Body Image Body Shame exercise

Shame Game

credit: Fybrid
credit: Fybrid

I tweeted:

working on a post about weight and shame. Got any thoughts?

It did not take long for the responses to start flying through, and man, they were tough, and honest and real. And then I deleted everything I had written and started from scratch.

A guy said: “I feel shame and then I eat.” The cycle is complete here, because he then said that the shame for eating leads to more eating, and that probably surprises no one.

She said: “it’s not just an issue for heavier people.” She went on to tell me that people say they hate her because she’s so skinny, though she is desperate to maintain a higher, healthier weight. They tease her because bra shopping is difficult, and they say they are jealous because she can shop in the kids’ section. In essence, they are piling guilt on top of her very real shame, without even thinking twice.

Because we all know that skinny equals good. At least in America.

Another woman reported that her shame comes from a lifelong struggle with disordered eating. Only in treatment did she begin to recognize these shame triggers.

Still another woman told me she hides food, a remnant pattern from childhood. She is ashamed for being chubby and for eating junk. She said that she is often embarrassed by her eating, even when she’s alone.

The mama bear in me wanted to scoop up these lovely people and take away their shame.

I can’t.

It’s just not within my power. I cannot gather up bags of heartache or pain like dead leaves on a lawn. I cannot light fire to the secret hurts we inflict on ourselves, daily. I cannot change your inner monologue, because I am trying to fight off my own.

I’m too big. I’m too slow. I don’t look like a runner. I am fat and gross and why would anyone love me. These are the tips of the weapon I whip at my bare soul. Yours might be: I am skinny, and bony and worthless.

They are linked, weight and shame. Whether it is too many or too few pounds, or even just the right amount as reported by the runway model who knows she won the genetic lottery

My dream, for myself and for those of you who know of what I speak, is that we can take the sting of shame out of this process, out of this dialogue. That we can begin to see ourselves with fully working lenses, lenses that show not just the numbers of bust, waist, hips, pounds, but the crooked smile, the goofy laugh, the passion for whatever. That we can approach the shame, stare it down, send it to the corner where it belongs, and get about the business of being our fabulous, whole, fat, skinny, slender, big boned, small boned, selves.

How do you kick your shame in the teeth? If you don’t, but want to, how will you?

6 Comment

  1. For the first time in a long time I gave something up for Lent this year. I wanted to celebrate this season by giving up something and adding something else. For 40 I am giving up the scale and adding some self-kindness. It has been far more difficult than I expected.

  2. Love this. But man, is it tough! Shame is a killer – it kills dreams, it kills self-confidence, it kills intimacy. Sometimes I speak to it out loud – and surprisingly, it helps. “Where are you coming from?” “You are confusing me with someone else.” “Get thee behind me!”

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