Body Talk: Meagan Henry
Welcome to Body Talk, an S-Life series where we will be fearlessly opening this portal of communication about self-love, self-deprecation, and touching on anything and everything in-between.
The aim here is not image-making, or perfection-seeking. Rather, it is image-wrecking, perfection-shattering, and infinite-purpose discovering in order to peel back the layers of the images we have each built of ourselves and who we are suppose to be, in faithful anticipation that we may unearth the absolute Love and Beauty that we have always been, and always will be. We each have unique bodies, and unique stories to tell. Here, we will be telling ours, in faith that you will be encouraged to tell yours. So without further hesitation, may we introduce to you, The #SakaraBodyTalk of:
Meagan Henry, Editorial Assistant at Sakara Life
I am probably the most private person you will ever meet. But I am that way for a reason…I don’t want you to get to know me. I’m scared to let you see me. Why? Well, it’s not your fault…you did absolutely nothing wrong. I won’t let you see me, because then you’ll see my scars. You’ll see the scars on my arms from when I was so miserable in my own body, anything felt better than actually being in it. You’ll see the scars on my back and stomach from where I’ve had countless numbers of beautiful, heritage-bonding freckles and moles shaved off for evidence of squamous cell cancer. Or you’ll see the scars on my face from the occasionally very painful and always downright embarrassing cystic acne I’ve battled against for longer than I wish was real life. If I let you get too close to me, you’ll see the exact same things that I have been ignoring for a decade plus a dozen years.
And this is exactly how and when I feel the WORST in my body! When I am closed off and clearly hiding something from those that love me best, I feel energetically dark, and super blocked up. Like my body is made of rocks, or something. When I was in early middle school I was thinking about ways to protect my skin from getting worse; starting with the moles and ending now with the acne. From such a young age, my headspace has been consumed by, ‘What IS it that’s going to fix this delicate part of me that the rest of the world first sees?’ I still think this! Just not as much.
Weight has never been the all-consuming issue of my mind (really, skin as been #1), but that’s not to say that it hasn’t been an issue at all. It certainly has. I was born blessed with super lean genes and a ravenous appetite (like, mind boggling ravenous). And up until college, I actually shamed myself for being too skinny. I hated the way nothing for growing girls fit my limbs. I sometimes wore up to three pairs of Soffe shorts (lol remember those?) under my jeans just to make it look like I had real legs. I stayed far away from anything strapless after being called “too bony” by an older woman I really admired. I couldn’t fathom wearing heels with dresses, as I hated the way my knees poked out off my “chicken legs”.
I was, more or less, a professional Irish dancer before I even hit puberty. I out ran, out plank-ed, out rope climb-ed, and out nearly everything-ed the boys in my 6th grade P.E. class. Dancing made me strong, and purposeful. It made me graceful and creative. Dancing was was my passion and my life and where all my extra energy went to. When I quit (it was that, or school — I still ask myself why I chose school…), my relationship with my body took a fast decline. I began to doubt it’s worthiness to win, it’s worthiness to succeed, and after a gut-wrenching heartbreak, it’s ability to be loved. I crippled over and consciously told myself that I wasn’t worthy of love, and that
it was time to start denying myself of everything that filled me with purpose, and made me happy. First on that list was good, rich, body and soul fueling food. This had nothing to do with a desire to lose weight, because “too skinny” I already was. It was about letting myself fall victim to what I believed I was worth. And at the time, that was nothing. So nothing is what I fed myself. And during times that I did finally feed my body and soul what they cried for, that self-sabatoging voice inside felt guilty for such pleasure, and I forced myself to throw it up. Whatever made my body feel good, calm and nourished deserved no place inside of me. At least, that was the mind programming I was under...
Since those years, I’ve had to get really real with my own self-worth to dissolve the old programming around what I should and shouldn’t be fueling myself with in mind, in body, and especially in soul. What’s helped get me out of that headspace? 1) The simple, and incredibly freeing realization that my skin and bones are most definitely NOT the first thing that the world sees of me, and 2) Surrounding myself only by those that I have a mystical attraction to, because it's these people that may never even notice the things that I scrutinize as "flawed". The very first thing that these people see of me is the deep love and humility that I bring into a room. They see something that goes beyond my body and it’s scars. When people started to interact with me metaphysically, rather than superficially, it got me to thinking: if there really is something to me that goes beyond skin and bones, then I must be that, right? I started studying up on how to find her. I wanted to meet her again, talk to her again, feel her again…BE her again.
So last year, I sat down to meditate for the first time, and haven’t stopped nearly a day since. And THAT is when I feel BEST in my body — when I am finally fully present in it! When I am finally the love and the warmth inside of my skin, rather than just the scar left on top of it. By tuning in now, I am able to connect with my highest good, and a voice that I can (finally) trust to nourish me and those around me. With the obsessive, ‘How can I fix this?’ voice, I don’t trust anything it says, and it’s so easy to tune out in order to escape it. When I look without, instead of within, my world is a never ending search for the elusive answer.
Years of tuning out and physically covering up left me with nothing but loose change from too many fix-it creams, whole body fatigue from working / partying too hard in attempt to ignore aforementioned self-worth, and hurting heart after hurting heart from too many sad affairs with one too many unlikely lovers. Once I tuned in, I knew I deserved better.
So I began treating myself better — starting with actual body and soul fueling food, and with who I let in. I went through a beautiful few months of complete existence cleansing. I didn’t follow any rules per se, I just began allowing myself to fiercely gravitate towards only that which nourished me, because that’s what I deserved! This just happened to include a shit ton of plants and herbs, and people who respect their healing powers as much as I do. I naturally gave up on animal products, found myself super stoked to wake up before the Sun for yoga, and found my heart completely healed, nearly over night, just from getting back in touch with what true love feels like in my skin.
I can’t sit here and tell you that I feel my best 100% of the time, so I’m going to sit here and tell you that I am doing my best to be more conscious of when that distrustful voice speaks up. I deal with it metaphysically, rather than physically now. I can choose the thoughts that get to fill my mind. I can surrender to who I’ve been (which was just a hurting little girl!) and I can forgive her for not knowing any better, and just seeking to be loved. And now I know, she is so, so loved. Especially by the one that matters most: me!