I stare in wonder at my daughter’s trust in her body.
She is almost 2 and a half years old. She is embodied. There is no mind/body split. She carries no negativity towards how her body works or how it looks. She dances, runs (she does not walk!), reaches, bumps against things, falls down, reaches. She is tabula rasa. She is the embodiment of the Feri Goddess Nimue, the child Goddess who is both innocent and terrifying.
Certainly I started life with the same confidence in my body, but over time it has diminished. I became fearful of other people and their reactions to me. I have always been the sort who wants to be “the best” at something, and when I can’t achieve that almost immediately, I don’t want to to do it anymore. Sadly, I applied this standard to physical activity. I didn’t want others to see me huff and puff during hikes, so I stopped hitting the difficult trails. I didn’t know how to use the equipment at the gym, so I quit going.
I am now moving back into balance with my body. Going to the gym has been a difficult lesson in self-confidence, but I’m realizing that I enjoy overcoming my challenges. Leaving soaked in sweat is a badge of honor, not embarrassment. It means I’m working.
I’ll never be as free as a two year old, but I am recovering a sense of safety.