Initially, I planned to write the opening to this newsletter about the many ways that Black women are embracing the soft life. Honestly, I LOVE this for us. Even though we embrace it, that doesn’t mean that we still won’t be impacted by oppressive and racist systems. Perhaps, I’ll explore the nuances of the soft life another time. Now, I am going to discuss something more personal. To be honest, I vacillated on whether to write about this topic. I’m learning to trust myself more so I’m going to do the hard thing.
I am on a journey of coming back to my body after being disconnected for so long. A few months ago, I listened to a Shine meditation podcast called Care for Your Inner Home and it began with the words “I am my own home. My body and mind are where I live.” Those words reverberated to my core. It was both painful and comforting to hear because my body doesn’t fully feel like my home yet. I’m working my way back home after leaving an unhealthy relationship. I worked hard to maintain as much semblance of myself that I could in that relationship. However, after much reflection, the manipulation and gaslighting took a toll on me both emotionally and physically. I often disassociated from my body to cope with everything that I endured.
During this time, I focused my efforts on things that I could control outside of my relationship. One big change that I made involved my relationship to my body. I was overweight and decided to focus on my weight loss journey. Ultimately, I lost ~70 pounds. Two years after the weight loss, I am also still adjusting to my “new” body. Sometimes I look at pictures of myself when I was heavier and I don’t know if I fully felt at home in that body either. My therapist encouraged me to be thankful for all that my old body carried me through in life. She was right—that body carried me both my traumas and triumphs. Now I navigate the world in a new, smaller body. A body that is seen as “more acceptable” by most people in terms of weight (not acceptable in terms of gender, racial background, ability, etc.). I’m still figuring out how to dress this body, be confident in this body and, of course, be at home in this body.
In her book, home body Rupi Kaur says, “After feeling disconnected for so long my mind and body are finally coming back to each other.” It’s been a slow process but I am slowly coming back to myself. Here are a few things that I am doing to feel more connected to my body…to feel more at home:
Moving my body: I’m returning to ways of movement that bring me joy. I recently started attending Zumba and hip hop classes after doing workouts at home for the past two years. I took dance classes as a child so this is something that makes my inner child happy and I’m diversifying my exercise regimen. It’s a win-win!
Meditation: I recently incorporated stretching and meditation into my morning routine. I am in the early stages of this journey but I also give myself grace. I’m enjoying this new practice. I feel more centered throughout the day.
Prayer: I rely on my faith to get me through tough times. This is no different. Prayer helps me feel connected to God and makes me feel more grounded.
Establishing and enforcing my boundaries: As a recovering people pleaser, I’m listening to myself and honoring my needs to feel safe and respected in my relationships. This includes saying no to things that I don’t want to do, determining what behaviors I won’t tolerate and speaking up about how I feel when my boundaries are violated. Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself has become a mainstay in my healing journey.
Listening to what my body is telling me: The body keeps score. I’m listening to what my body is telling me regarding people and situations. How did I feel in my body after interacting with a person? What is my gut saying? These are some questions myself as I lean into being more of what is coming up in my body.
Thank you for receiving my truth. Life can be heavy y’all — may we find love, joy and peace through it all. We’re doing our best!