My body war

Darling,

Let’s say you were making a drawing of yourself.
And it was a drawing of how much you listened to your head, versus your body.
What would the drawing look like?
Would it be a giant head with a tiny body attached?
Or a giant body with a tiny head?

Like most women, I was raised to hate my body.
To discount and overlook her.

Here is proof that the campaign was effective: My nickname when I was in 6th grade, and moved to a new school, was Alice the Goon.

Alice the Good on YouTubeAlice the Goon

1.) A profoundly unattractive female member of a fictional aboriginal people called “the Goons,” featured in the old “Popeye” cartoons. Alice had a squiggle for a mouth and a flowerpot for a hat, and wore a grass skirt, of sorts. She fancied Popeye as a love interest, but Popeye wanted nothing to do with Alice, understandably. However, she was much larger and stronger than Popeye (when he was sans spinach, anyway), and she would pick him up and croon, in a robotic monotone, “I love Popeye. I love Popeye,” while he struggled to get away.

2.) A term used to describe an unattractive female.

I was living and breathing every girl’s nightmare.
I had braces, wore large, heavy orthopedic shoes, had a storm of pimples, my formerly bone straight hair had started to frizz, and “awkward” was my inner symphony.

I gotta say, this memory makes me sweat.
I know some part of me has never recovered.
I agreed to be called “Alice the Goon” because I was so hungry for approval at my new school.  Just being noticed by the cool kids was a step up for me.
And I was completely out of control as to how to find my way home.  Wherever “home” was.  My body was my not my ally, it was more like my enemy.

But what girl makes it to 6th grade, middle school, high school, college, without feeling disenfranchised from herself, her body?
And – hello – what woman does not feel alienated from her true power, strength and beauty?
For some women, age, and the attending wrinkles, can slash and burn her confidence.
For other women, an extra 5-15 pounds can completely pull her off her game.
Dimpled skin, a fact of a life well lived, can make a woman never want to go to the beach again.

Welcome to the unbearably hostile conditions of what it means to be a girl, growing into a woman.

And these deeply planted points of view have a huge impact in a woman’s life.
They act like giant invisible and impenetrable barriers between a woman and her most deeply held desires.

We think:
If I was only 5 pounds thinner, I could have the man I wanted.
If I were 10 years younger, I might have gone for that promotion.
If I were prettier, I would have been married and had a baby by now.

Women have no idea that they are hot. (Click to tweet!)
And irresistible.
And magnificent.
And worthy.
And filled with beauty and divinity.

Unless they open a new doorway, and choose a new practice.
I never knew there was another option for me, besides being Alice the Goon.
Because my inner viewpoint was being reflected in my outer world, I marched willingly towards my outcast fate.
There was no one to talk to.
Almost every girl I knew was in some version of this purgatory.
And it is not different for my daughter, today.

A girl, a woman, who does not trust her own body, or her own beauty, is powerless in every area of her life.

This is something we can no longer tolerate, as women.
It is time to wake up, to rise up, to take action that will deliver a different outcome.
Body hatred equals powerlessness.
When you teach a woman to not trust her body, you teach her to be a victim for her entire life.

This was why I started the School of Womanly Arts.
I had a daughter, 16 years ago, and I was unwilling to stand by, and let an unconscious culture steal her life force.
I needed to awaken myself, and an entire culture of women, from a 5,000-year-old legacy of self-hatred.
We have no time, Sisters.
Generations of women are being wasted in a legacy of thigh hatred, flab loathing, age avoidance, and other empty, life-draining pursuits.

This very second, right here, right now, as your eyes grace this page, is a moment.
An opportunity for change, for transition.
No matter how filled with body-loathing you have been, you are.
You, we, can choose another way.

It is time.  Now.
To remind women of the truth about ourselves.
To re-member us to our bodies, our beauty, our perfection.

Unless we begin to actually practice beauty, beauty does not exist.
And the way to practice beauty is to practice The Womanly Arts.
Why?
Because practicing The Womanly Arts will connect a woman to the simple pleasure of being her.
The experience of feeling delicious creates beauty.
And how do we feel delicious?
We choose pleasure.
We have to reverse the equation we have been handed.
It is not the outer that generates inner beauty.
It is feeling delicious inside that creates outer beauty. (Click to tweet!)

This is what we spend 6 months investigating and practicing in The School of Womanly Arts Mastery Program.
Which starts in March.
Let’s practice right here, together, right now.

In the comments below, I want you to describe the body part, or parts, that you have been taught to hate.  And what that body hatred has kept you from experiencing in your life.
For example: “I am awkward and clumsy and flat-footed, with bad skin, and I try too hard, and I know that no one will ever love me for who I am, so I don’t even try to date.  Why bother?  Men only want women who have it together.”
And then I want you to send a little body love your own way.
How?
Write a tiny tribute to your body.

Let us all hear a brag about how your amazing magnificent perfect body has served you in some way.
For example: “I love my awkward, clumsy, shy, body.  She is so beautiful in the way she yearns.”
As if we could reach into the past and give our inner “Alice The Goon” the love she deserved all along.
When we transform the legacy of body-hatred, even just for a moment, we transform it not only for ourselves, but for the girls of today, the women of tomorrow.

I look forward to reading your comments and feeling all the body love we can release, together, which can only happen in a community of support and sisterhood, like this.

With so much love and pleasure,

mama-gena-sig-180px

  • 59 Comments · Leave One

{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer December 10, 2013 at 9:14 am

Just yesterday I was at the gym. I was seethingly mad about former boyfriend and very unfocused. Directly in front of me was the sign on the wall to not wear street shoes on the machines with a big “thank you” at the bottom. I focused my eyes solely on the thank you and started mentally going through the good anchoring each with the “thank you”. And then I went through each part of my body thanking it and celebrating it with that same “thank you”! Eyes to toes and then organs, cells, tissues. It was absolutely transformative. By the time I got off the bike I was back to my fabulous glowing goddess self. Thank you Mama Gena! Thank you me!

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mama gena December 10, 2013 at 11:16 am

what a workout!! inner and outer, cell changing. wonderful. wonderful. wonderful.

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Deborah Smith December 10, 2013 at 3:12 pm

GPS AWESOME!!! Thank you!

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anoek van praag December 10, 2013 at 9:17 am

(I already get your newsletter and daily fluff) Thanks

Just wanted to share with you that I hated my body so much that when I asked my mother to cut off my breast she let me have the operation………..
I married a man who did not touch me for 22 years and now I am divorced and discovered Tantra
I love my body, sex is the most delicious thing in my life and I am with a man who loves ALL of me
What is important is that the love for my body sparked a creativity I did not think possible
much love to all
anoek

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mama gena December 10, 2013 at 11:18 am

this is so very powerful, anoek. my favorite line? “the love for my body sparked a creativity I did not think possible” wow.

