I woke up today from a strange dream. I was walking around the city of Chicago during the winter time and I was NAKED. Completely stripped down from my clothes. I was frantic and panicking. I was running around the city trying to find my hotel room but I couldn't. But what was so strange about the dream, that no one was looking at me like I was naked. They were all acting normal, passing me by as if I had clothes on. It was confusing.
Before I went to sleep, I posted an old video on Instagram of me in a dress posing in front of a mirror. I remember passing by the bathroom mirror that day (Aug 2016) and was like “Damn you look good girl”. I was embracing myself.
But not too long after, I deleted the video. Somehow I felt eyes were judging me because I was proud of my body. I was also afraid of attracting the wrong vibe from men. All of a sudden I overwhelmed myself with thoughts and I took it down.
So as I’m sitting here thinking more and more of my dream and what it meant. I finally realized a layer of conditioning.
As early as 10 years old, I remember my body being judged by close ones. You can’t wear this and you can’t wear that. I had family members telling me I needed to lose weight because my butt and thighs were “too big”, they were disproportioned to my upper body. I was continuously being judged.
So I stopped eating so much. I was starving myself to lose weight not realizing that this was just my body type. This was the shape I was created in. That no matter what I did, I can’t change it. I let people’s opinions control my health. I let them starve my body and feed my mind with negative thoughts.
This criticism carried on until I went to college in the states. And now, all of a sudden, I was embraced. All of a sudden, my shape was what most wanted. But my conditioning was still there. I was still ashamed of my body. I would still avoid wearing certain things. Constantly wanting to hide my body.
As years went by, I started to love and accept my body. The start of my yoga journey, helped me love my body more. I was no longer abusing it with thoughts of criticism and judgement. I was embracing it. I would post pictures of how much work I've put in to keep my body healthy. I was loving my body!
Then 2017 happened. Months of mourning over my aunt's death, I moved back home after 13 years and it’s almost like I was reliving a lot of the judgement. I was back to the course of it all. I kept hearing the constant criticism in my head. Over and over, I was shamed. I felt lost. I stopped embracing myself in every way. I stopped posting pictures where you could see the shape of my body. I felt a separation from my body. Everything hit me heavy. My mind was feeding me stories that my soul couldn’t handle. I, no longer knew who was looking at the mirror. I felt like I was suffocating in my own body. As if I was choking myself. I couldn’t breathe. I felt like I was trying to get rid of something (my body) as if it was not part of me.
I remember reaching out to my friend, who is also a yoga teacher to show me some breathing techniques. I wanted to calm myself down. After speaking for a bit, this is what he told me “Sanaa, no matter how many breathing techniques I teach you, it won’t do anything for you. You need to learn how to fall in love with yourself. You need to get to a point where when you look at yourself in the mirror, it gives you butterflies” (thank you Nawaf)
So I started to work on falling in love with my body. It was tough because I didn’t even know where to begin. How do I stop looking at my body as a separate entity? After spending a week of solitude in Bali, detaching myself from the world to connect with myself, I came back refreshed. I spent the whole week meditating, praying, connecting. The beauty of Nature made me fall in love with life and then made me fall in love with myself. I saw ME in everything I passed by.
I, slowly started to feel a connection with my body. We were getting along. I started to post myself being happy in my body. Then came the judgements from some of the closest people to me about a bikini picture on the beach. It was a simple picture. Nothing that you have never seen on my profile before. Just haven’t posted in awhile.
I was shamed and judged so harshly, as if I was completely nude. The picture went down.
Those same remarks came to me as I posted the video last night. All of a sudden, I felt the judgments and the shame. Even though no one has said anything, I felt it ALL as if they did! Felt it ALL piercing through my body. Again, I was overwhelmed with thoughts.
The shame was so strong that it came in my dream. I was naked in my dream in public. But no one was judging me in my dream? was this just showing me that I needed to let go of the conditioning and not worry about people's judgments?
So here I am faced with this conditioning of body shame. Realizing the root of it all. And many people who were close to me, made me feel the worse about my body. Made me feel guilty for embracing it. Made me feel separated.
Realizing this, made me realize how much I let other’s insecurities become MINE. I let their views become My OWN. I allowed them to condition me. I allowed them to shame me. To guilt me.
So today, as I am laying here writing this, I break that conditioning. Making a declaration to fall in love with myself. Everything. My mind, my soul and my body. They are not separate entities, they are ONE. This is my intention for 2018, to release all those judgements and celebrate all of ME. Not one part, all of ME.