“No good deed goes unpunished.”
This famous quote swum through my head yesterday as I chewed on how to react to a rude, but not uncommon social media comment. I recently shared a personal piece on my Women’s Health blog about my experience with body shaming, how it affected me, and how I deal with those created insecurities through daily empowerment. My hands shook with nerves as I shared the live link. I sat with a whirling dervish of anticipation in the pit of my stomach as I texted my best friend.
From my experience, sharing raw, honest moments can be absolutely amazing, or make you the prime target for a whole case of rotten tomatoes flying fiercely at your face. I’m a warrior for helping others love themselves, but often forget that I need that support just as much as my readers. I pushed send, tried to calm the tiny dancer in my belly, and sat back and waited.
The response was amazing. It turns out my experience is not my own, but shared by all with their own cast of characters. All we need are regular reminders that we are enough and beautiful exactly as we are. That can mean petite, curvy, tall, slender, medium, stout, or extra large. We’ve all been given different vessels for specific purposes, and ideally we treat this vehicle with the utmost respect as we learn how to use it to it’s fullest potential.
Of course, there will always be bullies. People who will misconstrue your good intentions into something despicable and wrong. This happens to me on a regular basis, and this article was no exception. I read a public post I was tagged in that venomously proclaimed NO to me as the face of positive body image in yoga. It linked to my article stating it was media madness, and wanted to know where the larger bodies and bodies of color were?
I’m just going to go there for a moment—I’m 5’2, size 4, blonde and blue eyes. My ancestors hail from the UK and Northern Europe; so that’s why I look the way I do. I understand that there are many blonde, blue eyed petite women in yoga. So many that being a size 4 makes me feel like a monster in a sea of double zeros. Instead of drowning in that sea of comparison and frustration, I made a raft and poured myself a roadie. I happily toast anyone I float by; from the tiniest of tiny, to the biggest of the big. I don’t try to adjust my looks to please others; I allow me to be me.
So back to my main point—I shared a honest story about my experience with body shaming only to be body shamed by a group claiming to create positive body image for all. For all except for anyone who is a size 4 and caucasian, evidently. My disappointment with this public display of hypocrisy and negativity was thick. There was no equality for all in this post—just another excuse to separate people and create a ‘better than’ epidemic. This kind of attitude will kill us and any progress being made towards self love and acceptance.
I chose not to respond directly to the group, because I didn’t want to bring any more light to a group willing to bully and spread negativity. I chose instead to share my experience and a simple anecdote:
When faced with any challenging situation—add color and vibrancy to the world. The world needs more spirit, life, and magic. Color the world with your desire to see change and happiness. Splash it over any darkness or separation. Color it so loudly that we can no longer see differences; just an endless sea of vibrant color where there’s no beginning or end.
photos: Karen Yeoman