This one can be a quick brainstorm for most of you–it’s the second step that will take more time.
Make a list of ten things you would like to do if you had your ideal body that you aren’t doing now. Most of us do have a picture in mind of what our ideal body would look like–plus or minus x pounds, minus the scar, with a little more or less height, younger/older, different hair or features–and we imagine we’d be more confident and take more risks or do different things if we looked like our ideal image.
In the case of illness or loss of certain abilities this can be more challenging, of course. There are literally some things you may not be able to do.
Step 2 is to pick one off the list and do it, and continue on down the list. As I said, that may be more complicated if you are ill or have become disabled. You may still be adjusting to things you really used to do and just can’t any more. You may have to look at the spirit of each thing and see if you can come up with a new or modified activity that has that same spirit.
Perhaps you have adjusted to what you are able to do but hold back because you worry what people will think of you. A good example of this is the nurse with the prosthetic leg on the show Hawthorne who is afraid to start dating.
Maybe you need to take baby steps. In the above example, this nurse might start by buying a dress that reveals her legs, even the lower half. She might wear it around her home and get used to feeling exposed. Eventually she might wear a dress to a staff party or out with a friend or group of friends. After awhile, she might finally get up the nerve to go on a date. Dealing with fear is tricky and baby steps can help you adjust a little at a time to the risk you are taking.
You can write your list down on paper or share it here if you’d like. You might find your list overlaps with the lists of other women. Maybe you can offer each other support in tackling it. Perhaps your real life friends would do this exercise with you and you can work on doing these things together.
Some things I remember from my original list were to swim and dance in public. I do remember that I worked through my list and it led me to places I hadn’t even thought of. For instance, I went skinny dipping with my girlfriends and enjoyed a public hot tub–nude. Both experiences were very affirming and enjoyable and not at all scary, but I’d never have guessed if I hadn’t started with my list and gotten used to swimming in a suit where others could see me. Eventually I worked up to being a nude model and I have some of the art from those sessions.
So put a toe in the water, so to speak, and come up with your list!
Tapati McDaniels is a freelance writer who started a forum designed to meet the needs of former Hare Krishna devotees at http://www.gaudiya-repercussions.com.
She is working on a memoir and her personal blog can be found at http://tapati.livejournal.com.
- Connecting The Dots: Patriarchy Across Cultures (Intro.)
- (1) Living in the Material World
- (2) Summer of Transcendental Love
- (3) All Things Must Pass
- (4) Over The Rainbow
- (5) Magic man
- (6) I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)
- (7) I Will Lay Me Down
- A Lifetime Commitment: Initiation
- From Generation to Generation
- No Turning Back
- Vegetarian for God
- (8) What It’s Like To Sing The Blues
- (9) When the Levee Breaks
- I Have Won
- (10) Hard Day’s Night
- (11) Family Affair
- (12) Cat’s In The Cradle
- (13) Smiling Faces
- (14) Kung Fu Fighting
Tapati’s Body Image Workshop: