The following post is written by Danielle Braun Kaufmann (RCC) lead therapist at Repose Therapy
The majority of the years I’ve lived on this planet I would have refused to post a picture like this. I would have criticized my belly, legs, saggy boobs, why did I put my hand there or turn like that. I had bought into all the myths that women are feed about their bodies and their space in the world.
My outside may have been smaller, my presentation more perfected. But my insides we’re aching in their confinement. My anxiety and depression masked yet leaking out. My shame gnawing at me daily to keep it together and not let others see the extent of my pain.
A long time ago I started working really intentionally on changing these internal narratives and transforming the impact of my childhood pain. Over time anxiety, depression and shame shifted to curiosity and compassion, but still I felt the need to stay small in some ways. Physically, mentally, emotionally, even spiritually.
This summer I’ve been going through my clothes. The size I have worn most of my life (besides the ups and downs of pregnancy) no longer fits me. I’ve been hanging onto these pants thinking “I’ll be that size again, I should keep them”. Before I left for the weekend I held up a pair of those pants and thought “this size was my identity for a long time, what else made up my identity when I wore these?” Then I was flooded with all the memories, experiences and ways that I kept myself small. I put energy into keeping myself small on the outside AND the inside, and it hurt me. It hurt so much to stay so confined.
In that moment I realized I can choose in a new way to not buy into that identity anymore. I don’t have to be that person. I’m not that person, I haven’t been for a long time.
Who I am instead, is someone who can choose to take up space in the world. I will take up more space with my body, with my mind and heart. It will be awkward space, imperfect space, and confident and creative space. It will be strong solid space and tender emotional space. I’ll continue to use the space of my voice and my presence without shrinking back.
As I near my 40th birthday I will embrace the largeness in all of me.