01 May From ‘Disappointing’ to ‘Capable’: An Ambassador’s Story
‘Disappointing’. That’s the word I used to describe my body for the first forty years of my life.
I was never happy with my body in any of its various forms: slim, larger, or pregnant. I fought an endless battle with a body that didn’t fit societies standard of beauty.
For my 43rd birthday, I went away by myself on a yoga retreat to find some inner peace. During a long meditation session, I had a moment of clarity: so many issues in my life would not have existed if I’d just accepted myself as I am (most predominately – my body). Oh, the dramas I’d created in my life because I felt my body was unworthy and shameful.
At that moment I knew I couldn’t possibly spend another forty years at war with myself.
On returning from the retreat I stumbled upon the trailer for the Embrace documentary. I must have watched it thirty times, crying endlessly. It spoke directly to me, especially the line when Taryn addressed her young daughter and said, “Darling girl, don’t waste a second of your life being at war with your body” (and now I’m crying again, just writing it!). I wanted to hug my then fifteen-year-old daughter and apologise for every moment she saw me hate my body. I’d spent so much time as she grew up, telling her that she is perfect exactly the way she is, that I forgot about the mirror I was holding up to her as a role model. I felt a huge burden of guilt for the times I’d seen her critique her body. I remembered all the negative comments my mother had made about her body – and mine too at times – and how I’d internalised that to shape my views.
I suddenly knew that the only way to prevent the cycle repeating was to finally embrace myself.
Through a community group I worked at, we screened the Embrace documentary twice to over 500 women. The documentary inspired me to become an ambassador. I devoured every body-positive morsel I could find, and I curated my social media to only follow people who made me feel good about myself. I learnt to rephrase my inner dialogue; my thighs aren’t fat, they are capable – they help me walk, run, jump, and dance. My tummy isn’t disgusting, it grew two children and looks great when I belly-dance. My tuckshop arms give the best hugs. It wasn’t always an easy journey and there were moments of regression. However, I kept focusing on the fact that I’d wasted so many years at war with my body and it had given me nothing positive.
Learning to embrace opened space in my brain to focus on the things that really matter.
Since then I have travelled with the BIM team for Taryn’s Embrace Yourself book tour, I’ve become a swimsuit model for Cossie Confidence by Sequins and Sand, and I’ve helped many other women learn to accept their bodies as they are right now. It has been life-changing and I’m so very grateful.
‘Capable’. That’s the word I use to describe my body today.
Tatia Power is a Body Image Movement Global Ambassador from Australia