My body has not changed much during the last 5 years.
Besides a gain in muscle mass (due to the heavy physical work I do at times) I think my body looks very similar to how it looked when I was 18 years old.
Pretty much the same. Whether that is bad or good.
What has drastically change though – is my own view upon my body.
From when I as a young adult started out hating every piece of my little skin – to finding it as a beautiful amazing part of myself – and a wonderful gift.
It has been a long process for me to change my self perspective on this subject. My previous perceptions were very strong. It took me a lot of time, self awareness and continuously practicing. But it happened! I separated myself from societies view of the body, and brought it down to were it really belongs: To beauty, to freedom, to something wild and natural.
As a teenager and early adult I felt super insecure about my body. That everything was wrong with it at times and needed to be change. My view upon it would change from day to day. One day I would wake up and feel I looked okay. “Naja you look good.”
Other days – I felt like I was so heavy and wrong that I would tell myself it was physically impossible for me to leave the bed. And so I did not, those days. I constantly wondered what I could change about my body – and how. First of all, my arms were too big. I wanted to have skinny arms.
“Why are my legs never changing from all the running I am during?”
“Why is it never possible to see my cheekbones?”
I experimented with everything from diets – hardcore training and odd squats – to simply stop eating at times. All in a search for reaching the “perfect body” ideal I had created in my head.
I think we have heard this story before.
So will cut this part here and skip to the next: The beginning. How I started changing the way I look upon myself and my own body.
Here is (very short version)– some of the things that has helped me change the way I view my own body – and myself as well
# Experiment 1: I stopped surrounding myself with people focused on “the only right body” ideal.
I stopped dating men whom only commented on – and were focused on -my body. (as having to be perfect)
I did not pay much attention to this until I started travelling and opening my horizons – but looking back in time, I did date quite a lot of guys whom were very body focused.
First of all about their own body. Most of them would spend a lot of time in the gym, working out. Drinking protein shakes and make sure their arms were big and strong.
Second of all, I started thinking about how most of these guys had complimented me through my looks. Complimenting me – talking about my body. “You look beautiful” – “Your body looks amazing” – “Wonderful dress you are wearing..”.
Some of the compliments were very nice. Most of them were actually. And well. It is always nice to have your body complimented. But I wonder now – and I started wondering then – When has the body ever had anything to do with who we are? When has it ever started defining us? Why are we letting this focusing taking over and becoming our reality – when it is nothing but that?
Why do I remember myself feeling so warm around my heart when having my body complimented?
I rarely got compliments like: “I like your idea of looking at the world like this…” or “I think your soul is beautiful because of this..” “Naja you are so hot when you say this..”
Through the comments I received from the men I was searching attraction from – and their focus on the body as something that was extremely important – I stopped being able to see that this was not real. That my body: Is not who I am. That it was not defining me in who I was as a person.
I stopped being able to see that there was a space for my body to be in any body picture as well. I only felt it more and more wrong. On the same time I was surrounded by girls whom were extremely body focused. Anorexi, eating disorders, unhealthy workout programs…
When I started travelling I naturally excluded myself from all this.
Once I noticed I was attracting this kind of body focusing myself – that I was doing it myself – and I had the time to work on my perceptions, I made my:
Experiment#2: Meeting people and dating with eyes closed.
Not said like it is written – but I stopped searching for this ‘brawn haired guitar artist guy’ I had picturing I was going to be with and instead started dating – and meeting people – differently.
I started practicing meeting people with my heart and see the beauty within. To not look at the out looking (so much).
This may sound like some hippie bullshit to you, but honestly. I practiced myself at looking at beauty differently. I went for guys who made me feel loved in their body language as well. I went searching for friends who – by just being themselves – made me feel beautiful. I would hang out with men who gave me compliments for my way of being and who I am – and not my body. (at least not all the time)
I made friends who did not necessarily have the perfect body themselves ( what is that?) – but a body they liked. A body they loved and were proud of. And I started paying attention to that a lot of the times the people who were beautiful within also always had an amazing body in my eyes. Because those things were connected. Because the body faded out and became less important.
If you stop being so focused on the outlook of the people you search attraction from – if you stop thinking that they have to look in a certain way – you will attract more people in your life who is more like this as well: less body focused. You will attract more people who feel secure about their body. They will be able to give you in return what you are giving them. Reflecting the same kind of mentality.
