We started together at a time when the world was changing– when it felt unfamiliar, maybe even broken to some of us, when it was shifting on its axis and it demanded of us a type of shifting, a refocusing on what was important, what mattered.
Maybe in that moment Body Image felt like the most frivolous thing we could be thinking about or maybe it felt like the most important, like the very thing that we needed to consider so we could resolve it for ourselves and get onto the things that felt most urgent in our soul because we finally came to understand that we are each here on purpose and for every minute that we spend distracted by our hair, our waist, our skin, our musculature, our height, those are minutes that we are stealing away from our meaning and maybe just maybe healing our brokenness would empower us to be one part of the world’s necessary healing.
In the midst of those maybes, here is what I came to learn about you, here is what I cannot help but celebrate:
The way you showed up every single week broken-open and honest. Willing to create the type of earnest, open space and experience that made each one of you feel safe, made each of you willing to talk honestly about race, gender, sexuality, bodies, parents, partners, peers and more, that made each one of you less afraid to bare witness to the pain that permeates our collective existence and the personal brokenness that can sometimes feel impossible to superglue into something new, something that will actually serve us better.
The way you held your brokenness with reverence, not downplaying that it mattered—because it matters, dear heart; you matter– but how with courage and fortitude and hope, you held your brokenness up to the light, allowing the light to perform its service by making things less frightening, by offering a spotlight for a whole new way of seeing things, by putting a shine on your scars in a way that you never could have imagined.
The way you fought for the world with your heart wide open. Not one of you is comfortable with the status quo. Not one of you wants to live in a world that profits off our self-hatred. Not one of you wants your own joy or healing to come at the expense of someone else’s. Each one of you is so eager to do your part not just for your own healing but for the world’s.
The way you woke up to what your heart, body, and soul needed. The way you shifted into the type of profound awareness that will not just keep you safe in this world but will make this world safe for every single one of us.
And so here is what I want you to know as we gather together for one last time in this space and experience that we joined souls and hearts and hands to create together:
You have everything you need inside of you to heal yourself, to help others, to offer comfort and courage and conviction in our efforts to reconcile the world’s pain. You are already worthy. You are always enough. And you are, unequivocally, a radiant light that is needed.
When the day ahead of you is hard, when the voice in your head is unkind, when the person before you is trying to pass off their pain to you, I want you to stop in that moment and revisit these words, remember this truth:
You have within you a type of light and magic that creates safe spaces and your magic is available to you and your community at any time. Get quiet. Remind yourself of all that you have done and created and experienced. Remind yourself of the deep truth of your purpose. Set your intention. Then begin. Never stop beginning again. Stay woke, dear hearts. Stay in your magic.
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?