be put towards changing the world. It is time to take our power back. It is time we learn to love and accept ourselves entirely, wholeheartedly, and unapologetically. Loving our bodies is not a feeling. Loving our bodies is an action. What is my body asking for at this moment? Recognizing, listening, and honouring those needs is what love for your body truly looks like.

The journey towards self-love and body acceptance is not an easy one in our diet-obsessed culture. Everywhere you look there is an idealization of thinness. But the change needs to begin now. When we focus our attention away from our bodies and onto our innate worthiness, we are taking our power back. We are smashing the patriarchy, diet culture, and all the glass ceilings. Being free to accept our bodies and selves as we are and knowing we are worthy will help us break through. When we love ourselves, we are unstoppable.

Eloho Efemuai

Julie Allen

CEO of Mary Rose NW Boutique, the Founder of the Mary Rose Foundation, an author, and an eating disorder awareness activist

My name is Julie Allen and I am the CEO of Mary Rose NW Boutique, the Founder of the Mary Rose Foundation, an author, and an eating disorder awareness activist. Our boutique is a size-inclusive, body acceptance, and self love promoting safe space for women in all bodies to shop and feel beautiful. The Mary Rose Foundation is a 501c3 that helps fund treatment for people suffering from eating disorders.

8 Ways to Ease Writer’s Block

By Dhara Singh, Storytelling and Niche Coach

Are you someone who has brilliant story ideas, but when the moment comes to sit down and write a post – your mind goes blank?

As a full time, storytelling coach and former journalist what if I told you this is completely normal even for someone who writes professionally. 

In fact, here are 8 strategies that have helped me ease writer’s block and find my footing again. 

  • Turn Your Copy Into A Letter

When perfectionism strikes and you find yourself forcing the professionalism in your writing – immediately stop. Take a step back and reframe your story as a letter you were writing to a friend. 

Or even better think of one of those Future Me letters where you write a letter to yourself in the future – what stories would you include?

  • Brain Dump 

Sometimes you need to forget the perfect grammar for a second and simply get words on a page. Sink deep into your inspiration zone and let the fingers loose on the keyboard. Write straight for 15-20 minutes then pause, take a deep breath and resume.

I remember once I wrote a top paper when I was younger by simply going to the library and cracking it out for 3 hours straight. I only tweaked the grammar and sentence structure after I was done. 

  • Dress Up 💄💃🏽

You heard that right. Sometimes you have to wear a comfortable flowy dress with some mascara to start feeling at ease. Wearing comfortable clothing has allowed me to write some of my best pieces!

  • Read a Book

Sometimes we’re so focused on creating a picture-perfect story that we forget why we even started in the first place. If you’re reading this then you’re likely a natural storyteller so makes sure to keep the fun and creativity alive.

One way to regain your creativity is to read someone else’s stories. They say great writers are great readers for a reason. As you immerse yourself in someone else’s storyline you may suddenly feel inspired to create a work of art as well. 

  • Call a Friend

You don’t realize it, but you already tell your friends stories all the time. Why not hop on the phone and exercise that storytelling muscle by telling your friend how your day was. As you chat back and forth, you’ll feel inspired to weave together details into your own written story.

  • Voice Record

A controversial yet honest take is that not all storytellers are great writers. You may be a great verbal storyteller. In this case, why not voice record your draft instead of writing it. Later use a service such as Otter to transcribe your story for you. 

The hard part is done!

  • Take A Shower

Sounds silly right? If you’re especially empathetic, refreshing yourself with a nice shower will not only ease your writer’s stress, but you’re more likely to get an inspired download or two. 

  • Pitch Yourself in a Networking Room

Close the notebook and word document for a minute. Instead, I want you to download the Clubhouse app and pitch yourself in a networking room.

Clubhouse is THE storytelling app. I nicknamed it that because there hasn’t been a single room I haven’t attended where someone didn’t share a personal story.

By being in the company of others bravely sharing their stories, you’ll also feel more inspired to finish yours. 

Not to mention by pitching your story in a 30 second elevator pitch you can build your confidence. 

At the end of the day, storytelling is supposed to bring you joy! It’s an opportunity to let your natural creative power flow. Once you’re having fun – that’s when the writer’s block fades away!

 

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