The women in my life are nothing less than powerhouses. They are community advocates, doctors, entrepreneurs, wives, artists, yogis, teachers and therapists. They face each day as they did the last- with elegant exhaustion.
They maneuver through their daily world of board rooms, aging parents, soccer practices and self-care. They may not always make it look easy, but that only adds to my admiration for them continuing to show up each day. I am blessed to have these women in my life, for they constantly inspire me to show up in my life as well. To keep fighting for a life full of chaos and spaghetti stains and sweat and bliss.
It is out of my love for these incredible women that it equally amazes me how often the topic of diets, food and body shaming continue to dominate our dialogue. Our time is so precious. It takes weeks of precise planning and calendar sharing to schedule an available evening. So why do these cherished gatherings tend to disintegrate to talk of barre classes, thigh gaps and juice cleanses?
For too long we have relied on self-hatred and body shaming as an artificial means of bonding. I’m bored. These conversations are banal and lifeless. They do nothing to lift us up, but instead keep us oppressed and superficial. By continuing these conversations that vibrate so far below our potential, we concede we are not worth more than these physical bodies in which we inhabit, and by which society has deemed the only way a woman’s worth is measured.
Let’s change the context of these conversations. Instead of discussing how many grams of carbs you had for lunch, tell me how that triggers you to feel inadequate. Instead of disparaging your thighs over a glass of Cabernet, tell me who first made you feel like the size of your body determined the size of your worth. Because that has substance. That is you. And as your friend, that’s what I want to fill our phones and our memories with. I want to know you.
To be effectively supportive of one another in this battle, we must also be willing to be bravely vulnerable. To acknowledge and honor our own insecurities, for it is within these reflections that we are able to heal lifetimes of messaging designed specifically for us to despise our bodies. So perhaps the next time a girlfriend starts to body shame, grasp that thread a bit and give it a tug. And find out what depth, connection, and support can be created in the letting go.
We can still be ladies who lunch. But let’s make it worth it.
Author: Jessica Smith
Author Bio: Jessica Smith is the co-founder of Good Vibes Tribe Cincinnati, a grassroots organization committed to overcoming negative body image and empowering individuals through yoga, meditation and community. She is a 200 RYT currently serving as a yoga and mindful meditation facilitator in a prison and juvenile detention center in addition to serving in a shelter for women who have survived sex trafficking and prostitution. Her personal journey towards recovery from an eating disorder and body dysmorphia have empowered her to connect with others with empathy and authenticity. Yoga has allowed Jessica to view her body as a conduit of strength, and it is her passion to serve others in discovering their own strengths. When she’s not on her mat, she can be found experimenting with new vegan recipes, savoring wine with friends, and hiking with her dog, Zoe.