Have you ever thought about what it would feel like to be okay with your body?
Up until less than a year ago, this was a completely alien concept to me. I thought that my body was made for nothing but hatred, and punishment, and loathing and restriction and resentment.
I thought that I didn’t deserve to feel okay with my body, because it was so far away from what it ‘should’ be. Because it had caused me so much emotional pain for so long.
It’s only in the past 6 months or so that I’ve learned – guess what? You don’t have to hate your body. You don’t have to love it either, because I know how hard that can seem – but you can accept it. You can feel free to be okay with it.
Now wouldn’t that feel like a weight being lifted off your shoulders?
One of the reasons I’ve come so far with accepting my body (I’m not there yet, but have made vast amounts of progress) is by getting involved with body positive (and that’s truly body positive) media and communities.
A while back, my friend Lorna invited to me to join a Facebook group called ‘Free to be OK with Me’. I hadn’t heard of it before, but was intrigued as I was just getting into this stuff. I answered some questions and joined the group and was amazed to see they’d already shared a few things from this blog. I was so comforted to find a community of people in the same headspace as me, fighting for the same feelings about their body and their self that I was.
I went along to a film screening that the group put on too. It was a showing of Embrace, a body image documentary, and I got to meet the group’s founder Lauren Coulman and get to be in a room (in real life, imagine that!) of incredible men and women who just, well, got it.
Free To Be OK With Me (FTBOWM) is a local body politics collective aiming to shine a light on what it means to be okay with your body. Including issues like gender, race, sexuality, weight stigma, mental health, period issues and so much more, the FTBOWM campaign is exploring what it means to tackle body shame, and society’s preconceptions around what’s okay when it comes to our bodies.
I’m so so delighted to share them with you, and to share their latest project – a video launch that delves into body issues as varied as their community, and starts the conversation about why all kinds of people are ‘free to be okay’. It includes stories from 12 members of the FTBOWM movement.
Have a watch!
Project curator and body-positive campaigner Jen Eastwood developed the powerful but heart-warming video series to deliver on FTBOWM’s mission to enable agency and acceptance over bodies, bringing to the forefront the variety of body issues that people experience, and that the group explore individually and collectively through their online group.
“Everyone deserves to feel good about themselves, without risk of judgement or persecution. In this world of social media, everything and everyone is open to constant criticism and I wanted something that would open people’s eyes to the variety of challenges FTBOWM fights for. Joining the community has been life-changing following my own personal battles, and I wanted the video to reflect the power that body positivity has. I’m so proud of everyone who took part. It was an emotional day but the love in the room at the end proved why it’s so necessary”
Lauren Coulman is the founder of the FTBOWM movement, and she says:
“Facing into these body issues can be deeply discomforting – it’s not easy wiping off your eyebrows in public, or showing your surgical scars to a room of strangers, never mind admitting your kink preferences – but sharing, exposing and normalising these experiences is what our community of campaigners, artists and storytellers does best in having people explore, challenge and accept that all bodies – their own and others – are ok”
This is just the beginning.
With future body inspired events, art projects and campaigning planned, this inclusive and active group is one to watch, support and get involved with, and their close-knit and friendly Facebook community page is the place to start.
Traction is already building around the FTBOWM movement and I’m so happy to be a part of the community.
Thank you so much to Lauren, Jen, the whole FTBOWM community, and Lorna for introducing me to it. These groups, these people, this mindset – it’s the future. We can all build it, together.