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Skye December 10, 2013 at 9:22 am

I was always little – the short one – the one who got proofed at the bar because I looked underage. I felt less developed than my friends who all had busts while I had nothing up there. Finally in my 30′s I suddenly realized that looking younger wasn’t so bad and now that I am 55 and people guess my age as 10 years younger I am comfortable in my own skin. I love who I am and what I look like. I have been told by many men that they like my size and prefer petite! I have always struggled with not being able to gain weight. Being too thin is just as frustrating as being overweight but people don’t understand that. I am doing zumba on a regular basis (love the beat!) and it’s helped me to build muscle and increase my appetite. I have finally been able to like how I look with no clothes on. It’s so important to love ourselves both inside and outside and the first step towards that is to not worry about what anyone else thinks!

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RedChilli December 10, 2013 at 9:22 am

Thank you Regena, the body story:
My fiery and at the time when I was a teenager very curly hair made me the target for being called names, Duracell, Pumuckl (a red headed gnome, at least he could make himself invisible and do magic both I would have appreciated very much at that time), my tiny breasts made me feel unattractive and unwanted. Also that the usual colors did not look good on me with my fair skin. I so not matched in with the cool folks.

I am grateful I have embraced my breasts and my hair: I love my beautiful tiny breast they are so hot, sensual and soooo sexy, I need no bras and it is such a wonderful feeling to run around naked not needing any support & having them stand :) . My hair is such a unique color, I love to be a rare real redhead! Wild unruly red hair rocks. My hair is such a joy to play with and that it has its own stubborn way to be. Just like me! Perfect match :)

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Deborah Smith December 10, 2013 at 3:14 pm

You SGRC are my ideal of a BEAUTIFUL woman!!! You are firey and sexy and an all around BABE!! Thank you so much for posting.

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Chantal December 10, 2013 at 6:54 pm

So Glad you are on this journey and that you come to love all of your magnificent self. Love

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Sally January 7, 2014 at 8:18 pm

Oh RedChili, you are so gorgeously unruley and hot!!!

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Stacy December 10, 2013 at 9:51 am

My family made fun of my tiny breasts, so when I was 26 I got implants to be a D cup. I hated them from day one! They were these oranges sitting on my chest; they were not ME. But guess what – when I look back on those breasts I remember how GORGEOUS and PERFECT they were. My family were probably just hating! I got my implants removed two years ago and they’re pretty much the same, though I have some stretch marks from where the old FAKES were – so thankful they’re gone!! I love the way I look now and feel confident where I haven’t in years. I can now wear the beautiful clothes I want to wear without shame and I feel so good. When I find someone to love, I want him to love and accept ALL of me – my C-section scar from my two beautiful kids, my stretch marks from my breast implants that taught me how to love ME and MY breasts, and my Native American nose that I hated for so long but now love because it’s part of my culture, my people, my heritage and because it’s BEAUTIFUL! I won’t settle for anything less than someone who loves all this – and I’ll love all his perfections and imperfections, too.

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Chantal December 10, 2013 at 6:56 pm

Love that you won’t settle for anything less than someone who love all of you.

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Stacy December 10, 2013 at 9:52 am

I meant when I look back on my old, original breasts – the one my Creator gave me – I realize how perfect and gorgeous they were…not the fake plastic ones that caused me so much pain and agony.

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SG Susie December 10, 2013 at 10:02 am

Wonderful post Regena. After all these years of living the Womanly Arts I love my body now so much more often than not. Today I adore the curve of my waist and how it accentuates the deep curve to my hips and unto my breasts. As I got dressed I fell a little in love this morning! xx

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SG Susie December 10, 2013 at 10:03 am

Up to not unto my breasts… delirious with love obviously. :)

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SG Rockstar December 10, 2013 at 10:14 am

Thanks for bringing up this incredibly charged topic. I was in a department store in my local town – probably age 10 or so. The sales lady said quite loudly – “this one goes to the chubby girls department” There actually was a chubby girls department and I went to that area with shame. After two boot camps and one mastery – ready for number two mastery, I can now love my body the majority of the time. At age 64 I am delighted to fall in love with myself !! This is my dream come true – to love me.

Thanks to Mastery – all SG’s and Mama Gena plus my fierce belief that I deserved this feeling. What a gift the Womanly Arts are to this world.

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Ann December 10, 2013 at 10:57 am

I love your name!

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Earth Empress Shakaya December 10, 2013 at 10:24 am

Ugh!
Ouch!
I was called ‘flat as a board and never been nailed’ ‘bucktooth beaver’ etc and felt like the Ugly Duckling growing up…
I thought only lucky girls won the genetic lottery and that I could never be beautiful…
It tortured me!
I’ve always believed a man’s Beauty is his power and a woman’s power is her Beauty.
(that’s deeper than it sounds…!)
I literally travelled the world learning women’s Beauty secrets which I share in ‘Naked Beauty.’
I discovered radiant health was a gateway and beginning of embracing Beauty for me!
Now I help a world of women to reclaim their health and embody their Beauty.
Thank you darling Mama for this inspired post and love revolution, I’m so with you Xxo

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Donna December 10, 2013 at 10:38 am

Thanks for this blog Mama! It’s so spot on for me!

I hated my stomach. I was convinced that my stomach and the way it looked was literally keeping me from having deep connected love. I believed that the way my stomach stuck out was literally the barrier between me and men, the barrier between me and love, that it set the bar for what I could have and what I could attract.

Once I realized what lies I’d been telling myself, I SWEAR men started coming out of the woodwork. I found myself attracting men of all ages and nationalities. I have let go of the belief that I am not desirable. In fact, I’m probably at my highest weight ever and feeling more sexy and more powerful and more attractive than ever.

The Sister Goddess community was KEY to this transformation. I always feel beautiful and seen and lit up around my sisters.

And my belly, ahhh my belly- I still have my days with it, but I feel a deep love and compassion for it and I celebrate my Rubenesque body!

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Erica December 10, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Thank you, Sister Donna. I still feel that my belly is the barrier between me and the men that I want. I am so encouraged to read that by loving it, instead of resenting it, I can begin to see things open up for me. Thank you so much for sharing this and inspiring an ah-ha moment for me. xo

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SG Jill is MAGIC December 10, 2013 at 11:16 am

