Find Yourself Attractive

This was originally posted on 02/11/2013. But, I’m still in the Dominican Republic without Internet access, so please give this a fresh read until I have some new material for you.

Have you ever had the “naked at school” dream? Have you ever felt insecure about how you looked when leaving the house? We all have insecurities. We’ve been programmed (read: socialized) that way. All of this talk about insecurity is making me question things. What do you love about your (physical) self? I mean, just for a minute, one vain minute, look in the mirror and celebrate what you love about your reflection. Often, in class, when you hear me attempting to deflect self-doubt, I’m refuting use of the word ‘can’t’. But, we all know that self-doubt comes in many forms. Body image insecurities have kept people from joining gyms due to their fear of being judged by others. Let’s just clear the air. Everyone judges. It’s a part of human survival instinct to see someone/something and judge if it is a threat. In this modern age of stereotypes and conditioning, our judgments have taken an ugly turn. We all judge as we all are judged. The sooner we accept that concept, the sooner we’ll be comfortable in our own skin and just say, “fuck it, I don’t care what people think!” My challenge to you, this week, is to celebrate your soul as well as your physical vessel. Encourage your friends to do the same. We all have different levels of insecurities, some may need more of a boost than others. Before you begin any fitness program, a positive foundation built on what you love about your body, will take you much further than any sort of “I hate [fill in the blank] about my body” workout program.

I was recently featured in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle. The conversation was about men posing for boudoir photographs. When asked my opinion on why so many men are apprehensive about being nude in front of a camera, I spoke about people’s (men’s) fear of exposure. Naked, on a wall, in a gallery ripe for the judgment of the public. That sounds like a 3-D version of the naked at school dream! No matter how you gender-identify, does the thought scare you? Don’t let it. We are all judged and we all judge. Be comfortable in your own beautiful skin and never let anyone convince you that a fit lifestyle is a bad thing. I can’t speak for others. But, I love my life and I want to feel good as long as I live it. Let’s not workout because of some false “fountain of youth” promise, let’s not workout because of something about our bodies that we “hate”, let’s not do this for reasons of vanity. Let’s do this because we want energy for the entire day without energy drinks. Let’s do this because our bodies were never meant to be sedentary. Let’s do this because society should never dictate our leisure activities. Let’s do this because insecurities should never be the driving force in our life. Let’s stop talking about this and… Giddyup! Make it a great day!

10 Things I Love About You

This week, I’m asking you to do the work. You just have an assignment to complete.

Write a love letter to your body.

Step 1: Get naked. Don’t make a big deal out of it. You do this before every shower.
Step 2: Using a dry erase marker, write 10 things you love about your body on the bathroom (or other) mirror. This is not a time to restrain your sense of vanity. Focus on everything that you love about your body (and mind) on an aesthetic and kinesthetic level. Is there something that your body can do that you love or appreciate? Write that down as well.
Step 3: Challenge your friends to do the same.
Step 4: Repeat as often as needed.

Why? Because most people can spend 30 seconds talking non-stop about what displeases them about their bodies. When was the last time that you honored your gift and said thank you for the ability to think, move, fuck, etc.?

What if you don’t make it to 10 things you love about your vessel? (Spoiler: A lot of people don’t make it to 10.) Keep trying. Keep digging. Keep loving. Share your reflections on the experience (but not your actual list – that’s personal) in the comments below.

BodyFaming.com

How many times have you heard the conversation? Listening to people talk about how much they hate their thighs, arms, chest, butt, etc. There’s a lot of negative self-talk going around in the mind and in the circle of friends that fuel such negative body image. What would change about our outlook if we were to focus on what we love about ourselves? Body shaming is a hot topic these days. I’m of the opinion that no one can shame you without your agreement to allow them that power. When people accuse an entire restaurant of body shaming because of a sign out front, I have to remind them that No One Can Make You Feel. Written words in chalk, most certainly can’t make us feel. It’s up to us to decide what we feel. (Stop giving away your power, just because someone made an attempt to take it.)

summers-coming

With that being said, it’s time that we changed the conversations about our bodies. It’s time that we talk about what we love about our bodies and the gratitude we have for our abilities (which come from our bodies). Let’s change the conversation from Body Shaming to Body Faming. I’ve started a community art project called BodyFaming.com The way it will work is that people will submit anonymous (faceless) selfies with words of love, gratitude, and beauty about their own bodies. Take pride in your body, no matter the size. Since all bodies are beautiful, there will be no “real” talk. I hate the phrases, “real men” and “real women”. There is no hieararchy based on body type. Love your body and share that love with the world. Express that self-love without speaking ill of those that are different. Submit your anonymous (unedited) pictures to BodyFaming@gmail.com The website is active yet still improving with every passing week. (currently there is only one submission posted). Look for many changes to be made and I welcome your feedback. Let’s start a self-love revolution!

