To celebrate International Women’s Day this year my work held a free screening of the documentary ‘Embrace‘ at our local cinemas. I had heard great things about it so decided to invite my sister and Mum along for a girls night out. The film is brilliantly done with a good balance of seriousness and humour. If you haven’t yet seen it, I highly recommend you do. I was a bit worried that the film might be a bit preachy, and to be honest, I was also a bit worried that I might not relate to it. Because here’s the thing, I’ve never had to battle with my weight in the traditional sense. I’ve never struggled with weight gain or trying to lose weight. But yes, I did still relate to the film, because even if I’ve never worried about being ‘too big’ I’ve certainly still had my fair share of body issues.
Case in point; I have a big nose. There’s no denying it, there’s no missing it, I have a big nose and I also have crooked teeth with pointy little fangs that a boy in high school once told me looked like I’d stuck two tic tacs to the top of my gums. I spent many years trying to perfect my smile without showing my teeth. It always looked awkward. And I’m naturally thin…oh yeah, I see you rolling your eyes sarcastically thinking ‘gee you poor thing’ but I can tell you that it was well into my mid twenties before I began to wear skirts or shorts due to being so self-conscious about my so called ‘chicken legs’. I was thirteen when a girl in my class began tormenting over those chicken legs, screaming out ‘anorexic’ across the courtyard every time she saw me. I quickly took to wearing pants, even on thirty plus degree days. That became a bit of a problem when I switched to a private catholic school a few years later and school dresses were mandatory for girls during summer. I wore them long, under sufferance and great awkwardness. Skinny shaming is totally a thing; I cannot begin to tell you the amount of strangers that have told me I need to ‘eat more’ or ‘put some meat on my bones’ like they actually know how much I eat! Pretty sure they would never dare tell a larger person to eat less so I wonder why they think it’s ok to comment on my weight?
I know someone who commented that the Embrace movie was sending the message to people that it’s ok to be ‘fat and unhealthy’. Umm, no, that person totally missed the whole point! The point is ,health and weight are not synonymous. You can be considered a ‘bigger’ person and still be really healthy. You can also be thin and be unhealthy. It’s not about weight, it’s simply not. It’s about learning to love our bodies and being kind to ourselves. It’s about the things we say to ourselves and the messages we send to our kids. As Nora Tschirner (German actress) says in the film “My body is my home. It’s my soul’s mate”. So take care of it, love it, embrace it. I’m learning to.
Have you seen Embrace? What did you think?