| 24 Aug 2003 @ 22:08, by Letecia Layson|
In the very beginning,
the girl-child loves her body.
Women of all ages are doing violence to their bodies and injuring their natural body-intelligence and body-shape. Choosing to treat one's body violently whether through repeated bingeing/starving diet cycles, obsessive exercise regimens, life-threatening starvation, or cosmetic surgery has become customary and even celebrated among American women.
We are outraged by the ancient custom of foot binding and by the continuing custom of genital mutilation and yet in record numbers we are choosing to have our breasts cut open and augmented, our noses broken and reshaped, our wrinkles injected with collagen or botox, our faces manipulated and peeled, and our bodies exercised and starved to death.
Self-loathing trickles down from generation to generation. Our mothers, supported by the culture, passed on the necessity of ornamentalism, the tyranny of the scale, the fear of food, and the dread of aging to us. And, yes, mothers also pass on their self-love, and the forbidden acts it inspires.
While speaking at a church in Delaware, I noticed a lovely thirty-something woman and her family in the front pew. After the service, she approached me. I commented on the loveliness of her gray hair. "I keep it gray for my daughters," she said. " I want them to grow up loving everything about themselves so I've had to be willing to love and accept myself. My actions speak louder than my words to my daughters."
Inspired by a time when women honored the body of the Goddess in their changing bodies, refuse to spend your precious life energy hiding your body, disguising the signs of aging, and keeping the realities of your life a secret. Rather, celebrate the accumulation of your years and wisdom, and the changes in your body and life.
Your forbidden acts are a prayer for your daughters, granddaughters, and nieces. Inspired by you, they will refuse to twist their female bodies out of shape. Supported by you, they will refuse to please others by becoming smaller than they are. Encouraged by you, they will love their woman-bodies through all the seasons of life.
May we all, mothers and daughters, aunts and nieces, nanas and granddaughters, discover the divine within us and love her fiercely. May we honor her face as we look into the mirror. Bless her body as we shower and bathe. Celebrate her life in the telling of our stories. May we face her without shrinking, she is lovely to behold.
Breathing in...I honor the body of the Goddess
Breathing out...in my changing body.
Breathing in...I refuse to use my precious life-energy
Breathing out..disguising the changes in my body.
Breathing in...As it was in the very beginning
Breathing out...may it be now.
Healing Blessings, Patricia Lynn Reilly
* Silver Threads is an excerpt from my new book "The Book of Woman: A Daily Reader of Inspiring Words."