Have You Started To Love Your Body Yet?

“How does it affect you?” It was a simple question that changed the way I thought (about everyone else). Some years ago, I was blathering on about how that person over there was doing that one thing that was annoying me. My GFATT (Girl Friend At The Time), asked the question that stopped me in my tracks. I don’t remember what I was complaining about. But, I do recall that I was in the habit of expressing (misdirected) anger through criticism of others. That was about a decade ago. I make better use of my energy these days. I still hear her voice in my head, repeating the simple question. I hear it when I make an unnecessary judgment. I hear it when others judge people.

“She is too old to be wearing THAT! I mean come on!” How does it affect you?
“Is he really wearing THOSE pants!?” How does it affect you?
“Is that a man or a woman?” How does it affect you?
“Are you really going to eat THAT?” How does it affect you?
“I hear that they have one of those open marriages!” How does it affect you?

“Am I black or white? Am I straight or gay? Controversy.” -Prince

How does it affect you? *spoiler alert* It. Does. Not. None of our judgments of other people’s habits, fashions, lifestyles, sexual orientations, dietary choices, etc. are worth the mental effort. I care if other people smoke, litter, or jaywalk. Those are just a few examples of things that have an indirect effect on my life. But, I have three challenges for you.

First, acknowledge your judgments. Yes, I am judging that person. What insecurity of mine am I using as a weapon with which to judge this person? Perhaps the judgment you make on others is a subconscious judgment you’ve made on yourself. Are you unhappy with your body? Acknowledge that if you find yourself criticizing someone else’s body.

Second, ask yourself the question. How does it affect you? If it doesn’t, then remind yourself that your energy could be focused on much more positive things. Try focusing the energy of judgment on yourself. No, that does not mean that you should judge/criticize yourself in lieu of strangers. It means that you can take that energy and uplift yourself.

Third, uplift others. Find the (aesthetic) good in others. As I walk through any crowd, I find it easier (read: less stressful) to seek the positive in everyone’s appearance and/or disposition. I’m usually the smiling face that’s swimming up stream thinking about what I like about the people I see. I’m not going to type any false sunshine and claim that *insert mocking tone* “I find everyone beautiful in their own special way”. While I can find something that makes me smile in every soul and on every body, there are times that I meet a donkey (read: jack ass) and I choose to keep my distance. Sometimes, I meet someone that has a penis growing out of his forehead *untrue story*. When that happens I remind myself in rhyme, “if I can’t think of anything nice to SAY sometimes it’s best to look AWAY”.

“Have you started to love your body yet?” It’s a question that I ask potential clients. I make it a policy to only accept clients that are focused on long-term fitness, self-love, rehabilitation, and training to be prepared for anything. The saying goes, “workout because you love your body, not because you hate it.” I’m not sure who said it. But, in my experience, I’ve never seen success come from a negative motivator. Will you run faster if a dog is chasing you? No doubt. Should you imagine that a dog is chasing you every time you go for a run? Please don’t. You’ll hate running faster than it will take you to finish a mile. Love your body, love your effort, love your motivation.

The most beautiful people I’ve ever seen were naked. Every so often, I find myself in a “clothing optional” environment. In those environments, I see self- love whenever someone sheds their clothes. The nudists realize that nothing on their body will affect the eye of the beholder. How will it affect them? The nudist gives zero fucks. In that apathy, I see beauty. The most attractive person is the person that finds themselves attractive. I’d like to re-type that, “The most attractive person is the person that finds themselves attractive.” You can’t just say, “I know I look good, Honey!” No, you must live, breathe, and embody self-love. Have you ever met a confident human with a strong will and positive self-esteem? If you have, then you know what I mean. That human is s-e-x-y. Not because of hair color, fashion sense, height, weight, muscular definition, or any other aesthetic. Nope. That human is attractive because they have no self-doubt. They hear the phrase “clothing optional” and rejoice in the freedom of nudity. The nudists are those humans that don’t concern themselves with the judgments of others. Now, before you assume that all of these nudists, to whom I refer, fit into some societal standard of beauty check yourself. The majority of the naked people that I’ve seen at these resorts would never be asked to grace the cover of a magazine. However, they were the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen because they found themselves attractive enough to not be concerned by the opinion of others.

The never-nudes were the odd balls. Walking through a group of naked people with your clothes on highlights your insecurities. There are many places you can visit with clothing requirements. Why make the journey to a place (that’s not easy to find) just to leave your clothes on? One person even wore a sweater… in August. This person wore a goddamned sweater! How did it affect me? It didn’t. I just found it confusing. Being beautiful begins (and ends) with self-love. Have you started to love your body yet? Have you taken the time to celebrate your naked and lovely body in the mirror? Well, maybe it’s time that you found yourself sexy. Just a thought.