Oh Regena, what a beautiful and touching post. I believe we all carry around that tormented middle school awkwardness and misery and it is does take A LOT of practice to heal, i can testify. I was such an adorable child with a little button nose, then at puberty, I morphed into some unfamiliar angular thing, my nose grew long and had a bump on it…plus I was completely flat chested while my best friend was the perfect California girl with blond hair and boobs. I remember asking my dad at age 14 if I was as pretty as my friend…he said: she is more traditionally pretty but you are more interesting. That happened to be the year A Chorus Line came out – I’m sure you know that song “At the Ballet”, with the line “different is nice but it sure isn’t pretty”? that song can still make me cry in a heartbeat and it pretty much sums up the story I told myself for a long time.
I could never see my Beauty. Oh how I longed for it though, and I was waiting for a man to decree it to me. I thank my inner rebel for Not getting a nose job when my mom told me at 16 that i would be more beautiful if i had the bump removed. I thank my best friend for always saying my nose was cool. I thank my obsession with all things French so I could pretend my nose made me look French :)
As I read this post, I was overwhelmed with Gratitude for Maggie, for the power that becoming a mother to a daughter had on YOU, that it unleashed your power as a teacher and a healer of our deep feminine wounding. I feel so blessed to be a part of the SWA, to learn from you, to be inspired by you, to grow in Sisterhood.
I have come so far with healing my Beauty wounds – I genuinely feel beautiful most of the time now and have made peace with my body. Coming from a culture (and a mom who has been on a diet my whole life) with a mandate to ‘make yourself smaller’, I actually take pride in my curves and in taking up more space (and hey, I never had such awesome boobs when i was a skinny thing, and of course, i never actually felt thin EVER)
Now the next frontier is accepting aging. I feel beautiful, i’m not hung up on the weight trip, I’m hung up on my neck trip. And I am using the tools and loving myself right where I am. I grew up in Beverly Hills and I am not above considering a neck lift – but I’m in no rush – I’ve got too much to do and a long time to be old – so I’m gonna keep going for self love and see if I can come into a different relationship with my neck as I have with my tummy etc.
I brag that I am loving myself and finding myself beautiful even with extra holiday curves. I brag that my body is strong and resilient. I brag that I love my curves and my legs. I brag that I used the tools so that my self love tape is WAY LOUDER than any self-judgement. I brag that once I finally found myself beautiful, every man I’ve dated has told me I’m beautiful (believe me, before making that shift, I attracted man after man who just put me down) – it really is an inside job, and I am grateful everyday that I wake up and feel beautiful, thanks to you XOXO

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Kimberly December 10, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Love your discovery…that it’s an inside job! Thank you for your incredible share dear goddess!

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Joyce December 10, 2013 at 11:18 am

I guess I am the exception. I was always a natural weight. Then I hit puberty and looked womanly. I wa 11 years old, 5’8″, and 36-24-36. The reason I knew this is because I saw women’s measurements in my dad’s Playboy magazines and I measured myself. Because of this I thought I was perfect. So what was the bad part? Because I had this sexy body I received insane amounts of attention from boys AND men. The girls were so jealous they called me Joycey woicey Prostitoicy. Every hour of every day of my life for two years. I was labeled a whore and a slut when I had never even kissed a boy. And for this I’ve had issues with women my entire life. I dimmed my personality and desires so as to not get harassed. This is what brought me to the SWA. Now at 44 I work hard to maintain my gift from God. I’ve had a few periods of being 20 pounds overweight but never hated my body only hated the fat.

When I read your sentence “like most women I was raised to hate my body” that was a total surprise to me I guess because I’ve hardly had female friends and I’ve never been truly part of a female clique to have ever had that discussion and I’ve always had men tell me I’m amazing even now that I’m 48.

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VivienneCygne December 11, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Hello Sister Lovely, I am reading your post and I am crying. I am going to reread it again and again. Straight from the heart. You are really on a good path, keep it up you are worth the time and effort. Bless you Beautiful.

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elide beltram PhD December 10, 2013 at 11:22 am

Amazing how my rebelliousness has helped me survive how others wanted me to feel for me and my body. Raised in a convent where Mother superior would walk around the “cell” silently till midnight to listen for moanings or looking for any movement from our beds. I fought, got expulsed from many schools, shamed, but my feistiness kept me going till I realized the I did not need to be the rebel anymore because I finally I was really loving me and my body and MamaGena helped me with that.

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Kimberly December 10, 2013 at 11:50 am

I feel like I was cursed, blessed, cursed, blessed….I was underweight, shorter than everyone else, with glasses, and a year younger when I entered school. And I definitely wasn’t ready for the meanness that followed….the teasing and the taunting was unbearable. So, I would hide as far away as I could from everyone and daydream. I was always an outcast until my teacher one day said, “you need a friend…and here’s another person who doesn’t have a friend either!” So, I learned that I wasn’t good enough as is and that I didn’t get to choose my friends. Being so tiny and shy…I worried about getting beat up all the time (grew up in a tough neighborhood).

Then a miraculous thing happened in sixth grade I got breast and was in almost every athletic sport…and finally loving my body and how much attention I was now getting from the guys. And then shortly realized that I had a million enemies. All the women that wanted to look like me…hated me and were mean to me. It’s like I couldn’t win. I was awkward, outcast, and nerdy. They hated me. Then I was smart, sexy, active, and outgoing. And they still hated me.

I remember looking at my body in seventh grade and saying this is the best it’s going to get and it’s going to go away. (I have no idea why I would say that to myself? Terrible!)

I always felt repressed by boyfriends always wanted to keep me in baggy clothes, I wasn’t allowed to be in a bathing suit anywhere, my husband wanted to keep me at home for fear I would find someone else.

As an adult, I was working for a tech company and when I started feeling good about my body and owning what I have….the woman would make comments like, “Are you just hot to trot!”….and I would instantly shut down…and stop loving myself and my body.

I’ve put on weight to protect myself from the meanness….I guess I thought if you can’t beat them join them…I started to hate my body…complain about it…and all of it made me miserable.

I’m so looking forward to having a community of women that are loving and supportive!

I’m looking forward to learning to receive and give amazing compliments. : )

My brag is I fell madly in love with someone head over tea kettle….and inside of that….this person loved me so thoroughly that I no longer cared what I looked like in a instant. I didn’t hate my body anymore! Yay!

Now, we are no longer together but I am realizing I can give that to myself. Some days are better than others and my happiness isn’t dependent on whether someone else notices me. It depends on whether I’m acknowledging myself.

I’m hoping it will just keep getting better! (As Christina Aguilera put it)

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SG Jill is MAGIC December 10, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Kimberly!!!!
Welcome to the Sister Goddess Community!!! It is my great pleasure to compliment you – thank you for upriding my post :)
Thank you for sharing your story and for choosing to give yourself the gift of self love. I am 52 and have been working on this a long time, but once I joined the SWA about 2 years ago, it was like sprinkling miracle gro on my process! Check out my blog on Owning my Beauty at http://www.kindeyes.com if you are interested to read more of my journey
XOXO

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Ingrid December 10, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Oh, dear God, reading your blog post, and some of the comments and your comments to them, I realize: I am sitting here, letting other women talk about how they feel, and I will just… “surf” on their words. That is the opposite of taking responsibility! And also, it takes me nowhere except, it helps a little on the way (maybe I will remember it, walking my long walks). But what I mean is, that it is a very typical behaviour on my behalf, to just listen to other women, going through their journey. Today I realized: I rarely share. And especially not about my body! Never! This is highly inappropriate, it is as if I would walk around a buffé, eating the works of other women, but not wanting to participate in making the food nor do the dishes.

So what do I think I should do?
Well, write about – GIVE – my own body, give /donate my story.

Most of all, reading the blog post makes me remember stuff I thought I had been putting away, somewhere deep inside the brain’s unconsious area, locked with a heavy key that I wish I must never ever use. Well, this is the day, for one.

Okay, so as a new teenager at the tender age of 13, I was beginning to become a victim of harsh bullying. I think, it came so slowly, that I couldn’t realize it as it happened! Well, some of the opinions about me, was highly disrespectful towards my body – and by “body” I mean specific area; the inside. The vulnerable psyche. That is a part of a woman’s body as well!

