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Amanda Scriver
June 07, 2016 8:38 am

Learning to love yourself regardless of your size is one of the most crucial and beneficial gifts that any person can give to themselves. I’m a fat woman. I can’t hide that from the world but more importantly, I can’t hide that from myself. I have rolls and a double-chin and skin dimples in places I didn’t think imaginable. While I want to tell you that I love myself, the fact is that my path to self love and self-acceptance hasn’t been that easy. So I decided to explore some radical self-love in a place that I never thought possible: in a room, naked, with other women. Yes, you read that correctly.  

During one of my Facebook binges, I happened across a workshop simply called “Body Pride” offered by Caitlin K. Roberts. While I had never met Caitlin, her reputation preceded her, as she ran the well-known feminist porn collective Spit and had been an active player in the sex-positive movement. While I didn’t quite know what to expect from the session, I decided to throw caution to the wind and sign up anyways, by myself. I figured I had nothing to lose and at this point, I was willing to do anything to make me feel less self-conscious about my own body.

I arrived at the building where the workshop was being held and take a deep breath in. Caitlin greeted me with her warm and energetic personality and told me to grab a mat to sit on. In the room, there were eight other nervous women just like me milling about. We all nervously smiled at each other with the knowledge that we were going to be sharing a fairly personal experience together. The goal of each Body Pride session is to teach folks how to de-sexualize nudity and learn to accept their bodies, all while completely naked. In the background I heard a familiar voice pipe up, as Caitlin handed out her first instruction of the evening.

“Okay everyone, it’s time to get naked.”

Before I had a chance to talk myself out of what I was or immediately flee, I found myself stripping down. I was time to lay all my vulnerabilities out and share my body with a group of collective strangers. Deep breath in, exhale. Clothes off and skin exposed.

Over the course of the next four hours in a Body Pride workshop, you’re laid bare — figuratively and literally.  In society, we’re told that in order to be considered beautiful or be considered desirable by society, we must conform or fit in to beauty standards. As I sat in this circle of women, who come from a wide variety of backgrounds (all different types of racial backgrounds, ages, weights and abilities) and life experiences, one thing became abundantly clear: we were all experiencing the same thoughts, feelings and anxieties. All humans struggle with body self-love and acceptance. While it may seem scary or uncomfortable at first to be naked, when you’re faced with strangers, you begin to realize your imperfections are really not that imperfect after all. Being able to sit face-to-face with others experiencing the internal and emotional struggles you are while gaining empowerment in the process is huge. No matter how much we try to separate it, our naked bodies will always be our truest form, and let’s be real — they rock.

Leaving Caitlin’s Body Pride workshop left me feeling confident, powerful, and like a completely different person. The biggest thing I learned was that you can learn the most about yourself when you quit being caught up in other people’s ideals for yourself and give in to the notion that you can just be happy for you. Since then, I’ve taken more classes related to body positivity, including one offered by the World Famous *BOB* focusing more on self-confidence on stage and off. To me, the stage meant life and it translated fairly well.  The fact is: your body positivity journey is never-ending. For me, being enrolled in body positivity classes has helped me learn and experience that all bodies, including my own, may not be perfect, but they are still badass. Getting to know yourself in this way can be completely liberating and rewarding, and one further step in your body positivity journey.

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