Published on: Tuesday, January 10, 2023 Takoma Park Newsletter

Body Positivity and Acceptance in the Face of January


It’s that time of year when you turn on a TV, radio, or streaming service to hear someone try to sell you a gym membership,
diet plan, or supplement. January is a vulnerable month. We get a “reset,” but what can we reasonably expect to change? And why do we so often expect it to be our bodies?

I know that a single article cannot overpower the pervasive messaging of diet culture, but let this be one place where someone
says that you don’t have to change your body or aspire to change it because it belongs to you, and you are enough.

The late, great Carrie Fisher once said, “My body is my brain bag, it hauls me around to those places & in front of faces where there’s something to say or see.”** Allow me to invite you to haul your brain bag to the Library in 2023 to check out some materials that eschew diet culture, have positive messaging, and generally resist exploiting our insecurities.


Reconciling with corporeality:
I saw a tweet the other day where someone said, “How do I teach my body that my fight or flight response is supposed to be for life or death situations, not answering an email,” and it hit home. These books may help find ways to be more comfortable in your body and navigate the world from within it.

  • Your Body Is Not an Apology, by Sonya Renee Taylor is a book about accepting our physical selves as a way to address social inequality.
  • The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, by Bessel van der Kolk, MD reminds the reader that trauma is not what happens to you; it’s how your body reacts to it.
  • Reclaiming Body Trust: A Path to Healing & Liberation, by Hilary Kinavey, teaches us why and how to develop trust in our bodies, despite the messaging we receive from the outside world.
  • The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, & Healing in a Toxic Culture, by Gabor Maté, MD – Dr. Maté is not without his critics or controversy, but the way he connects how the body feels with our emotional state is compelling.

Self-care in a world that has endless demands of you:

  • Rest Is Resistance: A Manifesto, by Tricia Hersey – this book is from the Nap Bishop herself. It’s also worth following the Nap Ministry on social media if you benefit from regular reminders to take a break. **raises hand**
  • Notes on a Nervous Planet, by Matt Haig is a collection of thoughts about modern life by someone who has publicly struggled with mental illness and has found resourceful ways to cope.

If you have a complicated relationship with the concept of “resilience:”

  • Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, by Emily and Amelia Nagoski, because it’s easier to prevent burnout than recover from it.
  • You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience, by Tarana Burke and Brené Brown teams up two leaders in critical thinking about how we move through the world.

Fiction that will hopefully leave you feeling better than when you started it:

  • Sourdough, by Robin Sloan, is such a weird and wonderful book. I still haven’t decided if it’s magical realism or fantasy.
  • The Martian, by Andy Weir, defies sci-fi stereotypes by ending on a high note. If you haven’t read this modern classic already, now is the perfect time.
  • A Princess in Theory, by Alyssa Cole, has everything I want in a romance novel: healthy skepticism, healthy boundaries, escapism, and more books in the series.




This article was featured in the January 2023 Newsletter. Visit the Takoma Park Newsletter webpage to see the full list of past newsletters.