Today I just woke up to the fact that this memory needs a bit of tender & care! Like, questioning every thing I heard about “me”. (Projections, projections…)

Well. More than that will be too much for now!

Blessings,
& healing wishes !

Ingrid.

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Chantal December 10, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Glad you took your turn at speaking. You bring an interesting point of loving the body AND all that it inside it too!

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SG Princess Butterfuck (because all men should say "as you wish") December 17, 2013 at 6:14 pm

So glad you shared for the first time! I wasn’t going to share either, was just “surfing” like you, but now you’ve inspired me to share also….

I have been lucky to be 5’5″, blue eyed, blond and called pretty. Yet STILL I am uncomfortable in a bikini (but not wanting to wear a one-piece because quite simply I get too hot!). So I wore the friggin’ bikini but sucked in my stomach the whole time and wrapped a little sarong when I walk around.

Having a child made my belly and upper legs all the more “middle aged”, but now I don’t try anymore to mask it. I’m too busy having fun and chasing my four year old daughter around the pool. Plus I do NOT want her to see me hiding my body. She likes to watch me put on make-up, and I make sure to always say, “I’m already beautiful; make-up is just for fun, like a costume.” This morning, she said she wanted some “to be beautiful” at school, and I reminded her, “You are already beautiful; this is just for fun.” It’s a tricky balance, making ourselves fancy without teaching ourselves and our children that we doubt our natural beauty.

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SG Debra December 10, 2013 at 12:44 pm

OH MG, what a gift to be able to air our views in a safe, loving protected environment
For some reason, (and I say this, as it is a mystery why I have the negative and positive thoughts about myself to begin with) I have always loved my body….I had small breasts and I loved them, after my daughter they were larger and I loved them.
After breast cancer and many reconstruction surgeries, I still feel positive about my body including my breasts….HOWEVER, it has been a very long time since I have been in a relationship and I am terrified when a man sees my breasts, scars and all it will be a deal breaker.

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SG Debra December 10, 2013 at 12:45 pm

AND MY SG name is Nile Flowing River

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Carousel December 10, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Deal breaker? If a man has a problem with it, then he is not good enough for you! Be patient, Sister. And the man who is perfect for you WILL come along. In the meantime, keep loving yourself more & more each day. I applaud your bravery & determination! Go girl!!!

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SG Jill is MAGIC December 13, 2013 at 10:43 am

Beautiful SG Debra Nile Flowing River,
I was blessed to be in the room when you spoke in Miami and we did meet briefly. You are so delightful and gorgeous. Here’s to you loving your beautiful breasts, scars and all. Are you doing Mastery 2014?? XOXO

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Marie December 15, 2013 at 7:55 pm

I lost one breast and never had it replaced. I met a man who became my lover. He was definitely a breast man. He obsessed and fantasized over breasts, but yet he became my lover. The missing breast and scar were not a deal breaker. Instead, there was more intimacy and a feeling of being accepted and valued for my sexuality rather than my body parts. We had a wild and fun sex life.

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Anita December 10, 2013 at 1:52 pm

My breast began to develop at the expected time, but they never made it past mosquito bite size. I waited all my life to develop decent sized breast, but it never happened. I remember being 30 years old and asking my gyn when they would finish growing in. When he said that was it, I finally had confirmation of what I had refused to believe for the past 18 years – that was it. I was 35 years old and had never allowed a lover to touch my breast, I guest I thought if he did not feel it he would not realize how small they actually are. I now let them get touched, but I it makes me cringe and derive no pleasure from such touching/playing/caressing/sucking.

As I approach my 40th birthday, I no longer hate what I see in the mirror. As I accumulated middle age spread, the byproduct was cleavage!! For the first time in my live, I have cleavage. I now have to decide between slender thighs or cleavage. Both are equally acceptable to me. I am grateful for a healthy body, which I now know means more that anything else. I have to admit that the thought of plastic surgery feels empowering, but I am finally having fun with what I got. So I will see how I feel at 50.

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Goddess Leslie December 10, 2013 at 2:40 pm

When I was visiting home this summer, my mom asked for permission to talk about my weight. (I’d say I’m a solid 20-30 pounds over “ideal.”) She felt that I would have more success in attracting a man, and maintaining a career (as an actor) as a smaller person. It was a heart wrenching conversation where my mother admitted a daughter’s worst fears, that she only saw me as “Fat Leslie,” and that she loves me and thinks I’m beautiful, BUT…
I understand all of this is bourn out of her love for me, her heartbreak at her own outcast-ness as a child, her trying to protect me from this cruel cruel world. (When I was 8, she told me that she loved me unconditionally but the world would not, and so I needed to lose weight.)

I didn’t give her permission. I told her I had spend 30 years being told, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, that I was fat and therefore not good enough and not worthy of love, a career, anything. That she needed to get help for her “Body Issues,” ie. HER issues about MY body. It wasn’t a health problem, it was an aesthetic problem, and worse, it was her aesthetics that had seeped their way into my head. My problem isn’t fat, my problem is hating my body.

It was tearful, and hard, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be truly “healed.” But is anyone?

This is a learning process. To think “I am good enough. Better than that. I’m beautiful. Not despite anything, but because of it, because of all that I am.” I am trying, every day, to change the voices in my head, to look in the mirror and think, “Damn, that is a beautiful woman, a powerful woman, lovely.” Every day I am trying. And I am grateful to this body for staying with me, wrapping around me, protecting me.

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SG Jill is MAGIC December 10, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Oh My Goddess SG Leslie, your stand for loving yourself is so beautiful!!! Thank you for saying No to that conversation and those disapproving voices – I know them so well – as you take your power back, so do you stand for all of us…Thank you <3

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Erica December 10, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Oh MG. This blog definitely hit me. I’ve been overweight since the age of 7. I can remember one of my pediatricians telling my mom that given how I was developing, I would have no problem having children because I have “breeder hips.” I was the stereo-typical early bloomer- period at 7, C-cup boobs by 11, D-cup boobs by 14. I guess I was spared from being bullied but I definitely always had the attention of men and boys because I looked so damn grown. As I got heavier and the belly became more pronounced, that’s when I encountered the awkward conversations about my weight. My mother never went there with me but all of my aunts and female cousins felt it was their place to talk with me. I got used to hearing things like “Erica, you have such a pretty face and you’re so smart but you need to be thinner if you expect to date a nice boy.” After while, I rebelled just to get people off my back. As an adult, I still hear those voice. I’ve come to love my breasts (they are great boobies :) and appreciate my hips but the stomach and double chin still make me cringe. I’m looking forward to becoming more appreciative and loving of my whole self. Thanks sisters for letting me share these thoughts with you.
xoxo
SG Double O Headmistress

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BSG Glitzy Cougar Karen December 10, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Oh Alice, I meant Regena, thank you for outing this very painful story. It helps so much. My nickname at home? My sister and mom called me “Tink” after that little light of a fairy, but my brother changed it to “Tank” and called me that in front of all his teenage friends, the only boys I really knew, and wanted to impress.

