From the beginning, you have been something special.
Individually eager, earnest, invested. Collectively trusting, comforting, accepting.
You have shown up. Every single class. Not just physically (but that, too, never have I had a class with better attendance) but emotionally. Telling your truths. Crying about them. Getting up and hugging each other through the tears.
Together, we have forged something so special- the kind of thing we will each tenderly remember, quietly feel gratitude for, bittersweetly miss.
And, for that, the very first thing I want to say to you is thank you.
Thank you for showing up—for each other, for me, and, most significantly, for you.
And thank you for HOW you showed up- for each other, for me, and, most significantly, for you.
While what we have had in this classroom has been something really special, here is what I want you to understand: what we had was special because from the beginning, you were something special. I’m not talking about from the beginning of this class. I’m talking about from the beginning of your time.
This is what I don’t want you to miss: the feeling you had in this class wasn’t something that we accidentally crafted. It was not a mirage or, even, a fluke.
The feeling existed because you showed up. All of you. The truest parts of you that have wondered in the past if there was room for you in this world and, in this space, you got your answer. A resounding yes.
The world is not just ready for ALL of you. It hungers for you. And when you show up real and true and authentic, you are offering a gift. The gift of your amazing depth and character and strength and truth telling. The gift of your soul. The gift of seeing and being seen.
When you show up true, the world vibrates. And that vibration heals. And healing opens up all sorts of possibility. That is what you felt in this space and you can replicate that anywhere. As long as you continue to stay true to you.
There are a multitude of sins we can commit against ourselves in a single day, hour, minute, if we aren’t careful.
We practice neglect. Ignoring our needs. Acting as if we shouldn’t have them. Acting as if they make us too much. You have needs. And they and you are not too much. Meeting your needs allows you to sustain yourself. And sustaining yourself allows you to love what you love.
We practice density. Seeing lies and manipulations when we look in the mirror. Using unkind eyes to shame, unkind words to punish ourselves. Remember you are meant for your own unique expression. What makes you YOU is no accident. And what you have to offer is something this world needs.
We practice scarcity. Thinking there isn’t enough goodness in the world for everyone and that we are the ones too late to the table. But this is not true. The only limit is your imagination. You are enough. You are never too late.
We practice denial. Ignoring or belittling our sweet uniqueness- that smattering of freckles across your nose, the deep cocoa of your skin, the glorious fullness of your hair, the way you can sing like the angels, the way you comfort with humor, the way you encourage with company. The rich character that you have spent your whole life developing is an instrument to offer this world. Your unique offering is meant for an urgent need.
For 15 weeks now, you have practiced not committing any of those sins over the space of three hours every single Friday morning. When negative thoughts derailed you, you came back to yourself, began your practice anew, understanding these essential truths about life: it is all journey, we are always practicing, we can make a new choice at every single moment.
And so here is what you must now understand: what you created and practiced here was no novelty. What you felt here- for yourself and for others- is not dependent on your being in this space. You can treat yourself this way anytime. You can recreate this community anywhere. It only takes the courage to show up as you. To be real. To speak your truth. To let others know that your vulnerability is meant for building community, not walls. You have everything you need inside of you. You always have. And, now, what you need to know is that the world is aching for you to show up this way everywhere. It won’t just change you. It will change everything. You are the one the world has been waiting for.
At the end of each semester, I write my students a letter that is unique to their class. This was the letter for my body image class this semester.
Want to read some past letters?