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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I'm Sexy and I KNOW IT!

I was asked to participate in a workshop series for young women on body image, media, and self-esteem. Self-esteem is defined as how much people value themselves, the pride they feel in themselves, and how worthwhile they feel. The emphasis in the media and in the fashion and entertainment industries over the last 50 years on thinness and on "the ideal female body shape and size" has been detrimental to the well-being of many women physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
My role was to ask the question, "What does sexy mean to you?," facilitate an exploration of decades of outside influences that have affected generational attitudes, and help identify inner strengths which can help this generation of young women develop healthy self-esteem and body image. We first studied the media messages that women receive, and agreed that we are most definitely urged to believe that in order to be loved, cared for, respected, and appreciated, we have to give away some part of ourselves, whether it be through the baring of our bodies, or the emptying of our minds and spirits. My goal was to establish enough self-awareness, self-love, trust of their intuition, and belief in our true essence to counter-act these media messages.

On the second day, we entered a judgement-free zone and debated whether or not when a young woman chooses to wear clothing that is body conscious and revealing of her figure, is she doing so because she is feeling loving toward herself, confident, and appreciative of her body – or is she wearing it to evoke a response and elicit a feeling that she needs from someone outside of herself?

And, if something is worn for the purposes of getting a response, then is she giving away her power and simply reflecting the contempt that is self-inflicted? And (here is the good part) what is the nature, and value, of that power?

These young women ranged in age from 16-19 years old. It was a very intense time. I felt as if I were attending a birth. There was struggle, and pain, fear... and there was joy and transformation. I was blown away!

They eventually defined "sexy" as The Secret Knowing. (I love it!) The Secret Knowing is essentially the belief that one is completely loveable, appreciated, and valuable "as is." And it is the ability to stand in that belief regardless of the opinions of others.  And they came to this treasure on their own (well, I was there). So, have faith in the children, my friends. Given the opportunity to discover the voice of their inner knowing, they do! Here is the list they created, edited to be concise:

What Sexy Means to Me:
• Sexy is a feeling of knowing oneself that ends up generating an energy flow to others
• Sexy is relaxing in the fact that you are a magnificent creation, fabulous and perfect, just as you are. Sexy is being comfortable in your own skin no matter the color or condition.
• Sexy is knowing that the subtle nuances of your being and presence is enough
• Sexy the ability to adorn yourself in the apparel and surroundings that are reflective of your inner voice, but having that voice does not rely on external accessories.
• Sexy is loving yourself first. And, from that power, creating the image of what your spirit wishes to represent and create in the world.

The group agreed that the goal is to exude such an energy that people are drawn to you. And that the best energy for the job is love – not status or flash. Define yourself, be yourself, love yourself. Be sexy, allow yourself to feel sexy, open up to your sensuality. But understand that being sexy is not about size, clothing, or status. It is simply about being who you are and moving confidently and lovingly in that. That's Oshun Spirit!

If others are in admiration beyond that, then you have simply caused the world to be a more beautiful place!

May you be blessed!

image credit: hawgsite.com

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