I too wanted to be cool, but in 6th grade I was 150 lbs, nobody at school talked to me. I was an awkward, tall, smart geek, and I was mocked all the time. I wore size 10 shoes (gun boats) and I had to buy my confirmation dress at the chubby shop at Lane Bryant, so my body was a huge issue which I tried to resolve with various diets, including a week of just hot dogs and tomatoes (I made that one up myself). There is one word for that one. Don’t. Then I would follow it up with a 1 pound bag of chips. So whenever I gain 10 pounds I can get very down on myself.

However, I think the biggest issue is my face. I got teased for my wide nose, I had pimples and still have those crooked teeth, and when I was thirteen, I too asked my mother if I was pretty. Her response? “Oh, beauty is only skin deep. Work on your personality.” Sigh. So I did.

Of course, my mother hated her looks, and I told her, even in her old age, she was a BABE. She was! And she couldn’t see it. And of course, now there is my age – the crinkles, a few wrinkles, a little sag in the cheek area…and one goddess actually recommended that I go to her dermatologist for a “little work”. I declined. Because through all of this, at 61 years of age, I do love my body (most of the time) and my face, and I want to leave my beautiful daughter Lauren, and all the young women, with a legacy of love for themselves.

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Deborah Smith December 10, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Dear MG,
A quick shout out to you on this. Being a dancer I didthe “usual” and had bouts with both anorexia and bulimia. After a year under your tutelage just a month ago I saw myself in the mirror at yoga and realized – for the first time- that my body is EXACTLY the way I want it. You did this!!!
Thank you!
xoxox
Tru Angel (about to become Wicked!)

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Julie Taeko December 10, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Loved reading this entire blog. Honest. Straightforward, and extremely helpful. Thank you very much for posting such an endearing blog.

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Abbie December 10, 2013 at 6:45 pm

I am known to put myself down for not arriving to the office with makeup on, a nice hairdo and outfit. But the truth is that I don’t really care. It saves me precious time in the morning. On Saturday, one of my favorite things to do is take the time to have a luxurious bath, put on makeup, do my hair and choose an outfit that I like, that caresses my wonderful body.

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Imago December 10, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Feisty talk Regena and is it important, Oh yes! My girls are 36 & 27 yrs old and full in the battle with their bodies. I remember when my youngest was 13yrs old and having listened to people tell us both how much we looked alike I watched her walking towards me and realised how beautiful I had been at that age. I grew up learning that my whole body was problematic – because it drew attention from men. Now, at 55 I am so grateful to my body for keeping going through all the challenges she has experienced and am loving myself and my body, giving us pleasure and savouring all that life has to offer. I’m encouraging my girls to read your blog Mama Gena, so they can wake up to the truth you so courageously share in every post. I want them to know how truly beautiful they are now, so they can let go off all the lies they believe about themselves and become whole. Thank you for lighting the way.
Arohanui

Imago

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Chantal December 10, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Issus with my body…
.3 main one…
my hair is flat…I would love curls and waves.
My breast are double D would love B….
and my stomach is not flat but curvy.

Since Booth Camp I have made peace with my hair most days !!
I have falen in love with my huge breast and show them rather than feel embarrassed by them.
My stomach….well that is work in progress…but I did get a compliment that it was very sensual….since starting to give it more love.

But all in all I have discovered that I AM GORGEOUS…and 9 time out of 10 when I see myself in a mirror I am astonish by how beautiful my body is!!

Thank you Mama for the tools THEY WORK !!

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Carousel December 10, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Mama Gena – THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! Your words of encouragement and TRUTH need to be shouted from the mountain tops!

I have been married three times, and my first two marriages were awful. The men did nothing to help me feel good about myself, physically or otherwise. After being single (and loving it) for 13 years, I remarried the man of my dreams. He is perfect for me! He is an amazing man who is making ALL of my fantasies come true. This marriage was a long-time coming and only happened after I did a lot of work on myself. I had to change my attitudes and fall in love with myself first. Now we have been married almost five years and every day just gets better and better.

Yesterday I spent 5.5 hours with a master photographer doing a boudoir session. The photos will be given to my husband for Christmas. It was an amazing 5.5 hours that sparked my inner confidence like nothing before! Ladies – JUST DO IT!!! Find a professional who comes highly recommended, will make you feel comfortable, sexy, and just go for it! For your husband, boyfriend, or just for yourself. You will be SO glad you did!

A few months ago I sent an email to some friends. Here is a portion of that email:

LADIES, LADIES, LADIES –

After recently reading a book called “Intimate Issues: Twenty-One Questions Christian Women Ask About Sex”, I realized that there are probably many, many, many other women who would like to ask the same questions…..but don’t know how, or who to ask…

Since my past has been riddled with confusion about sexuality (and whose hasn’t?), I decided to do some more research. What I have found is truth!!! I have found freedom in these truths & find myself so much more secure in my sexuality & in how God created me!

For many, many years I thought sex & marriage were ridiculous. And I told that to God too. Well……He started teaching me otherwise. I studied the “Song of Solomon” & told God that “the story of Solomon & his bride” is just a fairytale & too good to be true. There could never be a marriage that good. From all of the marriages I had witnessed & been a part of (2), there just was nothing even close to that fairytale! Besides, we are all human, & no marriage is perfect!

I believe the church has really dropped the ball on this issue. I also believe it is time to break the silence & stop the hurting of so many married (and unmarried) women! The following resources (a website & several books) have helped me start to understand who I am as a woman, what my sexuality is all about, & why God created sex. It has been a journey of such freedom! I am learning how to be sensual AND spiritual – learning how our sexuality & spirituality are linked. I can’t stand to keep this information & TRUTH to myself! The truths I am learning have brought me much joy & peace….My hope is to see other women learn & understand also!!!

SO – as a Christian woman, who is part of the church, I challenge you. I challenge you to learn & explore & take the journey with me! When you know (or if you already know these things), I challenge you to spread the good news! We are the church & WE need to share the Good News!!!! Just like Solomon did!!!

Take the challenge, sister, and YOU WILL BE GLAD YOU DID!!!!

Peace & Joy in Christ,
Carousel

Website: http://christiannymphos.org/
*The mission of Christian Nymphos is to teach married women to walk in sexual freedom with their husbands, so they will be able to reach out and help free the women in their lives.

