This week I’ve invited my friend, Sheri Ponzi to share a guest post with you. Enjoy!
Hi. I’m Sheri Ponzi. I am 5 feet 2 inches tall. I weigh more than 180 pounds. And I recently shared a nude photo of myself with more than 100 women in an online group.
It was terrifying.
And I would do it again in a second.
I’ve been uncomfortable with my body for most of my life. Going on almost 44 years now. You know that mix of shame and loathing and disgust that women carry about being overweight (or underweight, or too short, or too tall, or too pale, or too dark, or…)?
Except for a brief period in late 2007 and early 2008 when I was at my “ideal” weight, I’ve always yearned for my body to be different. Spent decades of my life wishing my body was different.
Thinner. Better. Sexy. Acceptable. Beautiful. Deserving of love.
You know the drill, right? You’ve been there too.
In a lifetime of transformative work, this “body image issue” is, in many ways, a final frontier for me.
Over the past several years I have transformed my life in such a way that I LOVE every bit of it. My work. My love life. My living space. All of it.
I. Love. Everything. About. It.
Seriously, I cannot remember the last time I dreaded something I had to do.
And then there is my body. (Maybe my last statement wasn’t 100% true.)
Until recently, I dreaded getting out of the shower.
Getting out of the shower in the morning could sometimes reduce me to tears. Getting out of the shower meant I had to dry off and get dressed. Getting out of the shower meant I had to actually be present with my body. Getting out of the shower would bring up the deepest reservoirs of pain and shame and longing to be different.
So, given the level of discomfort and shame I carry about my body, what in the world made me share a nude photo of myself in a public forum?
I still don’t fully know the answer to that, but here’s the short version: My body told me to.
This luscious, fleshy vehicle I move around in all day wanted to be seen. She knew that if I allowed her to be seen by other eyes, her beauty would be reflected back to me.
See, I am in the midst of holding space for a Goddess art and healing course. Our most recent lesson involved painting a watercolor version of our naked selves. This opportunity allowed for all sorts of body image issues to come to the surface. Women were feeling ashamed of their bodies. Too scared to do the lesson.
And in the midst of this my body whispered to me that if I shared her, I would receive a deep healing and be a beacon for others to love their own flesh.
So, I did it. As terrified as I was, I posted a black and white, slightly fuzzy photo of my naked body to the members of the class. And I offered the suggestion that they could use me as a model.
Let me tell you, as soon as I posted the picture I had a moment of terror. And just as quickly it turned to a beautiful softness toward my body. And next came an immense sense of relief.
No more hiding. No more pretending I was different than I was. Everything was revealed.
Deep belly breath. Release.
As I painted my likeness I lost all sense of judgement and easily love her form. Here are the words I shared with the class about my experience painting my naked self:
“…while I am painting, I am in love with the lines and the form and the colors. Really in love and excited about the shading and the flow and the curves.
And then I step back and feel judgmental about the heaviness for about a half-second. Then I notice the exquisite beauty in the form. The interesting lines and curves and undulations.”
That experience of seeing the beauty in my physical form was intensely healing for me.
Next came the response from the group. It was completely humbling. I spent the entire day close to tears. Even more than their beautiful descriptions of my 180+ pound, obese body: “undulating”, “gorgeous”, “a true goddess”, “own your beauty”, “incredible portals to infinity”; and their kind words about my decision to share: “brave”, “amazing”, “courageous”, “inspiring” — I was struck by the healing it provided them about their own bodies.
So many of them wrote to me online and off to tell me that seeing my naked body made them reassess their own gorgeous selves. I received so many lovely variations of “Thank you, that image could be me, and you helped me to see my own beauty”.
And for many it provided the courage they needed to go ahead and paint a likeness of their own uniquely beautiful body. That calls for a celebration!!
What a transformation for us all, inspired by the whispered wisdom of my own body. Completely unexpected. Completely worth the risk it took to share.
I am now one HUGE step closer to loving her unconditionally.
What wisdom is your body whispering to you?
More About Goddess Sheri…
Sheri Ponzi: I am a playful and spirited teacher, artist, and heart-centered transformational guide. I invite you to journey with me into the heights of your Divine nature and the depths of your truest self. You can find out more about my online art and spirit courses, my artwork, and my journey at www.paintingherselfintobeing.com.