I clearly remember the first time someone made me feel real body shame.
I was 15 years old. I was at a quinceañera, and it was late at night at the party. A very obnoxious and popular guy who I knew from school decided to pull my pants down in front of a group of other people.
I was humiliated.
And that was the beginning of the shame I had about my body. Real shame about being a woman.
About having an ass, having thighs, having thoughts that I wanted to share.
The body shame converted itself into the taking up space shame.
What self esteem I had took a steep dive. I couldn’t speak in public. My face would turn beat red, my throat would close up and I would feel shaky. So how did one brave little girl lose herSELF and turn into a fumbling self-conscious walking apology?
For many years the voices inside of me that told me I wasn’t good enough won. I began to participate in my own objectification.
I was on a constant treadmill of self-loathing. I spent a lot of time shopping. I spent a lot of time dissecting my looks, hating my body.
I played the good girl bad girl game about food, diet and exercise. I became that voice I heard externally that told me it wasn’t ok for me to take up space. Who I was at my core wasn’t ok.
Unzipping the Straightjacket of Shame
As I got older, I had to fight for opportunities. I had to survive with the voices inside of me that were holding me back for so long.
Eventually I started to figure things out. I took the power away from those who had a hold over me. I understood that being a strong woman was sexy. Through my work I gained self-esteem. Eventually I turned my sadness and hopelessness into anger. I found my voice, I found my power.
I started to fight back by taking care of myself.
Why would you blog about something so personal?
Now that I’m older I care more about helping other women fight for their rights to take up space more than I care about being judged. I know who I am and what I stand for. I don’t stand for a society that is violent against women.
I want this world to be a safe, gentle and nurturing space for all girls, for all women. Whether if it’s at school or at work or at home or at the college party, I want all women to feel safe.
Today I want women to rise up and get angry. I want women to question the way they are compliant participants in their own objectification. I want women to think twice before poisoning their bodies with chemicals including diet food pills alcohol or other drugs.
It Happens More Often Then You Hear About: Violence Against Women.
I was at a recent performance of The Vagina Monologues. After the performance we were asked to stand if we had personally incurred sexual or physical violence. I couldn’t believe how many women stood–at least 30% of the room. Then we were asked how many of us knew someone who had incurred sexual or physical violence. Nearly 75% of the room stood. I was shocked.
1/3 women will incur sexual or physical violence in her lifetime. The violence has to stop.
The global change that needs to happen has to start inside. The change has to shift within our core.
We have to start saying yes to ourselves and no to forces that manipulate and control us through shame. We have to start loving our asses, loving our thighs and loving our thoughts.
Shame sits deep in our unconscious, manifesting itself in throughout our adulthood.
When we’re afraid to speak in public, afraid to ask for our worth at work, afraid to leave an abusive boyfriend or spouse, or tell our boss they way they speak to us is not ok–we are letting shame win.
I encourage you to take 20 minutes to watch Brene Brown’s 2nd Ted Talk. It could be life changing for you.
Brene Brown, reknown shame researcher tells us shame is highly correlated with addiction, depression, bullying, anger, suicide, and eating disorders. So many of us suffer in silence.
The silence is overshadowed by shaming that happens every day toward women on our screens, at work and in our relationships.
Because of the constant shaming we have become disconnected from our feminine spirit. We’ve shut her down to avoid further pain and rejection.
I want women who are still suffering with feelings of shame–women who are hiding, to understand that you are not alone. That we are all much stronger than we think we are, and together we are going to rise up against this violence, in a powerful and wise way–and we are going to win our girls back. We are going to win ourSELVES back.