A Window for Our Souls and A Guide for Using It
by Begüm Güven
When I think about the body, some words flow to my mind: identity, expression, powerful silence. “Body” is a soft word. It rolls and rambles in our mouths, leaving a trace of thoughts. Whether we like it or not, it’s our soul’s only home for the rest of our lives. So, we better learn to love it.
As girls, we are raised to be very aware of our bodies. Shape, size, color, smell, we are told that it all matters. And while society’s emphasis on the body is often too much, there is good reason for this focus. Our bodies and how we present and position them say something about us. What we wear and how we treat them, who we hang out with and where we place ourselves. All of these things are a reflection of who we are. The body is more than just flesh. It has big powers of its own, that we can make statements with. It can be so powerful that we might not even feel obligated to speak in order to be understood. We can stand up just by existing. We can show our white, black, brown, yellow, purple bodies to the world if we stand up straight and take some space. It’s our souls’ window opening to the world.
But, as girls, it is critical to remember that while our bodies are indeed “us”, they are only a part and always in service of what really makes each of us unique, our soul. Our bodies are here to serve us. Not the other way around. Too many girls are afraid and ashamed of their bodies. Never wanting to look and always apologizing for them. This must stop. I didn’t always know how to do this. I was so lost in my own body that I was afraid to look at it and take care of it. But one day it hit me: I shouldn’t be afraid of my own body. How absurd to even say this. But it is true. Us girls go through hell every day as we navigate our physicality and society’s neverending judgement. So much of our energy is taken up listening to the poisonous whispers when we could be climbing mountains and conquering worlds. I say it is time for us to stop torturing ourselves. I shouldn’t be an enemy of myself, and neither should you.
So, after years of self observing and learning, I’ve come up with some steps that could also help you to feel better in your own skin. It’s still a work in progress, but here it goes!
Accept what you got. All those little flaws you think that are too big are not big. You are who you are, you are your body and your soul and your flaws and your dreams and your intelligence and much more. So don’t waste your time behind your mirror looking and looking and not enjoying. Because I know that you can find million flaws if I’d ask you to, but you can’t find more time. Do you really want to spend your time and energy in this direction? No is the answer here.
2) Deep Sigh
Treat it like it’s your best friend. Treat it like it’s your dog, literally. Because you make sure your pet is healthy and eating well and getting its exercise, so why don’t you give yourself the same treatment? You deserve it. You don’t need to look a certain way to deserve some pampering. A little pat in the back is enough sometimes. A little more sleep maybe. Turn your ears inside and listen to yourself. Don’t forget to relax!
I have some recommendations for stretching and pampering here. You can watch them and incorporate them in your daily life:
3) Get a Hobby
Treat your body like a project because at some level, it is. And just like your hobby or your work, there are ups and downs with your body. Sometimes things are great and so easy. And sometimes, not so much. But isn’t the hard work what makes it all worth it? Be proud, show the world what you have made. Love and accept your body as a work in progress.
4) Start Bedazzling
Feeding, exercising, sleeping, that is all a bit boring. So have fun where you can — fashion! Don’t be boring. Don’t worry about what blah or blah say you should wear. You do you. Just look at magical Tavi Gevinson. She always dressed for Tavi and made sure her voice was heard.
You need to respect yourself and your body if you want people to respect you as a whole. If you want to stand for yourself and your beliefs, you physically need to stand up straight and feel good in your own skin. You can’t abandon it, so use it wisely. Don’t let anybody else use your body in any way. Don’t let anyone impact you without your permission. Have fun with it but, always on your own terms.