Today is week 31 of #TWmemorymondays where I share a memory of mine and paint inspired by it. This one is an extension of week 29 where I talked about body image. Watch my full process via today's instastory!
Growing up I hated my body and I always felt like I was too big (like most girls do, sadly). When I was a junior in high school I remember this one memory SO vividly. Someone came up to me after church where the highschoolers would hangout. I was wearing this old Navy t-shirt that I loved (it was grey with embroidered florals and a couple sequined appliques) and gauchos (stretchy material pants that were wide legged and cropped). That person was concerned - they asked me if I was ok because I looked anorexic.
It wasn't the first time someone said that to me. And my response was always the same: I was SO flattered. I would tell them I'm fine. Thankfully I didn't suffer from any eating disorder, which is a miracle. Even then I knew it was a twisted response, but it didn't change the fact that I felt so happy that someone thought I was skinny.
That instance of flattery was a "positive" emotional response, but it was just another outcome of how I hated my body. The sad thing is that after highschool, my body image that was tied to my worth got worse in college. That's for another post!
It's so sick (literally - mind, body, soul) to attach my sense of worth to my ever changing/evolving body. My body has been with my through everything and carries me so strongly. Embracing my body is a HUGE part of accepting myself as Chinese and discarding racial shame. Even more than that, if I can't embody self compassion and love, how can I extend that to others??
I shared three practices in my stories, and I'll share one of them to you here. During my day, I try to observe my thoughts. When I think a negative thought about my body (like how my belly isn't flat), I acknowledge that I thought it, and then turn to my belly and say: "You are beautiful and I accept you." Or a simple "thank you." Those negative thoughts happen ALL the time.
And I try everytime to be kind in a specific way. Because my beauty and value isn't defined by being skinny or as white as possible or "perfect" or productive.
All those ways of being "perfect" is so engrained to my body and mind, but I have hope that with tiny steps of retraining it, I will be more free each day. 🙏🏼
#TWmemorymondays: A painting inspired by a memory every Monday of 2018. Connecting abstract art to real life. Week 31/53. 'Skinny' / 8x8 in / mixed media on paper