BOOKS:
“The Gift of Sex: A Guide to Sexual Fulfillment”
Clifford L. Penner, Joyce J. Penner (Authors)

“Intimate Issues: Twenty-One Questions Christian Women Ask About Sex”
Linda Dillow, Lorraine Pintus (Authors)

“A Celebration of Sex: A Guide to Enjoying God’s Gift of Sexual Intimacy”
Douglas E. Rosenau (Author)

“Intended for Pleasure: Sex Technique and Sexual Fulfillment in Christian Marriage”
Ed Wheat & Gaye Wheat (Authors)

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EvelyneAime December 11, 2013 at 12:10 am

Dear Mama Gena -
I am moved to tears by your story, and all the stories in the comments. It is also my story. It is so powerful to be addressing this issue of body hate, and you are right that we have no time! We owe it to ourselves and our Sisters in the world and our daughters. Loving our bodies is the beginning of saving the planet (women=nature), I am sure of it.
I have hated-hated-hated my body all of my conscious life. Until this summer when I bought your book and started learning the Womanly Arts. The battle is by no means won but I have progressed tremendously. There is no longer a running critical commentary.
Memories of early childhood abuse came up last year (at age 39) and have helped me a lot to understand the confusion and hatred around the body. It is a MASSIVE issue. I read recently the horrifying statistic that 1 in 4 girls will be abused in childhood. (it’s scary for boys too: 1 in 6). It is a tremendous struggle for me to find pleasure.
I was a beautiful young woman–i am shocked to realize it when i look at pictures–yet was constantly beating on most parts of my body (legs too short and too wide, feet flat, cellulite on my thighs, ass too droopy, hands too broad, too much hair where it shouldn’t be…the list goes on…). One part I loved was my flat tummy, but now that’s been destroyed by a pregnancy and a nasty c-section scar + diastasis and ventral hernia. yuk.
So i wrote my body a love letter, like you suggested in the book. I did it and within a couple days my husband (bless his heart, he is the perfect man for me, my soul mate) complimented me. He next to never does…
I know that i can’t expect my husband to ‘give’ me pleasure. That i have to find it for myself. It’s a journey. It’s easy to quit, go back to regular routine.
I’m also learning from my little boy who absolutely LOVES his ‘zizi’. He is delighted by his little appendage, and I started thinking, how was it for me at his age (3)? I sure never experienced joy about the part between my legs! And why not? why not start?
Reading your blog today I am reminded of why it is so essential that i continue this work. It’s not just for me, it’s for everyone’s sake. The world’s. I’m not exaggerating. The world can only find balance when we women find our power. Our power is in our beauty, and our love for ourselves.
Thank you Mama Gena, you are a true agent of change, of evolution, of consciousness.
Thank you all the Sister Goddesses who undertake this work – you inspire me.

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VivienneCygne December 11, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Hello EvelynAime, My heart goes out to you and to all that you have experienced. I can’t help but be so amazed at your bravery and persistence!!!! Wow, go You! Go are worth all of the effort and the patience that this journey takes. Thank you for your encouragement and good example. I will stay on my journey and consider myself worthy too. Bless You Valuable!

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Allison Roberts December 11, 2013 at 8:43 am

I had bad acne from the time I was 11 on up. I was a pretty girl I suppose and fairly popular, but I felt so incredibly ugly and ashamed of my skin, I wanted to hide. I remember sitting in the gymnasium next to some girls I hung out with (who were beautiful–one was nickname “perfect Patty” on account of her perfect looks) and we were all playing with make up (10th grade) there was a mirror being shared and when it got to me, I had forgotten that I had such terrible skin. I had been looking at my friends and talking as they were applying make up so I think I thought I looked like them. I remember clearly taking the mirror and holding it up to my face and the shock of seeing these cystic pimples on my cheeks and fore head (under bright florescent lights). I felt tears starting to form and I quickly made an excuse to go to the bathroom

Unfortunately, I did not outgrow it. My acne lasted on and off fairly regularly (tho a bit less intense) throughout my adult life. And I’ve been to dermatologists and tried many many treatments. It is not until now at the age of almost 49, that it has almost completely stopped. I have spent nearly 38 years feeling some sense of shame over my skin. I would tell myself to snap out of it–”big deal! It’s a pimple! Who cares? You could have cancer, you could be bald, you could be dealing with some major issue and you’re complaining about a pimple?”

I think I was triggered by the acne in a way that I allowed to make me feel “less than” or somehow not quite lovable. Our faces are what we greet the world with and I felt so incredibly vulnerable. When I was little people said I’d grow up to be really pretty so I remember feeling that I had better do that–be pretty–or I’d somehow let people down. That if I weren’t “pretty” I’d be unloved. Now I have become much more comfortable with the whole of me…I still hate acne, not gonna lie, but it has become less of a focus for me and I am able to allow myself to feel vulnerable without it meaning that I’m weak.

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Jessica Duffey December 11, 2013 at 10:12 am

I am not going to get any taller.
My boobs are not going to get any bigger.
My nose and big toes are going to remain bigger than most.
My fingernails will almost never be polished.

I am still beautiful.

I AM.

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Anne Wallace December 11, 2013 at 12:09 pm

This post is so timely; I was so happy to find it in my inbox. Thank you Mama Gena and all my sister goddesses for your moving and inspiring posts. Through Boot Camp and Miami, I had been feeling attuned to my body and creativity, then, suddenly, my self confidence took a dive and all the old ugly voices came back to haunt and disempower me. A man asked me to dance and said afterwards, “Well, you get an A for effort.” What a creep but he tapped into my life long insecurities about my skill, age, looks, desirability. And a cousin emailed me a “great photo” of myself with her husband which was about the most unflattering, haglike view I’d ever seen. Made me think a $11,000 chin tuck was worth saving up for. It comes swooping in from the outside (the male gaze I’ve internalized) and can happen in an instant. This is so frightening and disheartening. It truly takes discipline to change the pattern. I have been spring cleaning and will reread Mama’s chapter on loving my body. Two days ago, I was at a spa and observed so many women with multiple implants, lip injections, botox… It made me both sad for us all and grateful for my own natural, aging self.

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VivienneCygne December 11, 2013 at 1:38 pm

I feel so encouraged by this post AND the comments! I had no idea that so MANY women suffer with these body feelings. I thought I was defective for dragging all of this heavy baggage. It takes up too much time and energy. My grief is having huge breasts, heavy and burdensome. My mother has always hated large breasts and has always spoken hatefully about large breasts and how awful they are. I am over 40 and “should” not care, but it’s deep in my mind & heart. I am now ready to invest the time and effort into loving all of me. I thought of getting breast reduction, guess what Mother thinks its a great idea. I don’t want to get hacked up like that. My aunt had it done and it looked like she had been attacked ( to me). Now I think if I get this done it could be only after I had come to love and accept all of me first. It’s to big a thing to face without much self love, care, self nurturing. But by then I may not “need” it, I don’t know! Can you relate???????? Tell me… <3

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Linmayu December 11, 2013 at 11:27 pm

I’ve been advised I’m supposed to hate the abundant curves of my body, the color of my skin, the curliness of my hair, my height (4’10″), and the fact that my breasts sag a little because, well, I am 36 and I’ve had them since I was 8. (I was supposed to hate myself for that too, as if it were my fault.)

F*ck that sh*t. I’m hot. All the way to work, every day, men stare at me. I was told that men would stop paying attention to me after I hit 35. Actually, that was when they STARTED paying attention.

My body rocks. It stays healthy most of the time. It lets me walk and work and live and dance and play and have amazing orgasms. I was told when I was a kid, that when I was 36 I would not be able to do cartwheels anymore. But I still can, obese and all. I thank the Goddess for my amazing body!

