– Karine Gibouleau, Val-David

I love flowers! They are absolutely beautiful! They have come through a long journey of life from seed in the soil to bright light. They shine in the sun, dance in the wind and rejoice under the rain. I love feeling like a flower! Their colors are delightful, their fragility makes them so intense. But women are not only flowers…

I have wanted to be the flower our culture wants women to be or rather, that they want us to look like forever.

In my inner landscape, there’s a time for flower blooming but also for deep and profound roots, solid trunk, my leaves fall when times come, I’m muddy and I drink the rain with no reserve. I’m the seed, the root, the leaves, the flower and the fruit. I’m whole and don’t exist to be beautiful, though I am!!!

I come from a great mystery of life anchored in billions of years of life evolution that gives no shit about my look and my size. I am blood, bones, tissues, flesh and fat made from all elements. I am magic, I am alive!

Unfortunately, I have not been raised to think and feel like this, neither by my culture, family or friends. Other animals, plants, trees and wild women have taught me that. And because, somehow, in quite a mysterious way also, I started gaining weight when I was 3 years old, from that moment our culture started to be mean as hell to me. My family was mean to me, my friend, my lovers and my own self have been.

This is a deep wound that still hurts. But I have come across a long journey that brought me to understand that our culture is wounded, people that judge me and reject me are wounded, people judge and hate themselves because they are wounded. Life comes in many sizes, forms and shapes and a culture that values image like we do, and only one, is self-destructive. Vitality doesn’t lie in image.

My mom, who I admire coming from her own difficult life journey of receiving hatred, was so mean to me. She wished I stayed the flower our culture wanted me to be. I grew up being bullied, rejected and receiving no support at home to help me go through those social dynamics. I found refuge inside of me, in my own world. The words and behaviors of my mom were the most hurtful.  « You would be so beautiful if you lost weight, you could be a model. », « Don’t eat that (and that and that and that) you’ll regret it. », « You don’t fit in into anything.». My mom was quite thin but hated her body so much. She could say in front of me, with hatred ; « I look like big fat pig. ». I grew up as a teenager with the picture of Claudia Sheiffer in bikini posted on the fridge for my mom to resist eating, to achieve her weight loss goal; coming back to the size she was before she gave birth to me and my brother. This is soooooooooo so sad.

Today I would love to tell my mom, my grandmothers and all women of my lineage, all the way back to those wild women we come from, that we are seeds, roots, plants, flowers and fruits…and compost!

I love myself for the great mystery I am, but some minutes, hours or days, I don’t. Culture has invaded me, it lives within me but I won’t let it kill my seedling, rooting, growing, BLOSSOMING!

For I wish to dance freely, as I am already, but now and forever, more and more.
Love in every breath.

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