I'm so glad you're here to have Conversations together!
My name is Elana Sztokman, and I am the author of the new book, Conversations with my Body, by Lioness Books. The book is a collection of essays I've written over the past 25 years about body-related issues -- such as "modesty", hair, voice, fat, food, sexuality, abuse, and more. I grew up in Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn, New York, got married at the age of 21, was a mother by the age of 23, moved to Israel with my new husband and found myself struggling. I spent many years finding a way to grapple with what I was experiencing. I found Orthodox feminism and tried to make that work for me for a long time -- I wrote books, completed my doctorate, built communities and organizations, advocated for women in many ways, wrote and spoke around the world about cultures that are harmful to women. The whole time, I was searching for a way to be whole in myself. I travelled through other religious and spiritual communities, from Reform rabbinical school to ashrams in Hungary and India.... and more.
At the end of the day, the answer to my struggle is in one place: inside me. My struggle is with myself, with the way I experience myself, talk to myself, and live in my own skin. It has taken me this long -- I just turned 51 -- but here I am. And I welcome you to my journey.
So many of us struggle with our relationship with our body. In fact, I would say that we're probably having conversations with our bodies all day long -- I know I am. Some of them aren't very nice. Some of them aren't even my own words. I have so many texts running through my brain all day long about what my body should or shouldn't be. About my stomach, my face, my arms, my ankles, my skin, my hair.... and more.... So many words going through my head about my body. It's exhausting!
On this blog, I'm going to start unpacking some of that. I'm unraveling the tracks in my brain, I'm talking back to my cultures, and and opening the curtains to let the sunlight in so I can finally start to love my body exactly as I am. It's about time, don't you think?
Please join the conversation, and feel free to invite your own body along, too. It's much more fun when we do this together!