Talking Bodies: A Safe Space for Powerful Stories
Written by Samie Acevado

Hello, friends! My name is Samie Acevedo, and I am the founder of Talking Bodies. I started this little community in hopes of disrupting toxic beauty standards. It feels so grandiose saying, “I started this,” because to be honest, I am simply someone who shares their thoughts on social media and messages people saying, “Hey! Want to meet at a park once a month and talk about toxic beauty standards and how can we learn to overcome them?” 

Okayyyy, I’ll admit, there is a little more to it. I have dedicated the last ten years of my life studying, reflecting, discussing, and listening to stories about body image and how that influences how we move through the world and live our lives. I have always wondered, “Why is it that how we feel about how our body LOOKS affects what we actually DO or DON’T DO in our lives? Why do we place more value in our aesthetics than what our bodies can physically accomplish? And how can we change negative narratives in our minds?” 

We all have a relationship with our body that started at the beginning of our existence. A relationship that is constantly evolving. For some of us, there is a particular moment when we became painfully conscious of our bodies. If we close our eyes, we can time travel back to the moment when we learned to become self-conscious. We remember when that boy teased us for having chicken legs. We remember when we were eight years old, our relatives made comments about how our butt was too big and it was provocative (umm, hello! Sorry, not sorry some of us had a booty since the moment we left the womb). For many of us, our bodies became subjects of others’ perceptions, and those perceptions have shaped our identity and influence how we see ourselves to this day. 

The topic of body image and body perception is deeply personal and something that myself and many other individuals struggle with in silence. Because of impossible standards of beauty that mass media perpetuates and our society culturally and financially validates, so many people are not able to be their authentic selves. The paralyzing fear of being seen, the shame of not having the “perfect body,” stops us from getting the most out of everything life has to offer. Body size, weight, race, and body ability should not determine the levels of joy, freedom, and pleasure we get to experience in our lifetime. 

Many of us believe that we are alone in how we feel about our bodies and we struggle in silence. After listening to so many stories, it has become so obvious that we are NOT alone. While our experiences are uniquely our own, we have more in common than we think. We share so many fears and perceived insecurities, it is proof that these similar negative thoughts are NOT a coincidence. We aren’t “crazy” or being “too sensitive,”  we have just learned to talk and think negatively about ourselves. But, just like we consciously and subconsciously learned the language of negativity, we can unlearn it. 

In case no one has told you lately, absolutely no person or entity has the permission to make you feel bad about yourself. No one will make a profit from the pain they instilled in us. 

Not if I can help it. 

That is why I launched Talking Bodies. I hope that the Talking Bodies’ group discussions creates a safe space to learn, reflect, and share our stories (If people choose to share. There is also power in simply listening). By talking about our experiences, we can challenge toxic perceptions of beauty and take control of our narrative. We can realize that there is no need to “love your flaws” because we don’t have flaws when it comes to our outward perception. We are who we are, as we are. And that is enough. 

For the meet-ups, we gather once a month at a local park in San Diego, CA, and anyone can join our group talks. If you are not located in San Diego and are interested in this topic or have a story you would like to share, please feel free to follow @tlkbodies or me @sam1iam on Instagram. Most, if not all, content is related to this topic, and announcements for group talks and special events, are shared on those accounts.

I have also created a link called Talking Body Confessionals. This is a completely anonymous form, where you can share how they feel about yourself and your body. What you love about your body, what you wish you could change, your frustrations, your joys. Comments people made that hurt you or made you frustrated. If you are having a bad day and feeling down about your body, write it down here! Share it in a safe, anonymous space and let it go. If you are feeling so proud about what your body can do, share it here! Share your love with us! Our stories are powerful, and sharing them is powerful and healing. 

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