By Alexandra Sandbäck
I am a woman soon turning 31 who spent most of my teens and 20s hating my body. And also my mind. I often tried to be more of what I thought was masculine (a faked confidence and cold attitude) since I felt that my feminine parts weren’t good enough – those parts being my body, my sensuality, and my emotions.
I was bullied, and I continued bullying myself. I was fat, unattractive, annoying. Others’ comments turned into truths for me. And my emotional disposition made me very sensitive, although I did my best to hide these things. All I wished for was for someone, other than myself, to love me – I believed that could fix my broken self.
Well into my 20s, after feeling terrible for years, I started the awakening of my soul and my body-mind connection. I started exploring my spiritual gifts, and my bodily ones.
This happened mostly through gaining new friends with a more spiritual approach to life. Together with them, I discovered music, intimacy, spiritual enlightenment, wisdom, dance and laughter in a new way, and in a new setting. After years of being totally disconnected from, and almost angry towards, religions and spiritual beliefs, I started opening up to the greatness within myself.
I also met a man who loved me, whole body and soul, which gave me a reason to forgive and let go of past hurts. I started dissecting all things I had taken for truths – and basically re-learned everything I knew. A painful process, but a necessary one.
I finally found my own truth – something that is still evolving, creating, expanding. And magically enough, without trying, I also started losing weight. It was like I was cracking my shell open. Although self-love has nothing to do with weight I still think this is one of the greatest examples of how my inner accomplishments towards self-love made my physical form change.
I started feeling self-love again, and through awakening my inner Goddess I re-discovered what my sacred Feminine energy is, and what it is capable of.
I re-discovered what my sacred Feminine energy is, and what it is capable of.
After this process had been going on for a couple of years I also suffered a burnout and other illnesses. I think a combination of the racing of my thoughts, stressful self-employment, and a difficult break-up made me lose focus of the totality I am. My body took the punishment.
The summer I got my burnout I almost have no recollection of. My body was totally out of it, and so was my mind. I had to stop everything I was doing to try to regain myself from scratch. I paused all spiritual advancements, because everything was just too intense, and made me even more confused. I had to start over, and I started with a complete stop.
This is something I am still struggling with. Through this burnout, we discovered that my thyroid isn’t functioning as it should, and I have fibromyalgia. But I am trying to forgive my body for its’ failures, and my mind for how it handles them.
But through this time of illness, I discovered another syndrome I have. And getting it discovered is one of the greatest gifts, and it has healed a lot of old wounds I caused myself.
This syndrome is PMDD (PMDS in Swedish). It’s a hormonal disorder, described as extreme PMS. It makes me very depressed, sad, angry and tired for almost half of each month. In short – it’s no joyride.
But through discovering this hormonal, very physical thing I also had a chance to look at that sensitivity, and all those emotions that I felt had kept me back. Those intense emotions that seemed to push people away.
The intensity of my tears. And I slowly started to separate the hormonal issues from the real hurt inside. And above all, separate it from the Divine Feminine.
Since I don’t want to take anti-depressants I am trying to deal with this syndrome naturally. It’s an on-going adventure. The two most important pieces in the puzzle being;
And separating my hormones from the Divine Feminine is definitely the deal-breaker. Without doing that I would continue blaming the Feminine for something it can’t control. In another article, I will get back to this thing we do when we put negative associations onto the Feminine and Masculine energies. I did that from when I was a teen, up to quite recently. Because I couldn’t understand what was what. Now I have a better understanding of myself, and I have a way easier time forgiving myself for when I do wrong towards myself or others. And I never blame the Feminine – on the contrary, my inner Goddess is at work!
I am not doing it to get approval or be lifted up by others. I am doing all the lifting. It sure is heavy sometimes, but it’s my work, my body, my spirit.
During this awakening of my spiritual self and my body-mind connection, I also awoke gifts I had put aside since my childhood. It was like opening a door into myself.
