Why folding my arms was about so much more

There was a time in my life where I perfected the art of folding my arms to hide my stomach.  When you fold your arms, where do they naturally rest? Against your rib cage? Yes, mine too, but for years I spent time folding my arms and then adjusting them just a few inches lower so they instead rested against my stomach.I was so insecure about the way I looked (and about my stomach in particular) I wanted to hide myself as much as possible.  At a party? Folding my arms. Talking to a friend? Folding my arms. In line at the grocery store? Folding my arms.

I was literally creating the most defensive, closed off posture I could because of insecurity and anxiety. Instead of talking freely with someone at a party, my mind was on my arms and my stomach--was I hidden enough, disguised enough? I carried that stance with me for decades.

I tell you this not to make you feel bad for me, but because I want you to know I did not always feel as comfortable as I do now.  I certainly did not imagine myself someday leading group runs in my sports bra and definitely didn’t think I would ever willingly share photos of such an event. So if you had a time where you didn’t feel comfortable, and maybe that time is right now, you can get to a better place with this. And your body doesn’t have to change first to let that happen.  It’s very much about mindset and how we see ourselves and actually has very little to do with what other people think. And it’s possible for you even if you have been carrying insecurity around with you for years like I did.

But what it takes is first recognizing we have been taught to feel ashamed of our “imperfections” instead of seeing them as simply human. We have been taught that we should look a certain way because our value is tied to our appearance. But when we recognize those key things, we get to release them. It takes work and introspection and examination of the messages we receive, but that’s when the magic starts to happen.

Jessie BarnesComment