I was totally overwhelmed when I got home last night – the response was phenomenal and we had an incredible evening at the Arklow screening for Embrace. Sheer joy tiredness – that’s what’s taken me so long!
As I live about 25 minutes away from Arklow I had a full car on the way there. I brought Aisling my daughter (11), my neighbour Roseanne, and my two friends Geraldine and Christina. We greeted as many people as possible people on the way in and gave them we made up with a quote from Nayyirah Waheed on the front and 50 ways to embrace on the back. Lots of folk were early and it was magic to meet some of the people I’ve been speaking to online in real life. One lady in particular who is a friend of my co-host Momo – a girl named Lorna who has already seen Embrace where she lives in Longford, but who travelled with her daughter to see it and to support us. We’ve been talking back and forth on whatsapp the three of us and I was really looking forward to meeting her. There was lots of hugging like you mean it!
We stalled the film a few minutes as I knew one of my friends was on her way and one other person was waiting on their mum. When my friend arrived a few minutes in and sat beside me she said about 2 minutes in “I’ve been thinking I need to shed about a stone in weight.” Then paused and said, “but do you know what, not now. Fuck that! Never again!” I love that girl.
I found watching the movie a second time really hit deeper. I could watch it over and over! I felt really inspired by Taryn’s attitude and her compassion, and really sad that as women (and men too!) we have allowed ourselves to ruin our lives with caring about the wrong things. The beauty from the honesty of all the people interviewed really struck me and how we need to lift each other up in this journey rather than continuing to tear each other down. Embrace to me is about so much more than just body image – it’s a switch that got turned on for me to live my life with more compassion, kindness and love and to support others to do so to. My ideal me is me. Your ideal you is you. It truly is all beautiful and we truly need to embrace that not just in ourselves but in others also.
When the movie ended we headed straight outside as I knew the cinema was on a pretty quick turnaround. People took a while to filter out, but my goodness when they did it was amazing! The feedback was phenomenal and everyone was invigorated and inspired. One lady remarked that she couldn’t “wait to go home and just embrace EVERYTHING and tell everyone!” I literally stood outside the cinema and got hugged and hugged and hugged. People were smiling and happy and talking about how powerful it was and how it was something everybody needs to see. Many people commented that it is definitely something that should be going into schools everywhere. I believe the folks at Body Image Movement are working on that and I really hope Irish schools will see it soon.
From a group just shy of about 100 people I reckon we had three men come along. It would have been nice to see more men there, but I guess this is something men don’t struggle with in as great numbers as women. One of them has remarked since and I agree that this is still a film men need to see too.
So, after about 30 minutes we headed for the car and boy oh boy did the conversation flow on the way home! We discussed the movie and Embracing and how/what to do going forward to promote it and have some fun. So in the 25 minutes between Arklow and Wicklow we have 1) a skinny d
ip, 2) a photo shoot and 3) a calendar! I came home and sat at the computer and read the messages and posted some stuff but honestly, was so totally overjoyed that I just cried a lot and felt very lucky. I had a glass of wine and went to bed. I woke two hours later, cried a little more and then went back to sleep. I got up this morning and felt similar – the messages were waiting and the tears started to flow. They are big beautiful salty drops of joy. Not just for me but for everyone! It is very humbling to know that we’ve made a difference to so many people by bringing the movie to them.
I’m looking forward to taking this forward locally and hopefully making some joyous ways to embrace and feel alive happen for those who want them.
I’m so aware that my journey here has only just begun. Growing up with a mum who was a regular dieter and who struggled with her own body rubs off. She is a wonderful Mum but she grew up at a time when you didn’t even think about body talk – never mind embracing your body being your vehicle to the good life! She struggled with health issues and due to those problems she struggled with weight and I watched her do rigid diet after rigid diet and yo-yo her way through my teenage years especially. I remember what she used to be allowed to eat, and how Friday was always a good day on the diet – because she was allowed steak. But you know what? I don’t remember her dress size or her shape. I remember when she was happy, and when she was sad. I remember her spending part of my teenage years trying to put some weight on me because I was too thin, then much of my adult life grabbing my tummy and telling me I needed to lose a bit! For a brief time in the middle there – somewhere around 17 or 18 years old, I reckon I must have been just right because I don’t remember ever having anything said to me then. I think I’ve punished my poor and very lovely body ever since trying to get back to it. I believe I thought I was more acceptable that size – how ridiculous is that? I need to do some serious apologising and loving it back to being all mine again because I reckon I’ve done it some damage along the way. I owe it so much and I owe it to my girls to give them a healthy role model as a Mum.
So, this week/next week is me time! Walks, fresh air on beaches and in forests, maybe a swim or two, music, meditation, lots of dancing with my kids, having fun on the holidays and snuggling with the whole family. And of course, embracing it all for the magic it is.
Life really is too short for anything else.