After my body image epiphany in the “More to Love” class, I was drained but floating on “Cloud Nine”. I embraced each new assignment in anticipation of continued break-through. The effort to complete each task and the insights gained from it were totally dependent on where I found myself emotionally on the topic. And that’s where the beauty of this class shined! I was fortunate to be part of a wonderful group of ladies who shared their experiences and their hearts with each new day. We formed an amazing bond of trust and acceptance as we posted to our secret Facebook group. As I devoured the daily posts it became obvious that we were dealing with the same issues though the specific details were different. We offered sympathy and encouragement through the lows and applauded each victory! We started the month as strangers, maybe even a band of mis-fits, but ended the month celebrating as sisters!
The class included topics on mindful eating that helped us to dig into the emotions we assign to food. We learned to accept compliments, say “No”, recognize our worth, shut-down the smack talk in our heads, and write ourselves a love letter. These are only a few of the exercises that helped us to find ourselves…to look at things differently…and to accept who we are NOW! If you were to read the full list of class assignments, you would only have a faint clue of the challenges we faced head on (but with varying degrees of trepidation).
The daily assignment topics were an important key to our progress. But it was the class founder, Rachel Estapa, who was the spark that ignited our excitement and growth. She challenged us to step outside our comfort zones and embrace a new mindset that brought with it a whole new set of tapes. You know what I mean by tapes…those pre-recorded messages that we tell ourselves every day.
Things like…“What will they think if I…?”, “I’m not smart enough to…”, “Everyone will be staring at me if I…”.
And the list goes on. Instead of replaying the same tapes and verbally beating ourselves up in the tornado of “What IFs”. We were able to stop the recordings and replace them with kinder-gentler truths.
Of course, this is a process. Permanent change doesn’t happen in a month. But what we have is a shiny new toolbox full of realizations that will accompany us on the journey to a new life. A fuller life. And, perhaps most of all, we now believe that we are not broken.
It was the insights that Rachel provided from her own life that helped us to embrace that we were most definitely NOT BROKEN!
We witnessed several breakthroughs during the month. One of our classmates tackled her fear of singing in front of her husband. She even posted a video to share with the group – something that would NEVER have happened before this class. Several others, including myself, found our voice and have started sharing our experiences through writing and other creative outlets.
At the end of the class, we were asked to share a few words on what the class meant to us. As I pondered all that I had learned, an image of a butterfly formed in my minds-eye. Like the butterfly evolving from egg to adult, each person in the MTL class experienced an extraordinary transformation during the month. Words started to flow…interrupted only by tears of joy. Before the morning light, I finished editing the background and first draft of the poem you see here. It is called “Metamorphosis” and is inspired by both the “More to Love” class and the No Body Shame Campaign.
The final assignment was to create an “I AM” poster that focuses on where I am at this moment and NOT on what I am not or what I don’t have. I realized that I can be anything I want to be…from A to Z!
Wahoo! We did it!
We graduated and instantly became members of the “MTL Alumni” private Facebook group. It is in this space that we will share encouragement and support on our journey of self-love and body acceptance. As the first step in this new adventure, each graduate would introduce herself to the alumni group. My introduction evolved into a video that shared images from the class and a reading of my “Metamorphosis” poem.
If you know anyone challenged by body image issues, I highly recommend the MTL class. The cost is only $40…the value is PRICELESS!
Until next time…remember to follow your muse!