Since I was a kid I have “known” things, and felt things, seemingly much more intensely than most other people. But since my psychic gifts come mostly in the form of feelings, and thoughts, I had a hard time separating them from my own feelings and thoughts. Therefore they were easier to put aside than to trust and explore. But as I got closer to my true self I could more easily separate myself from messages from somewhere else, someone else. Being a good reader of people I also found it easy to separate others’ thoughts and feelings from somewhere else, someone else.
My mother is a healer as well, and I believe we have a strong female lineage in our family with very open, loving women who carry these gifts.
As I started feeling a bit better physically I began this journey of opening myself up to these gifts more and more. The moment I realized I could help others came pretty suddenly, and I could not deny it. That is when I slowly started helping others as well, using my psychic gifts, my connection to the Divine or the angels or whatever you want to call it, my healing gifts. These are gifts everyone has, but for those who need help – I am offering it.
I give healing and also touch therapy, as well as spiritual guidance through cards, runes, and contact with angels/deceased loved ones/guides. In this work, I have met people who have given me a new perspective on a lot of things. Amongst others the issues we are facing regarding our divine energies.
Also in my personal life issues have arisen that have given me new ideas on how to better ourselves as spiritual human beings.
I have had amazing encounters with clients, friends, family, and although I am helping people I am not hiding the fact that I am also learning, all the time.
And there has been one thing that even through this journey of finding my self-love never got fully completed. It is my relationship to my body.
Yes, I lost weight and could enjoy my body more. I was healthier, and clothes fit better. In intimate relationships, I could almost let go of self-hatred, and use my body fully for my pleasure and others’.
But I knew it had nothing to do with weight. I knew that even if I loved my personality, my gifts and talents, I still had to truly love my vessel here on Earth. Not only in moments of pleasure but all the time.
I don’t know how I managed to change the way I thought about myself, but that is exactly what had to happen, and eventually happened. I was inspired by other curvy, body-positive women in social media, and I realized that if I can think that every person on Earth is beautiful, except me, then something had to change. I slowly realized how amazingly beautiful I am.
Through my blog and art, I have, for quite a long time, shared photos of myself – but I always chose the ones where I looked the most beautiful (in my mind) and the thinnest. I had to change that. So I started my own body-positive journey. I started sharing nude photos, and “ugly” photos. Not to exploit my body, or sexualize it, but for my own self-love, challenging it in the most extreme way, and for showing others what different bodies look like.
This does not come easily. It’s amazing how much energy I have wasted on telling myself how ugly I am. For so many years. And sharing that which I thought was so ugly with the world is no easy feat, not even now when I feel a lot better about my body. It is the most vulnerable thing I have ever done, along with the two books I’ve published.
People might think that the days I feel most beautiful are the days I do these self-portraits. It’s not. It’s the days when I feel worthless and sad and ugly. That’s when I grasp this healing tool. I put on something nice, or get naked, and set up my camera. Sometimes I have also used a loved one as the photographer, to challenge myself even more.
I use this tool consciously, even though it really is no comfortable feeling. But I know I need something to focus on, hands-on action, so my thoughts don’t circle around negativity. And I know in the end I will have at least a couple of really gorgeous photos that will lift my spirit.
It’s a change of the tone of my voice. The voice I use towards myself, and my body. During those days of self-hatred, that voice easily gets agitated, it wants to spew disgust over everything I am. And I am unwilling to let it go on for long. I’ve been there, I’ve done that, for most of my life. So I get in front of my camera, I take my photos, I look at them. And the voice changes. It softens.
And to inspire others to do the same I sometimes post these photos publicly. I really don’t want compliments, and most of all I don’t want or need strange men to tell me I’m beautiful. I am doing me just for me. And for women, or men, feeling self-conscious. For empowerment. I am not doing it to get approval or be lifted up by others. I am doing all the lifting. It sure is heavy sometimes, but it’s my work, my body, my spirit.
You are not responsible for how I feel. I am.
I have grown so much during the past months doing this – I am so grateful for my own courage and self-love, and the support of others. We are all beautiful. All bodies are beautiful.
Alexandra Soulmama Sandbäck, Human/Woman/Artist/Writer/Goddess
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