Taking Back the Bones

15 Sep

Image“Why are you busy trying to make men fall in love with you when you need to be busy falling in love with yourself?”

That was my Facebook status a few days ago and that phrase had emerged from my shadowed side and demanded to be expressed. Women commented, pressed the like button, gave agreeing “Amen’s” like I was Mr. Jackson going off on a Sunday sermon.

The only reason I put that out there was to convince myself to fall in love with myself first before anything. I’ve never been one to get into relationships for the sake of being in them, “better single than settled for less” is my mantra. Yet I have the tendency to seek attention from males always thinking it was harmless. Who doesn’t like the feeling of being liked?

However I have realized the great flaw in my pattern and I see my insecurities as a raging sea. A sea that threatens to take me under and create of me a cold blooded queen amongst the coral. Whenever I begin to gasp for air I reach out of instinct for a familiar hand with an exchangeable body. I am trained to allow a man to build a raft out of compliments to rescue me temporarily. But soon enough the waves come back and I am alone in the water again. Cycle repeats.

This is about learning to save myself.

It isn’t all about the male and female relationship either. It’s about body.

I stopped reading mainstream magazines years ago. Each page is a bombardment of what a woman should look like. The books are full of perfect figure form that women should strive to attain and its pages feed the monster of discontent I have within.

The glossy magazines and music videos do not reflect who I am nor do they display the values born from my ancestral traditions. Women’s bodies were not displayed or compared heavily against one another. Yet I grew up here in this media driven society and it is a constant battle to stay rooted in something real.  

I laugh at the thought of my Grandmothers easing up on the amount of dry meat or berries they consume for figure sake. What made a woman, a good woman? Surely it was not the ride of her breasts or whether or not her body was painted with stretch marks during pregnancy.

My friend told me the other day, “I am not happy. I know sometimes I seem confident, but I really feel fat and ugly. I am starting to work out tomorrow.”

This particular friend and I have had this exact conversation since we were 16 years old, which is almost a decade of being uncomfortable in our own bodies. I am ready to take back my body.

I will build a canoe shaped by the songs and teachings of my Grandmothers. I will craft a paddle with language and traditional values. I will prepare by using the medicines of the land. I will make my plea to Grandmother Moon and leave offerings. I will take out my eyes that see bodies as territories to be bought, sold, and ravaged. Remove these eyes that judge harshly and love little. Discoloured eyes that see materials adding value, and wrinkles birthed with wisdom only detracting. I will ride blindly into the night like a warrior woman guided by her ancestors. I will sneak into the enemy encampment and will offer no treaties. There is no landscape of my body I am willing to sacrifice in fear of the battle that may ensue. I will release my shrill war cry and make my presence and intentions known. I will take back my body, skin, teeth, breasts, and bones. When the morning comes, I will see my Indigenous brown body through ancient eyes, and know that I am no less life giving or lush than the great Mother Earth that I live upon. I am taking back my body, not just for myself but for my Grandmothers who lost theirs, and the little Indigenous girls who are losing them now.

Last night, I felt absolutely gorgeous, the knowledge that I have gained 15 pounds in the past year, not even penetrating the feeling. I am lush like the Earth and bountiful like groves, and why not?




Helen K



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