We can say that right? That’s how we are, isn’t it?
At the end of all this talk about bodies and the business of beauty, about what we feel and what we want to feel, about what we control and what is out of our control, isn’t the most profound thing we’ve come away with after a semester of walking together completely unrelated to our bodies? Isn’t the most profound thing what we created for ourselves and what we created together?
Here is what I saw and felt each week when we gathered together: over and over again, during every single class—from snack time to lecture, from discussion to welcoming guests—you practiced and lived the two most fundamental truths, the truths that if we embraced as global practices would change everything: you were true to yourselves and you belonged to each other. Here is the truth that it sometimes takes us our whole lives to learn: in the end, all we really have isn’t the stuff we acquire or the accolades we receive or even how we look. What matters—all that matters- are the relationships we have created with ourselves and the love and belonging we offer each other.
Not the superficial type of belonging to ourselves that is still trying to convince us of our worth but the kind of burgeoning self-acceptance that is beginning to really own the truth that we are worthy and enough just as we are. And not the “Hey, I have a class with them” type of belonging to each other but the kind of deep belonging that made you have to snap your fingers when someone said something that you just felt in your soul, the kind of deep belonging that said made you stay up late at night or wake up early in the morning to cook elaborate snacks for your classmates to show your appreciation, the kind of deep belonging that let you tell that secret, the kind of deep belonging that reassured each other across space, the kind of deep belonging that meant you took out your phones and showed each other pictures of your dogs, the kind of deep belonging that listened, rapt and then nodded in recognition.
You saw yourselves. You began to hear yourselves. You decide to make way for something different in your relationship with yourself.
You saw one another. You heard one another. You understood, even if it wasn’t your same story.
And here is what I want you to know.
This magic that you created in your soul and in this classroom was special. But it wasn’t special because it has to be rare. It is special because so rarely do we dare to source it out of ourselves and offer it to both ourselves and to others. The world and our wounds have scared us away from that. And then you walked into this space, this sanctuary, that you each committed to making safe and holding sacred for not just others but yourselves; when we did that together, we created a world where we each could be who we unequivocally are. This was our formula: decide that this kind of space is what we wanted, offered ourselves in a way that created that kind of space, received what others were offering, and repeat.
So here is what you most know; what I want your growing self-acceptance to reassure you, you are worthy and enough and necessary and you have so much of that magic inside of you that you could make this world shine if you dared. And we are ready for you—for each one of you—to dare. You need your daring and the world needs your daring, too. Go and fill the world with your magic, recreate this space and experience and feeling everywhere and, always, first of all, for yourself.
If this classroom taught you anything, let it be that your unique gifts are a necessity in this world, let it be a delight in your magic, let it be the courage to let this magic out wherever you go, thereby offering your gifts to the world and helping it heal.
You are here on purpose, dear one. And your magic, your purpose has been glimpsed here. Know that it has not just been seen, it has been appreciated, it is necessary, and you both belong wherever you end up and can offer belonging to all those you encounter.
Go. Be brave. Feed your soul. Feed each other. See. Hear. Listen. Understand. Knit us together. Heal our souls. I believe you. I believe in you. Spill 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?