Practice recognizing that this kind of “body” attraction is not the attraction you need if you want to be confirmed in who you are.
Next thing I realized about my own body image was that it was extremely unbalanced. Like I said – one day I felt my body super wrong and the next day the opposite. I wanted to create a more stable picture of my body: as something that does not change over a night. As something steady.
I wanted to not have it to control me – like it was when I was telling myself I could not wear something or do something, because of my body being wrong.
Basically – I wanted to create to separate things. To create 2 worlds. A 1) Body world – 2) Naja world.
Experiment # 3: I started posing as a model for croquis (nude) painting
It happened one day in this little community on my travels that I got asked if I wanted to participate as model. The painters were searching for someone ( anyone) who could model for them in the evening.
As the adventures person I am, I said yes. “I can help!”
But after I gave them my yes – the entire day – I started regretting my answer. A lot. That day, I spend in fear. My heart was pumping. My puls was high, I was sweating and I kept walking around in my house I circles.
“How am I going to do this?” I asked myself, “… I can not do this!”
On the same time I knew I had made a promise. To myself and to the people in the community I was trying to become a part of.
I showed up at the gallery that the evening quite terrified. Probably to everyones attention I think, shy and insecure about it all. The artists made me feel comfortable – did not tell me much – but were very friendly. “just do what you feel like” they said.
The session started out fine. I was sitting on a chair, laying on a blanket on the floor (trying to hide as much as I could) or standing up.
Then, an hour in, (the painting was to take 2 hours) I started regretting my participation. I stared wishing it all could be over now.
I remember it clearly – I was on the floor in another “laying-down-position” when I started feeling extremely vulnerable with an extremely lust to run screaming out of the room. I felt like all people in the room could see right though me – That they could see how weak and insecure I felt. I felt like having a thousand knives put into my skin and pealing me to my heart. I wanted to tell them the session was over.
“Naja stop. You can not. You can not stop this now. You are going to make such a fool of yourself. You are going to loose so much respect if you stop now.” I told myself.
But the fear kept taking over. I was slowly about to start panicking inside.
“Okay, Naja, focus! Focus now. Here is your body, Naja. Your body is here! Okay? That is what these people can see. Your body! Right? Lets put it over here to the side for a moment.
Okay – Then in here, inside yourself, you now create this little circle around you. Can you do that? Yes, that kind of circle. Make it strong. Stronger! Okay now – you go inside this circle. You are now inside – and your body is outside. Focus on this. You are inside. Your body is outside.
Tell yourself this now:
My body is over there, I am inside here. I am inside, my body is outside.
I am not my body. No one can see me through my body.
I am not my body…”
And so it went on and on.. Inside this little Naja head.
Talking to myself – I slowly tried changing my focus. During that long 1 hour I talked to myself like this. Over and over. Like a mother would talk to her baby inside her stomach. And slowly I calmed myself down. I focused on how strong and powerful my little circle was and that no one ever was going to enter.
No one can ever enter.
And I continued this training till I started feeling more comfortable during the sessions and I could see my separation of my self and my body was starting to work.
# Experiment 4: I started searching for – or letting myself become a part of – events where nudity was allowed.
I started going to different festivals and events. And in some of these gatherings, being naked by the beach or walking around without much clothes on was not a weird or uncommon thing. In these gatherings people did not have a body taken from the magazines.
(They were way more beautiful! They all had there little mistakes and stories. They all were unique. They were being carried with honour and love)
Again, like I told you with the drawings, I saw this as having to be my new experiment.
This time I had to try to not be so ashamed of myself, I had to try to teach myself to just let my body be as it was.
I remember laying on the beach looking at beautiful human beings one day thinking to myself:
“Naja, if they can do it, why can you not? If they are allowed to be free, why are you not?Just take of your bra fx. That is not a big deal….. I do not care why, do not ask me why, I want to see if you can… Can that really be so difficult for you? Najaaa…. Its just breasts! Right? It is just a body. Right? Come. Just try!
Look at those people… They are beautiful!! But they are not more beautiful than you, Naja. They are beautiful because they dare. Because they are not ashamed. Because they are free and are not hiding themselves. If they can do it, you can do it. Yes!
All these different bodies in here… Do you see? Naja? Some bodies are bigger, some smaller. Some tattooed, some painted.
