That feeling in the forest, when you sense a rhythm and knowing larger and wiser than your little anxious brain. The ferns, trees, fungi and mosses are running on ancient time and knowing, that breathes so slowly, inhaling our our exhales into the earth. In the forest, I feel like my body can remember that it is not the silly thinking of groups of people trying to sell things and prove things that are in charge. It is thoughts so old and expansive I don’t even know the words. In the forest, my body can remember how to be cared for.
This is my fourth illustration considering the body as an organism in ‘Botanical Bodies.’ Also a moment to consider that all bodies deserve access to nature without judgement, and that our current sizeist culture is a barrier to this. Many folks in large bodies cannot access equipment or sizes they need to take part in nature based activities, and / or are treated negatively when occupying these spaces. All people, in all bodies, should feel welcomed in nature spaces without a lens of healthism or fitness imposed upon them.
I recently had the good fortune of visiting Nootka Elementary School for an author visit with art workshops to follow. I was also able to include an introduction to media literacy in the presentation, which was followed by some fantastic discussion with students! It was so fun to hang out with these kids, read The Body Book, and make artwork about their favourite things to do in their bodies.
I love this activity because it shifts the emphasis on how our bodies look to how it feels to be in them, from a perspective of judgment to one of gratitude. It also culminates in a beautiful gallery of diverse bodies to decorate the class with!
Below I included some photos of the artwork in process. These images contain so much joy and imagination. I love helping kids to visualize their bodies in a positive way.
So excited to announce the release of ‘I Love the Shape of Me,’ a song to accompany The Body Book! I dream of kids (and parents) getting this song about loving their own unique bodies and shape stuck in their heads.
Thank you so much to Corinne Hansen for her amazing vocals, the talented Dario Scaramuzza for animating, and Julian Marrs for instrumentation, recording, mixing, and mastering!
Jill Andrew, PhD (ABD), is a prolific woman with a mission. She is a body positive activist, writer, educator, fashion blogger, co-creator of the Body Confidence Canada Awards, founder/director of BITE ME! Toronto Int’l Body Image Film & Arts Festival Awards, and spearhead a petition going to the Ontario Human Rights Commission to make discrimination based on size and appearance illegal. She wants to end fat shaming, and change our culture into one that accepts and celebrates all bodies, not to mention the people in them.
After learning about the Body Confidence Canada Awards, I wanted to connect with Jill and let her know about The Body Book, thinking it could be an educational tool to help the cause. Kindly and bewilderingly given her full schedule, Jill found some time to share her thoughts. In my opinion, she summed up perfectly why I feel this book is needed.
“Roz Maclean’s The Body Book is a welcomed edition to the Body Positivity Movement! MacLean seamlessly demonstrates that everyBODY has a story and that each and every one of our bodies not only deserves respect but should be acknowledged and celebrated as the only one we’re going to get! Our bodies usher us into the world, make us better community citizens and allow us to develop healthier and stronger relationships with our loved ones. We may look and move differently in these bodies of ours but what we can all do is appreciate one another and admire each others journeys in the skin we are in! Through the use of vivid colour and fun imagery, MacLean’s characters reach countless readers as they are not defined by any one gender or race, for instance. This allows a transcending of stereotypes which truly provides the opportunities for each of us – young and old – to ‘find’ each of these bodies within our very own.”
Thanks Jill for your thoughts, I look forward to following your incredible work. I encourage everyone to do the same!