No Body Is Shameful ®. 

Hi, my name’s Mani Mitchell. I’m from New Zealand. I’m also proudly an AIC (Advocates for Informed Choice) board member, currently.

Let’s talk about bodies. When I was born in 1953 it wasn’t my parents’ intention, and I’m certain that the doctors didn’t plan it, but I was left with the message that this body was something to be ashamed of, and I disconnected from it. I used to say with something that wasn’t very funny that ‘I was a head that towed a body around’ and it’s not until my early 40’s that I realized the sadness of that. Like, I didn’t … my body was a stranger to me. I didn’t know anything about it, and it’s taken me a long time, 20 years, but I can finally say ‘I love this body. I love its differences.’

And what would I say to anyone out there who has been born with a different body: ‘Well, get out there and love it. Find out some things about these different bodies … It’s more than not being ashamed. They are something to be celebrated and enjoyed.’

I turn 60 next year and I’m really, really happy about that, and I’m very happy going into this period of my life with this different body and knowing lots of other people like me. I mean that’s, I think that’s what changed things: some wonderful counselors and then meeting other people who had different bodies like me. And, yeah, then the hard task of learning not to be ashamed and, again (draws a heart in the air) I say it: 'just loving ourselves.' Right, thank you very much for this chance to talk, and ‘bye’! ©