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Column: Love your body parts

Tanya Ryan's monthly column #LightSideUp
Tanya Ryan 2
Tanya Ryan, Light Side Up

All of us – but especially women.

We need to stop.

We need to stop making those small underhanded self-deprecating remarks about our bodies. Even the ones where we’re joking – because ultimately, we’re not joking. Our poor little bodies hear our own criticism through the thin veil of ‘humour’ and buy into our own sales pitch hook, line and sinker.

Besides. No one hears these remarks and thinks, “ha-ha-ha you’re so funny.”

These self-deprecating remarks – no matter how light or well intended will leave another woman considering her own insecurities, flaws and perceived physical deficits. It’s crazy to me how many women are unhappy with the way they look. I mean, of course I understand it as I also fall into that statistic… but it makes me so sad.  Because when I look at you – my friends, sisters, the women I love so dearly. I don’t see your physical ‘flaws’. I don’t look at you and think you need to drop a few or that your hips aren’t’ in proportion with your chest.

I am preoccupied by appreciating your beauty and your drive; or admiring your wit, or I’m in awe of your talent and intellect.

There are so many reasons making healthy choices should be a priority for us – and the most unimportant of those is the number, which represents the calculation of our body mass’s gravitational impact on the earth’s surface. We are so much more than this. However thin, fat, muscular, broad shouldered, widehipped, skinny armed, pudgy bellied, flat butted…. Please stop voicing these traits as something you are ashamed of, or lacking, or have too much of. You have so much more to offer than a juicy booty. (Also your butt is rad no matter the concavity/convexity.) One of my favourite yoga teachers is my favourite because I have never once heard her say a negative thing about herself or her body. I’m sure she has the same insecurities as anyone else, but she exudes confidence in exactly who she is. She is gloriously weird and completely unapologetic for being so. She is beautiful, healthy, and so active – and also, she doesn’t have a six-pack, the girl likes a good meal. She embodies so much of what I want to be. A person who is completely in love with every part of who she is.

Why are my rolls something I’m ashamed of – but on my nephew they’re adorable? Why can’t I too revel in my own adorable squish factor? I am so done with this. I refuse to let following generations of girls and women continue to confuse themselves with the misconception that fitness, a mindful diet, and an active and healthy lifestyle are all pursued purely in effort to maintain a particular measurement of their physical body. Thin isn’t a talent, a gift, or a characteristic of the elite. It’s also not a crime. Similarly, fat isn’t ugly or shameful. I am making healthy choices because my body deserves my love. I’m eating vegetables because they’re delicious. I’m active because it’s fun.

I make healthy choices because my body, mind, visceral heath, and the quality of my life are important to me.

Tanya Ryan is a local singer/songwriter with an appetite for life and learning. #LightSideUp is for the candid exploration of everyday life, events, emotions, and stories with the intention of finding the lessons and teachings buried in the normalcy of daily living.