My Body is Beautiful

It was just a typical Thursday. A day scheduled full, class and rehearsal and gym and homework.

I was standing in my dance theory class, shoulder-to-shoulder with my classmates as we circled up in the center of the room, all the desks pushed back against the walls.

We had a guest lecturer that day, a performance artist who used her dance background to create art that challenged political, social, and cultural norms. She spoke to us about her training, how she started making performance art, what she hoped her work did. And then she told us, I want to you to try. Let’s explore a bit.

So we did. We found ourselves there, shoulder-to-shoulder.

“I’m going to say a phrase, and I want you to complete it. Whatever comes to mind. Just spit it out. Ready? Performance is…

We stood, shoulder-to-shoulder, throwing out words, nervously, quickly, quietly, loudly. We nodded and laughed and smiled.

“Performance is…Performance is not…I dance because…Dancing is…Dancing is not…My body is not…”

beautiful.

  • My body is not beautiful.

 

That was the sentence that filled my mind. My body is not beautiful.

I stood there, confused. My body is not beautiful? How could that be the way I completed the phrase, that first word that I grasped out of my consciousness?

You see, my body and I have a long history. There’s been hate, there’s been anger and harsh words. There’s been not-good-enough and not-skinny-enough and not-pretty-enough and not-strong-enough. And lately, slowly, persistently, there’s been love. And acceptance. And deciding, declaring, believing that I am beautiful. That I am enough. That I am loved, that I am worth loving, no matter what.

So why was that the only thing I could think?

My body is not beautiful.

Because years of believing that beautiful is tall, skinny, flawless, not-me – those years don’t erase quickly. Because that lie has burrowed deep, deep down into my soul.

When I look in the mirror, the first thing I spot is whatever is wrong with me.

And I am tired of that. I am so, so tired of that. I’m tired of my default being not beautiful. I’m tired of that lie owning my life. I’m tired of letting other people define my worth in sizes.

Beauty is not paint-by-numbers. Beauty does not have a single definition. Or rather, it does: You.

You are beautiful.

So I will shout from the rooftops, whisper into my reflection, ink on page after page: my body is beautiful.

I will repeat it to myself, day by day by day, until it is as steady as the beat of my heart. Until it replaces the lies.

  • Until it is the only thing I believe.

My body is beautiful.

My body is beautiful.

Written and loved on by:

-Hannah Boning

I Struggle with Self Worth

I struggle with self worth.


I was in 4th grade the very first time I ever considered my worth; I was in 4th grade when I compared myself to someone else for the first time. 
Someone will read the word “compare” and think I’m judgmental, thinking that I puff myself up in the faults of others, but to that person I say:

Don’t worry, you get the better end of the stick. No matter who it is, the person I compare myself to will always be better, more interesting , funnier, smarter, more unique and intriguing. They’ll always be enough for someone and I’ll always be barely mediocre.

I wasn’t enough.

Just like I wasn't enough to be someone that a boy wanted to love purely and unconditionally, only physically. 
I wasn’t enough for my friends to stand by my side when it came down to my word against someone else’s.
And I wasn’t enough to make someone care about me long enough or passionately enough. I wasn’t enough to cause someone to not let me leave in tears late at night when it was pouring. I wasn’t enough to keep someone’s interest, to keep someone talking to me or coming around. I wasn’t enough to make the boy want to make ME his girlfriend, but he’d turn around and make HER his girlfriend.

I thought it was me; I was convinced that somehow, if I just tried hard enough, I could create a new personality for myself that I considered enough—somehow, I would be able to MAKE myself worth loving. 

And so I wrote. When I wrote, I could take the nitty, gritty parts of myself that I believed were lacking and make something admirable out of them; I could create the image that I had in my head of the ideal version of myself; I could create the girl that no one wanted to see brokenhearted, the girl that people didn’t understand and yet adored for that very reason, the girl who was enticing beyond belief, with the quick comebacks, the witty humor, the interesting thoughts and conversations; I could create the boy that was there for her, who hurt when she hurt, who looked at her like she might just be magic; I could create the friends who didn’t leave, the people who were there no matter the circumstances, loyal through and through. Because that’s the sort of personality I wanted, the sort of person I wanted to share life with, and the friends that I wish I had.


And in all of my feeble attempts, in all of my striving to be enough, I was missing out on the opportunity to enjoy being me; I was missing out on opportunities to grow as a human being because I was too busy trying to measure up to some image that I had created for myself and that was always just out of my reach no matter what I did. 

My error: trying to derive acceptance and my own worth from other people who were running on the treadmill next to me towards some goal that they believed would finally secure their own worth. 


I had to train myself to stop looking around at how wonderful everyone else was and to instead look ahead—rather, to look UP. In fact, I am still training myself to discover worth inside my own skin rather than through the actions and words of others, still just embracing the idea that:

I am enough.

-Written and Loved on by:  Jenna