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Lori December 14, 2013 at 4:43 pm

I have had a myriad of emotions as I’ve read through all your posts, I applaud all of you for your courage to post what is real for you, and appreciate the backstory that helped shape you into the Goddess you are today. I’ve wanted to post for a few days now, but seem to go blank when I sit down to write – today I’m just going for it!

The voices from my past are those of children taunting me because I wore glasses – nickname “four eyes”, then in the 3rd grade I started to plump up and to this day I clearly recall going to the gym for our yearly weigh-in (seriously??) we all lined up and one by one marched to the scale where one lady weighed us and the other wrote it down. She yelled out 117lbs for me and I just wanted to slink away, in fact melting into the gym floor would have been my first choice, because as you can imagine the majority of children weighed before and after me were no-where close to triple digits. At home it wasn’t any better as my step-father was very much into body shaming. I don’t even remember the words he said (likely blocked that out), however I do remember the way I was left feeling… Unworthy, ugly, never to be liked, something terribly wrong with me. Unfortunately here I am at age 55 and I have yet to completely shake this.

When I was 15 I went on a drastic and very unhealthy diet because I wanted to “fit-in”, to be liked, to have a boyfriend. Well I got a boyfriend allright, in fact I received a lot of attention from men which was very scary. That relationship lasted 2 years and then at 17 I met the man who would become my first husband and father of my beautiful daughter. I gained weight after meeting him, what I had lost originally and plenty more – he told me that we wouldn’t get married until I lost weight. You guessed it, I did. And then on the honeymoon I ate, and ate.

I read the various posts about how you have been able to shake this and admire, love and glory in your bodies and I want that too. I hear the words “desire” and “pleasure” in Mama Gena’s Daily Fluff emails and I go blank. I hope to be able to take the next virtual boot camp as I truly want to be done with the body war. I want to love me, all of me, my curves, my dimples and every inch of me. I don’t know how to get from here to there.

Thank you for listening.

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janet shanon December 15, 2013 at 9:33 am

MY JOURNEY TO A HAPPY BODY IMAGE has taken 53 years….
Throughout my youth I was on the ballet track (at a very high level–in New York at the Balanchine school, “S.A.B.”). At first it was all tutus and fairy dust. I got the scholarships, I sailed to the top of every class. I landed in the right pile of elves at the right time. Then at around 12 my body started to change…Quickly, things become deadly serious. What was a normal period of transition in a young girl’s life was for me, a total disaster that ended my burgeoning ballet career and marked a turning point in my life. After it was over, there was no turning back–all the years of hard work that my parents and I had put in toward our dream of giving me a professional ballet career would be sacrificed in the name of Mother Nature. She said “She’s not an Artemis! She’s an Aphrodite!” Mr. Balanchine used Artemis body types to represent feminine beauty…Mom wasn’t quite sure what she was dealing with. Was it a phase? Would I grow out of it? Was it puppy fat? I was 5′ 6″ and weighed 115 lbs. I had long legs and a long neck–and I have cleavage.

Personally, I was very disappointed with the cards nature had dealt me–not only were my breasts to big, they were pendulous too. They didn’t stand up at all. I was a C cup and they were all mammalry glands–filled with liquid, pointed straight down. Meant to play golf with, the joke goes. I was devastated. It was a complete surprise. You see my mother’s breasts were small and pert, even at 45. Why, I’d ended up with my father’s mother’s breasts–like I was a cow meant to be milked! I had starved myself to go from 115 lbs. to 93 lbs. and this was the result. In those days there were no spandex leotards. I could not have gone without a bra in a bodice that was a sheath of elastic. I’d be bobbing up and down inside it like apples in a barrel.

At some point during one of those long conversations she had with herself when the only other person in the room was me, my mother mentioned the possibility of my getting a breast reduction. It was a wonderful idea and if I hadn’t been a child of 6 in the body of a 15 year old I would seized it and run with it. The breast reduction operation had already been in existence for a long time; it was originally meant for women who were pigeon breasted. It would have solved the problem, but for some reason Mom never brought it up again. She was playing with the idea but not willing to take things that far. She wasn’t a real stage mother–and that left all the weight on my shoulders. Don’t steer your kid into the arts if you aren’t going to have your nose in her business and be there to protect her and push others out of the way for her when she’s too small to stick up for herself. Otherwise it’s like leading a lamb to the slaughter. My parents were idealistic parents of the 60′s–they loved Civil Rights, The Beatles, Modern Art and believed in the sacred potential of the child–the idea of having a child in the arts was an idealistic trip they got off on. Since neither of them could cope with the changes taking place, I took it upon myself to face things like an adult: the only thing to do was to get my weight so low that my breasts would eventually disappear altogether. That might risk effacing a few other body parts but one had to have priorities. It was time to shave that diet down to 200 calories a day if I wished to reach my desired goal.

In reality, I was thinner than many of the other girls. My arms looked like tooth picks holding up a pair of hands and my legs were long and lithe and so filled with definition they looked the grooves in a road map. I was in the advanced point class. Trouble was, I’d already lost so much muscle mass from dieting that I was starting to physical strength. I wandered around bleary eyed and listless. Try being present on 4oo calories a day. Where was the energy going to come from to get down to 80 lbs.? I was dragging around so badly that I could hardly go more than three feet when it came time to do brizees on the diagonal across the studio.

In September of my freshman year in high school, I begged my mother to let me stop dancing. She sat in the living room, watching T.V. I pulled over a chart, tears streaming down my face, and talked on and on about how exhausted and hopeless I was. The scholarship girls had started arriving that fall from all over the country and they were bionic! How could I compete with them–or with anyone? I could see the writing on the wall. I had come as from as I could. Unless Mr. Balanchine blew a brain cell, he wasn’t going to be picking me out the crowd next year in C Division, saying, “That one! I want her in the corps de ballet!” I couldn’t keep on fighting in a war I knew I was not equipped to win. To my profound shock, my mother did not even utter a word in response to what I said. Turning to glance at me, she took a drag on her cigarette and squinted with contempt. Then she returned her gaze to the T.V. You’d think she’d at least give me a pep talk. It was then I realized that my ballet career was a fantasy for my parents. They’d never paid any attention to what my life was like–I came and went with complete freedom and was given all the things I needed to succeed. But the one thing I needed–the right body type–was something that could not give me. My Puritanical roots told me that if you just try really hard and work, work, work, you’ll get the result you want. But that wasn’t true with my body type. I needed a breast reduction if I were to be a ballerina. Oddly, many of the girls at S.A.B. had begun to solve whatever physical deficiencies they faced by taking up smoking, force vomiting, using laxatives and so on–things I would never have dreamed of stooping to for some reason. In hindsight it seems a healthy note in the whole episode, but at the time it struck me as a lack of ambition.

My mother’s refusal to even discuss the possibility that I do anything else with my life but dance finished me off. All trust was gone between us–to refuse to even speak with me about my situation. I HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO TAKE FATE INTO MY OWN HANDS. I couldn’t pull Artemis’s body out of Aphrodite’s! But I could turn Aphrodite into such a voluptuous lush that she’d shake the School of American Ballet to the very core. I would eat my way out–it was the only answer!