But, you still think all of them look just as beautiful right?.. Because …. All bodies are beautiful!! Because all beauty is not in the body!
Come!! Just try…. Just once.. Najaa…. You can always hide yourself up again afterwards. I promise. I want to see you just trying once.”
– I practice a lot of self-talking as you can see.. Haha.
I can highly recommend it. Talking to yourself when you are extremely scared and fear you can not make it, you can help yourself across.
Most importantly when self-talking is to talk with a gentle and patience voice. Do not talk bad to yourself. Do not talk down to yourself. Try to talk to yourself as if you were talking to a little kid you wanted to make to take his first jump into the pool. Like: “I know you can do it” – sort of thing. Try to feel the little kids fear – he has never jumped into open water before! This is a big thing to him. Telling him that all the other kids are doing it and he is a failure for not haven done it yet it not going to help.
And so – the more I practiced and the more I forced ( and helped!) myself to jump – I started being able to see the changes. I started feeling freer inside myself and in my body.
Do not misunderstand me – I am not talking about getting to a point where one have to walk around naked all day long (.. some days at home I would do it though.. ) –
I am talking about bringing oneself to the point where we could if we would.
Where you do not have to worry about the body as being such a ballast as it can be for us at times ( when it takes up so much of our energy)
I personally brought myself to a point where I was capable of taking my clothes of without any shame.
This is the point we should get to! Not being ashamed. Not necessarily having to – but being capable of – being naked. Alone and with others. Because it is damn natural. It is a body you guys! we all have one.
I brought myself to a point where I could let body be body and Naja be Naja – and where both things really were quite okay. Where I actually enjoyed setting my body free and not having to hide it up. Where i enjoyed being naked with myself as well.
# Experiment 5: I started worshipping my own body
This 4th chapter my sound a bit strange, when thinking about how I first started talking about that the focus on the body should become less – not bigger.
Well. I believe in a creating a bigger focus on what is happening on the inside and outside within myself. I believe in worshipping everything inside and outside. In the way I believe you should worship everything inside and outside you.
By this I mean – that everything that is apart of me has to be taken care of once in a while and worshipped. My soul – I have to write. My pain – I have to dance. My health – I have to treat myself with healthy food. And so. Not every day of course. But on a regular basis.
In this way, I believe in worshipping the body as well. Treating it good, looking at it nicely, telling it is beautiful and do things to make it look pretty and feel loved
Dress it up like a warrior, princess, magician ( or whatever things you could think of as being funny)
Fx – I love body painting. I always carry a little wallet with body paint with me. On days where I start to feel disconnected to my body, I decorate it. I know it sounds crazy but really this is how I do it:
I go to the bathroom and take my brush. I do not think to much.
(Actually I try everything I can to not make myself think)
I put come nice colors out. Red, blue, green.. And glitter as well. ( oh myyy, when is glitter not awesome?) Then …. – I start to paint! I try not to think what I paint, or how it looks, I paint what I feel. Sometimes I feel like my heart is hurting. Then I paint a bleeding heart on my breast.
Sometimes I feel like I am a warrior. Then I paint my face as if was taken out of the new “Viking” movie. Other times I feel like I am missing some glamour, then I cover myself up in glitter.
This is just one way of doing “the worshipping” part.
I also like to dance alone naked. No mirrors and no one around. As I let myself surrender to the dance – and my body to dance as it wants – I start to feel how great my body actually feels – when I am not controlling it. When it is just flowing with itself. When I can crawl around on the floor and let my hands touch my beautiful skin. Fx.
I could go on…
But this is my point!
I guess only our imagination can put a limit to what kind of crazy experiments and worshipping we can do! This was just some of the things I did to help myself – but find your own. Find some things that appeals scary to you (not too scary) – and just try to force yourself a bit. Every time a little more. Fear is not real. It is all mind created. But it can be changed.
It is beautiful what you can change with you mind.
My life has turned into this… Just experiments, a game. If I can change my perspective on my self – so can you!
Look at this. This a photo of my leg taken 6 months ago. Showing how the scars look like today I made over 5 years ago. A photo of something I use to do to my body.
Look at this. This is me a month ago running on a beach in Norway.
You are beautiful!!!
OWN yourself and YOUR body!!
YOU are NOT (!!) you body!!!
But both your body AND you mind – is beautiful! Set. Them. Free!
YES you can do it! If I can do it, so can you.
I know you can!