Sonya Renee Taylor – The Body Is Not An Apology
As the founder and Radical Executive Officer of The Body is Not An Apology, a digital media and education company committed to radical self-love as the foundation for social justice, I am reminded today why this radical self-love work is necessary. Radical self-love is at its core, about healing, our relationships with our bodies and with other bodies in the world. Without healing, we are inevitably destined to be what we say we want abolished. Notice I didn’t say we will become. I am offering that we already are, not because we are awful humans but because we have been stewing in a cauldron of racism, patriarchy, sexism, misogyny, homo & transphobia, ableism, and violence since our arrival on this planet. We did not come here with these ills, but we were immediately surrounded by them. Prejudice, bigotry and injustice are in us because we have always been in it. To bring forth the world we say we want; a just, equitable, and compassionate world, we must be willing to constantly look at how we are replicating these systems of violence (or what The Body is Not An Apology calls body terrorism) in all we do. Again, the question is not “if” we are replicating these systems but “how”. Whether we like it or not we always are. The true test of our work toward liberation will not be between ourselves and the external systems of oppression. It will always be between ourselves and our selves.
If the work of radical self-love is ultimately the work of healing my relationship with myself then my daily assignment is to figure out how to put it into practice in my daily life, to apply it as a salve to the hurts and pains of my actual experiences. On the days I awake feeling unchosen I have an opportunity to apply the salve of radical self-love. When I am wondering why no one ever “picks” me. When I am deep in the clay of feeling unchosen what I am being offered is the chance to say, “I CHOOSE ME!”
I choose this hard working, hard loving, relentless, tenacious, healing, healed, committed, audacious, generous, kind beautiful woman. I choose me in all my perfect ordinariness and all my over-the-top ostentatiousness. I choose me in these sweat pants and shirt with yesterday’s red Thai curry stains on it. I choose me in a ball gown, on a stage, behind a podium and at a small cafe table alone in a foreign country. The work of radical self-love is to remind myself that I am on divine assignment to bring my unique gifts to the planet. Applying radical self-love means remembering that I have the life I have today because I was chosen for it. This knowledge brings me into greater awareness of the truth that we all were chosen to be here on this planet, at this time, in these bodies, to bring forth our inimitable powers in service toward one another. In recognition of this truth, every day we get to choose ourselves and each other. And what could be more radical than that?