Today’s reflection comes to us from Jo Quest-Neubert, a teacher and Literacy Coach in the Cambridge Public Schools.
Like many girls, I learned to hate my body early. When I realized the damage this caused me, I began to resist my own self-hatred by trying to distance myself from my body: my body wasn’t me and didn’t represent me. It took tragedy in my life for me to realize that my body, which I had always positioned as my enemy, was actually a tremendous gift. Reeling from loss, deep in grief, I found myself walking. I needed the sun, the air, the sky. I needed to feel connected to nature, and it was my body that brought me that connection. It was my body–my working, moving body–that helped heal my heart.
Today, my work is loving myself. Reminding myself not to be ashamed: this is the body I have, and what luck! There may be things I wish were different, but this is the body that gave me life, that continues to give me life. My body is not my enemy, and my body is not bad. My body is not me: it does not define me, and may not even accurately represent me. I am not the sum of its parts. But my body is a gift, and my work is to remember that, honoring, nurturing, and loving my body the way I want my whole self to be honored, nurtured, and loved.
– Jo Quest-Neubert, MA