In October I started to cheat on my diet, here and there, and quickly put on a few pounds. No one seemed to notice. Then I just let go…cookies, cake, ice cream, corned beef on rye, coca cola with sugar in it! By December I had tipped the scales at 118 lbs. Embarrassed to be seen in my leotards, I began playing the truant. By springtime, I weighed 147 lbs. In April, the director of S.A.B., a former principal dancer of the New York City Ballet, Diana Adams, telephoned my mother to let her know that the school was not extending its invitation to me as a student to return again in the fall. No kidding? Mom broke it to me gently on the living room couch. She and my father never brought up the subject again.

My girlfriend cleaned out my locker at S.A.B. so I wouldn’t have to show my face–or rather, my big, chesty body–in the locker room.

All summer, I walked the streets of New York wearing a raincoat over my shorts and t-shirt. I felt like a complete and utter failure–I had let my family down. And yet, I sensed an underlying feeling of relief in my hear. At last, I was free! Tutus and fairy dust would always be a part of me, but now I be so many other things as well. My fantasy life exploded. That fall I started school at a prep school for civilians–non dancers. Over the course of the year my weight settled in at about 135 lbs. I began studying acting and singing. After graduating from high school I was approached by an agent to do plus size modeling. It hurt my ego but I got 8 in every 10 go-sees I went on. I was in a full page ad in Women’s Wear Daily, was photographed by Irving Penn for Vogue Magazine, did a brochure for Saks Fifth Avenue, an ad that ended up in the New Yorker and won a television contract for my first commercial. They paid me to lose weight so I could talk about a vitamin pill for dieters. I lost 7 lbs. in a week on the Scarsdale Diet. I started losing weight, gradually. By the time I was 27 I won a six month contract singing on cruise ship that sailed out of Miami. When I got down there everyone kept calling me the “new dancer” and I felt nervous. I quickly learned that the show involved as much if not more dancing than singing. I wasn’t in shape at all. Worse, I was pregnant and my weight was climbing. I had to learn the show in ten days. The music was easy–there were 47 medleys and I sang one solo, “Ten Cents a Dance.” I had a costume change throughout every decade of music through the 20th Century. The girl I was replacing had been a size 6. By the time I returned to New York I weighed 112 lbs. The show had whipped me into shape! I didn’t maintain that weight for long. In a year or so my set point became 116 lbs. It stayed there for several decades.

In my 30′s and 40′a I worked in the profit sector. I was still 116 but would like to have been 10 pounds thinner and more than anything would like to have been a B cup or an A. I hated the way people thought busty women liked being busty and were oversexed. I dressed to hide the size of my breasts, always. My breasts began to sag and have hollow spots and stretch marks. I had never had children but I looked liked I’d give birth to a bg family and breast fed them all until they were three. I needed a breast lift or a breast reduction with a lift, but both procedures leave you with an anchor scar. Somehow a surgeon I convinced me that the new saline implants could give the same effect as a lift if handled properly. They only required a one inch incision below the fold of the breast that didn’t show. He said that he could remove my stretch marks, hike up my breasts and reshape them. As the date of surgery neared it became clear that doing this would require having larger breasts. The wheels were in motion. My husband was horrified at the idea–he thought my breasts were too big to begin with. In four hours, I went from being a sagging, droopy C to a shapely double D. My breasts were even bigger, but were lifted a little higher, were nicely shaped and indeed the scar tissue was gone. The change was a shock though–almost like a nightmare. I got used to them over time and they did deflate in a year or so a little. When I danced free style on the dance floor I could see the advantage of the 3-dimensional proportions the shape of the breasts gave my body. They made me seem more graceful. I lived with my mistake for 10 years.

In 2009 an unrelated medical problem necessitated having the implants removed. Chronic pain in my neck had become a serious problem requiring a separate surgery. My sister helped to pay for me to have my implants removed. I was so thrilled! It turned out that I would actually become as small on top as I’d always wanted to be — at last I had a nice, full A cup! It came about in an unexpected way. After the saline implants were inserted under the chest wall, my own breast tissue had atrophied (from the pressure of the implants). Since my medical issues had cropped up in 2009, I had dropped from 116 lbs. to 95 lbs. without dieting. I was in chronic pain. The good part of the whole ordeal was that I finally had the body I had wanted all my life–the body that I had needed at S.A.B. to become a professional ballet dancer. I was 53 years old, but I had achieved a dream of aesthetic beauty that had been out of my reach all of my life. I took a dance class at Luigi’s Jazz Centre and wore pink tights and slippers, a sleeveless white spandex leotard with no bra and a short, white ballet skirt. I loved what I saw in the mirror when I moved. My range of motion was limited, but my port de bras had the same fluidity and beauty of line as it had when I was 15 years old–all those years of training don’t leave you. I swirled about the studio, feeling alive deep down to my toes. Even in the course of coping with a trying medical condition, I had managed to manifest a long cherished dream–effortlessly–achieving a totally positive body image without having work for it! At 53, when I look in the mirror I like myself more now than ever before.

With Gratitude to Regina, et al,

Sister Goddess Janet, Muse of Mirth and Mistress of Mischief

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michelle December 16, 2013 at 4:58 am

I know that we all have body issues and sometimes I am almost okay with my body which carries one hundred extra pounds. I often wonder if its the reason that even though I am in my 50′s I havent married. I feel like no one finds me attractive. It hurts to say these words but maybe if I start talking about it I can feel better about it.

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G December 16, 2013 at 4:08 pm

Still people want to make jokes about my big feet or be amazed by my large foot size. Like after I tell them they have to look at my feet again! Yes I wear a size 12. I have walked ALOT in my life. I am thankful to have feet, and they are meant to be! Is just a number! Not a freak of nature!

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G December 16, 2013 at 4:12 pm

I was also abused by my mother. She told me before could barely stand as a teenager was so attractive. She even one time out of some weird place in her, as a teen grabbed my most private area I guess to humilate me, and remind me who is in charge. I have found that an issue alot in my life older women really resenting me for being pretty and younger than them. I have a right to my life! I have a right to my existence!

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SG Sally January 7, 2014 at 8:23 pm

Thank You Regina and sisters, for this beautiful discussion.

I still send mental hate-mail to my breasts. They were “perfect” in highschool, but then once I gained weight in college, they became “too big” and made me feel like I looked fat. I was so angry at my breasts for being larger and sometimes still am. I see them as the reflection of the 10 lbs. that I don’t ever feel like loosing, and are my sign of being a failure.

Oh breasts, how could I have hated you for all of these years! You’re so robust and juicy, like two ripe peaches about to be plucked from a tree. I hear your muffled voices underneath my sportsbra and high-necked shirts….”let us out! please? :) We promise to play and only spread joy in the world.” Ok, dear breasts, I will wear you with pride and marvel at all that you do to enhance my silhouette. I desire to have you in my life for eternity – to fill out my tight little dress, to feed my future children, to tease my man with, to cuddle up to in bed and to love forever.

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