Before I even begin, let me preface this with one of my core beliefs (and most fortunate of experiences): I firmly believe that the relationship with a sibling is unlike any other. It is imbued with an innate understanding borne of the uniqueness of growing up together (and the years of surviving your family's eccentricities as a unit). There are inside jokes, matched personality traits, and deep, deep loyalty, much of which doesn't require speech (or even eye contact, sometimes) to be shared. Even when there is jealousy or irritation or annoyance, when all circuits are functioning, it's pretty damn magical. At least, that's been my experience. Three times it's been my experience. Cue the deep bow of gratitude to the Universe.
A while ago, I spent an evening out with my siblings, our significant others, and a few of our best friends -- I'm lucky like that. At one point in the evening, I found myself deep in conversation with my younger sister, Alie. Just 2 years my junior, Alie has been through everything with me -- everything. Coloring books and cartwheels in the grass, dress-up parties and rollerblading to Shania Twain, first kisses and puberty (not necessarily in that order), family dysfunction and grief and joy and laughter. She's been through her stuff, I've been through mine. We've been through them together, somehow.
That night, I shared with her a particularly painful interaction with body shame, that nasty little shithead (yeah, I said it). The conversation didn't take many words. What needed to be said was shared through the look in my eyes, the tears welling up in hers. We've both sat with body shame, armed ourselves with self-love and fought our way to the other side.
I didn't need to tell my story. She heard the pain, she knew the pain, she felt the pain, and she loved me through it. No need for words.
As women, sisters that we are, we know that pain. For most of us, I don't need to tell you what body shame feels like, you already know. It might target my thighs and your arms, but the feeling is universal. It's heartache and pain and... not-enoughness.
When I talk with women about body shame, I hear the eff-yeah-I-know-that-pain sad sighs. I see the nodding heads, the heavy slouch of understanding. We know that story.
Most of us, however, are never told stories about body shame's much-more-powerful counterpart: body love. We have no idea what it looks like or feels like to be at home in our bodies. We don't know what it takes to send out the bat-signal for her help or what it might look like for our enoughness to be realized.
Last month, at our first The Irresistible Woman workshop, I stood witness as each of our powerful participants, in turn, met body love face-to-face. They stood in strength and spoke love into their deepest wounds. They shared - out loud - their love for their toes, their hips, their backs, their thighs. Their self-love, spoken aloud, ignited the air around them. And they knew. They knew what it felt like to love their bodies, even for just a moment. Once you've met body love, you never forget her.
Whether it's been a while or you're working on a committed, love-fueled relationship with yourself, you are personally invited to join with other women who are all seeking the same thing. To fall in love with their bodies and their lives. Truly, madly, deeply.