On January 27th comes the one year anniversary of the first Body Pride. I often remind myself of where I was a year ago, tangled in a web of clothing and apprehension amidst a society-induced fear of the harm my own naked self could do. I remember the awe and admiration I had for the women involved in the Bodysex Workshop documentary and how friggin’ ballsy they all were. I remember the continuous narrative going on in my head trying to find out why this was ‘ballsy’, why the connection to my own body why so terrifying that I considered it ‘ballsy’ to allow myself, let alone other people, to see it.
Body Pride is definitely something that challenges you (literally). I cannot remember the amount of nerves I had racing through my body every time I announced to a room that it was the time to undress. But it was within seconds that I was washed over with warmth and love from every person in the room who also stepped forth and allowed themselves to be seen.
It is healing to see each other as we are. I think it is not the confirmation to know that we are ‘good enough’ or ‘bad enough’ but just to have that all encompassing truth that we all exist within each other.
I went to a Winter Solstice in 2010 in a yoga studio in Toronto. There were about 50 women in that room ranging in age from 10 – 60, all wearing white, sitting in a circle. Two things we did that evening remain with me:
1. We all wrote down on a piece of paper the things we could do without from the past year, all the anger we may have had, all the injuries or sickness, all the addictions or reliances we had formed. You could share with the circle if you chose, but you did not need to, as you shared, you walked in a circle within the group and then lit your list on fire and let it disappear.
2. Second was writing a new list, of all the things you wanted to welcome into the new year.
It only struck me recently how similar Body Pride is to this, carrying its own form of ritual. When you release and share all of your fears and inhibitions that remain on the surface of your physical self, they find a home in the center of that circle, along with the confessions of the rest of those within the circle. You know that your fear is other peoples fear, and that your guilt or shame is met with others guilt and shame. And with the acceptance and love and joy that prevails over these stories comes the start of healing.
I was scared, too. To all of the girls brave enough to conjure the courage to say the unsaid. There were many moments when I revealed something I had never told anyone, and I was shaking on the inside about the judgment that was about to be hurled at me… But it never came… And once it was said, I never thought about it again.
But the most important part was the dancing. It’s as if all of the things shared were released from our bodies officially as we shook and swayed and jumped and sung. This was when all of the joy washed over me and I was witness to so many people overcoming a barrier and let themselves fall into all encompassing relief and happiness.
I think I accidentally stumbled onto a practice that is embedded in our history as women. This urge to get back to the roots of ourselves and our bodies, to wash away the shame and fear and hate that has been written upon our physical selves since we we born and actually take pride in the fact that our bodies are amazing. We are capable of growing life within us. We are capable of withstanding the pain of childbirth (without the aid of medicine and doctors). Our bodies are literally connected to the cycles and rhythms of nature.
I just wanted to share how starting these workshops has effected me in a very real, very intrinsic way. I hope that we can continue to share these incredible bonding experiences with everyone who feels compelled to join us, regardless of gender. The Body Pride movement has unleashed a whole new form of love and connection within me and I am so glad to have been able to share these experiences with all of the men and women who have attended one of our workshops.
Let’s hope this year brings just as much naked awesomeness!