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Hi there,

How are ya? Hope your week is off to a sweet start!


Last year I submitted an article for consideration to a spiritual publication that focuses on bringing wise and mindful living to the world. A cornerstone of their work is acceptance in all forms.
 

Or, it turns out, not quite all forms.

When I spoke with the lead person in the department, she totally understood why body acceptance is important, crucial even, for people of all shapes and sizes. We swapped stories and had a wonderful conversation. I felt hopeful.

Later, though, I heard back from her with some questions from her colleagues. Like, “what about people who still want to diet?” and “is this really healthy?” Now, questions like these don’t rile me. I hear them constantly, and they’re good and valid questions. Society has set us up to believe that the only acceptable thing for bigger-bodied people to do with their bodies is get rid of them, so I’m not too surprised when those questions crop up. I shared that I think of body acceptance as weight neutral: It’s not about changing your body or not changing your body, but rather being with where it is and acting on its behalf with kindness, the results of which will look different for every person.

What was, if not surprising, at least disheartening, was the sad tone of her voice when she shared that her colleagues were anything but weight neutral. Later, when the piece was rejected, I heard her regret that while the organization advocates acceptance in general, this particular kind (body acceptance for people whose bodies don’t fit the accepted norm) wasn’t going to fly.

I took the rejection well. It’s part of writing, and I know that every piece is not a good fit for a host of reasons for every place.

But I spent quite a while feeling so disappointed that this publication I admire, renowned for advocating spiritual wisdom, chose to reject the wisdom of accepting curvy bodies. Because it is that: wisdom. This process made me question that for a bit, and even, for a fleeting moment, want to go back to them thin and ask again. But then, as I wrote in my journal, I thought: screw that. It’s not wise to conform to a mainstream system just to win the approval of that system.

It’s expected. It’s required for societal approval. It’s demanded by those with power. But I wouldn’t call it wise.

This shows me how far we still have to go, even in our supposed ally communities of meditation, spirituality, etc. (and yes, even yoga). Because true acceptance can’t only apply to the present moment and not our present body. Only to big feelings and not big bodies. Only to the breath itself and not the body the breath gives life to.

Rejecting acceptance for fat bodies is rejecting fat bodies. And saying acceptance isn’t for us, or is only for us if we lose a predetermined amount of weight, is yet another form of fat prejudice that reifies shame.

And if there’s one thing I won’t accept: it’s that.  

Yours in our continued work -- 

 



 

 
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