Radical Self Acceptance - by Molly Pettis Reid

A friend of mine sent Molly Reid's powerful performance to me about a month ago. I was so moved that I wrote to Molly and asked her to share her story on The Healing Wall. This is a woman who deeply understands, what Brene Brown calls "the power of vulnerability." In her performance, Molly stands in a busy shopping center dressed in only her underwear, arms outstretched with markers and a sign: 

I stand for all who desire to love their bodies because all bodies are valuable, deserve respect, love, and acceptance. Please draw a heart on me to show support.

I wanted to know how she got to such a radical  place of self acceptance. Here is Molly's story:

I haven’t always been so friendly with my body.  As a matter of fact I can hardly remember a time when I wasn’t in a battle with it.  At a very young age I learned that my body wasn’t acceptable.  I dieted, over exercised, starved and binged on unhealthy food.  I tried to change my body and found that it rebelled riotously.  It grew bigger, got sick and I grew angrier.  

Then a few years ago I got tired of not liking myself, of being angry with my body for not being what other people told me it should be.  I was exhausted and sad.  I began to wonder what would happen if I just accepted that this was my body and it deserved love and kindness. It deserved to be well fed and exercised and to feel pleasure.  I wondered what would happen if instead of hating my body I loved it and was thankful for it.  And so began my grand experiment.  

It may have taken some 40 years but I began to treat my body, myself as valuable.  I threw out all my frumpy clothes – clothes in which I had I tried to hide under and disappear.  I bought clothes that actually fit and felt good to wear. I began to eat good food that I liked.  I looked at myself again.  I stood in the mirror and actually admired myself.  I noticed my heart shaped face and my big beautiful green eyes.  I love my collarbones.  I appreciated my great gams too.  Thanks to my mom who had great skin and fabulous legs.  Some days I even like my belly – as round and squishy as it is. Really, I do.

It isn’t always easy but here I am and this is my home.  It’s the only one I am ever going to have in this life anyway.  I tend it.  I exercise and move it. I run and walk and do yoga.  I love to dance.  It may have taken 40 something years but here I am.  We all know what is good for us and what is not even if we don’t admit it.  We know when we are treating our bodies with gratitude and appreciation.  Really we do.  You know.  I know.  I don’t have to tell you what is good for you and you don’t have to tell me what is good for me.  

Instead of dismissing what our body is telling us we need to listen.   When we need rest we need to rest and when we need exercise, exercise.  Taking the time to eat good food and not easy food is important.  Treating ourselves to a slice of cake or latte with real milk can be rejuvenating.  We do deserve pleasure.  Our bodies crave it.  Dance, hold you head up and walk with confidence and look people in the eye.  And allow your self to be seen, admired and touched.  It doesn’t happen over night but with practice and patients and openness to your own value it happens.

Our bodies and our souls can be friends.

You can join Molly on her Facebook Page:

Infinite Possibilities for Curvy Women

or email her at mpettisreid@yahoo.com

Please show Molly love by commenting below. One commenter will receive a copy of Glennon Doyle Melton's book:

Carry, On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life

Alison Buehler

Alison Buehler

The Healing Wall is a project designed to share stories of transformation. These are rare stones in our society. We are not good at change, even though it is the one constant. I've heard at least 85% of alcoholics never get sober. The majority of people with heart problems continue an unhealthy diet. Most people with mental illness medicate for life. People with anger problems die mad. Most of us hang on desperately to our deepest wounds. But, every once in a blue moon, something shifts. Once in a great while, a small miracle occurs and a cocoon opens revealing a completely transformed creature. These are the stories I want to mine for wisdom on The Healing Wall.