I have a fear of Bears because they have, in one way or another, got me into the realm of body judging!
When I was a Twink in the ‘body fascist’ phase of my life, I used to think that Bears were just a bunch of guys with hairy backs who had lost the Battle of the Bulge and had found a way to reassure each other that the fight hadn’t been worth fighting in the first place.
Now in my twilight years, having hung around with The Faeries for the past 8 years, and having conscientiously and consciously challenged my socially programmed preference for the Body Beautiful, I am just about able to summon up some compassionate forgiveness for the opinionated brat that I was!
However, when someone I meet says they are a Bear, I kind of fear that my Faerie identity will be judged as too girly, not-manly-enough, not-hairy-enough, not fat enough (with the wrong sort of fat), not socially-locally-connected enough, not interested enough in raising money for charity.
Since I don’t actually know any Bears, I know these are simply my own personal projections onto a group of people who don’t deserve to be feared in this way.
Take the American Black Bear for instance. It seems like it’s reputation for being a dangerous killer is a whole lot of nonsense cooked up in the paranoia of the US collective sub-conscious. In reality they are beautiful, sweet and gentle creatures who are simply trying to get by, just like anyone else.
Anyway, the Bear theme for this month got me thinking about my body and how I judge it (and how I fear it is judged by others). It reminded me that a few years ago, in a fit of self-improvement, I did an exercise aimed at flushing out my subconscious negative body self-talk. I stood in front of a mirror- naked- and wrote down all the words that sprang to mind to describe what I saw. Then by the side of each word I wrote down its opposite. This is what emerged:
My Reflections on My Reflections on My Reflection
Here is a Body, Vulnerable and Exposed…..Shameless
Sacred Holy, Totally Acceptable and Divine, Spiritually Balanced
Slim and Trim, Surprisingly Youthful, Young and Vital
Cuddly and Curvaceous, Smooth and Furry, Muscled
Beautifully Androgynous, Masculine Enough, Dinky Genitals- Perfectly Formed
Beautiful, Amazing, Hairy and Handsome
Strong, Adapting, Dynamic, Evolving, Growing
Wonderful Changing Regenerating Miraculous!
Attractive, Sexually Magnetic, Tasty
In Surprisingly Good Nick, A Great Oak, A Well-Looked-After Vintage Car
You are Smouldering, Sensual and Sensuous
Feeling, Touching, Tasting, Smelling
The Silent Witness and Guide
Where Ethereal and Material Clash
The Vessel, The Instrument, The Tool
Transient, Transitory and Transitional
Indispensable Now- Yet Ultimately Disposable
Body! Talk To Me! Show Me How You Feel!
It’s an interesting exercise- try it and see what happens!