I am blessed to have several people who took the time to write to me and (shake me by the shoulders) help me to look at the reality of it all...what I am actually doing when I talk about my "fat dress" and my "back fat" and "I just need to lose a couple inches from...all over and THEN I will be ok."
One in particular is a very long time real life friend. We have travelled many familial roads together, she and I. She knows me inside and out and what she wrote brought me to tears. I asked her if I could share some of it here....because it made me think of not just my fat jokes and my poor perceptions but it made me think of the ways that we all struggle with something. If not fat, then we are shy, addicted, not athletic enough, not pretty enough, not ambitious enough, not fast enough, too fast, boring, not funny enough, we wear glasses, have crooked teeth, we weren't a good enough parent... We were never perfect enough.
***Dear friend, I feel moved to share something with you which I experience from time to time, namely how we as human beings denigrate ourselves. Regularly. Caustically. Ongoingly.***
When she sent me her email and I responded, it occurred to me why I do, and probably why most of us do what we do. Why we denigrate ourselves and judge ourselves more harshly than we would EVER judge another in our lives...if we say it first, it won't hurt as much when it is noticed by someone on the "outside." I am trying to stay one step ahead of the potential hurt. Good Lord....how did I get here? Well it's been a lifetime of events I can assure you.....as I am sure it has been for so many of us who find ourselves in this place of "beating others to the punch."
I began thinking of what my girls are hearing and learning from me. My girls, my most beautiful, kind, strong, authentic girls... Am I teaching them to loathe their flaws? To hate aspects of their miraculous selves?
What about unconditional love? Where does that come into play? Because if you have been reading here for even a minute you know that I have been being brought into this understanding, this knowledge deep in my heart, of what unconditional love is, where it is birthed from, and how to implement it in my life with those around me....but is it not for myself too?
Unconditional love and acceptance is available for all of us, without stipulations and requirements. It just is there for us. A gift from God, that he fills me up with, so I can share with others, but I need to add myself to that list! And maybe you do too.... Maybe this will be something we can work on. Looking at ourselves more gently. Giving ourselves a break for not being perfect. Accepting that our efforts at life are "good enough." Knowing that today I will choose healthy foods to nourish my body so that I can be healthy and strong. (It is taking all of my restraint to not make a fat joke or a reference to my upper arm jiggle right now!!!!) LOL
***And it hurts, a lot, to hear her say or write self-critical things about herself, even though they may be delivered in a “light-hearted” manner. I don’t think my wonderful friend would talk about another friend the way she, at times, refers to herself. And she would never apply the “F" word to any friend of hers, and I don’t mean fuck. The “F” word is such a deep subject for so many of us, especially women, that perhaps we don’t discuss it, we don’t get near each other’s body-image issues, we joke around about what is not funny, and especially, not true. We often feel very sad, and very protective, about this issue as it shows up in our circle of beloved friends and family, and as it shows up in our own lives. If I could have my wish in all of this, I would wish that when my lovely, dearest friend, or I, or anyone takes a long look in the mirror, when she puts on the dress, when she does any number of the many, many positive things she does, that she sees what an amazingly beautiful, lovely, accomplished, and strong woman she is, in the body she is in. That she would feel good in her beautiful dress on her beautiful day and not feel self-conscious, because it is her day too. That she would revel in herself as she revels in all that is around her on that day. And finally, that she would embrace herself and her absolutely perfect body that gave amazing birth to the outstanding son in whose honor she wears her lovely dress in the first place.
I love you Annette.***Just for today, let's say we are enough. We are exactly where we need to be, where we belong, in the process that is ours to journey through and find our way to all of the many blessings of self love and approval and acceptance that are available to us, to take and hold and possess as our own. No matter how big or little we are or if our gray roots are showing or if we are uncomfortable in our own skin because we are working on letting down our old walls of protection and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable to the world around us. Just for today....and then maybe if today felt good, we can allow ourselves to do it again tomorrow.Bless us all with courage to forge on ahead and dare to love ourselves right where we are at.Annette