In the second week of protests over George Floyd’s death, I met with a friend to talk about what actions we could take in our community of Charlotte to bring harmony. We wanted to use our expertise to focus on healing and wellness. As Sonja talks about in her book, we have all faced body terrorism and body traumas at some point or another. My friend had just finished reading this book after feeling as though she had gained too much weight during the Quarantine. Many of us were coping with stress in ways that were harmful to our bodies, but at the same time we were learning habits that we could let go of…like spending so much time and money on our hair. For me, this book’s appeal lied not just in helping us to work through our own internal struggles with our bodies, but it offered a way for me to learn about how other bodies took in the world. My friend recommended this book and I am so glad she did!
Sonya is not just writing about body image, self-acceptance, or confidence. She is writing about radical self-love. As people set themselves free of indoctrinated body shame, they set others free. She says the one thing we can all agree is that we have a body and we need our bodies to live. Once we recognize how important our bodies are, we can begin to love them and treat them with the respect that they deserve. This book doesn’t just require us to let go of our own self-loathing, but also our loathing of other bodies and implores us to dismantle the power structures that benefit from our collective shame.
What I like about this book:
- The Unapologetic Inquiries and Radical Reflections at the end of each chapter that helped you to personalize and apply what you had just learned about in the chapter.
- The way she took it to the next level. It isn’t just your own self-help book about healing and learning to love yourself. (Although that is key.) It is about creating a systemic change in our culture of shame. This is at the crux of most of our prejudices and discrimination.
- The audiobook version…I enjoyed hearing the author’s passion and voice as she read it to me.
- The illustrative stories that she told still stick with me.
- Parts of the book can and should make you uncomfortable. My advice is to keep reading and to take your time reflecting on your areas of discomfort. If you don’t run away from it, this is where the greatest healing will take place.
- At times it is repetitious or just taps into the surface level of an idea. So if you have already read a lot of books or done a lot of work around these issues, you may not gain much from this book.
Here is an 8 minute TED talk that Sonya gave in 2015 if you are interested: