Body Image

The Opposite of Funny: Enough with the Body-Shaming “Jokes”

7c9187e61f2c00fd5c3778b79949e139I’m fed up this morning and I’ll tell you why.

I have cringed over many a meme that shames a woman for her fat that is exposed. A woman who is oversized by our culture’s standards has no business showing off her body, as we know. If she does, she shall be subject to our modern day hounds of hell in the form of cruel viral memes, vicious comments and ugly body-shaming messages. Perhaps even thousands of them. Hundreds of thousands.

It’s not just women who fall victim to public ridicule. Men are often the subject of these “humorous” pictures that circulate the internet and show up on my Facebook newsfeed. Pictures of women, men, with their butt cracks, or bellies exposed, most certainly unaware that photos are being taken of them and shared on the internet.

Imagine finding that a picture of you, that you didn’t even know was being taken, had gone viral and someone had made memes making fun of you and the social media world was making fun of your body or the way you dressed or the way you looked.

Can you imagine how painful that would be?

We seem to forget one important fact.

These are PEOPLE we are making fun of. There is a person whose image that belongs to, who lives with her self, her body, her curves, her “unacceptable” shape every single day. She has a soul. She has a heart. Feelings, emotions, the ability to hurt, to cry. Just like you.

Turning someone’s body into a JOKE? That is not funny. That’s the opposite of funny.

Can’t we all just wear want we want and be who we are without the wrath of a million judges laughing and making fun of us?

It’s like a giant schoolyard bully session. Having been made fun of most of my childhood, and the ‘star attraction’ of plenty of schoolyard bullying-sessions, I know it hurts. We are grown now. Shouldn’t we be evolved, compassionate adults by now? Why are we still acting like schoolyard bullies?

Let’s stop perpetuating cruelty. What do you say?

When I was a kid, being made fun of or picked on, once in a while a loving, aware grown-up would intervene on my behalf. She would step in and stop the bullying, stand up for me, protect me, and get me out of an awful situation. She would shut it down.

Now we have grown up and become a giant schoolyard of grown-up bullies. Where’s the loving aware grown-ups to step in and intervene? Who’s going to shut it down?

Let’s do it.

Will you perpetuate meanness by sharing body-shaming memes or even “liking” them? Or will you join me to intervene on behalf of the people whose images are being riduculed.

It’s time for the loving, aware grown-ups to step in and intervene.

I’m tired of being quiet about it so as not to offend, as I continue to be offended.

I’m tired of my own complacency.

I fight the fight every day to love and accept myself, and have built my life around helping others love and accept themselves. Yet, we still struggle. And it’s no surprise. A social current that ridicules, degrades and shames in the name of humor is hard to swim against. But we can do it, if we swim together.

I dare you to stand up for the anonymous victim of the next body-shaming meme you see.

I dare you to delete people from your friends list who perpetuate this type of riducle.

I dare you to voice your offense when offended, instead of staying quiet, as to not offend.

I dare you to take a stand against this bullshit.

Excuse my French, but I’m fed up. Our schoolyard bully days are over. It’s time to evolve, to grow up. Enough, already.

 

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Originally published July, 2014

The Tyranny of Boob Padding

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“Am I enough, Piggy?”

It was a sexy new little navy blue chemise and I was excited to ‘premiere’ it for my partner.  Its stretchy satiny fabric felt good on my skin, it hugged my curves in all the right places and the light padding built into the chest area made my boobs look fuller and higher.

After a few minutes of kissing and fondling, I got up to use the restroom and was startled to notice in the mirror that the pads in the chest area had become bunched and rumpled and dislodged inside of the gown and now were completely uneven and ridiculous looking! I laughed at myself, yet felt a little embarrassed. Wait! I thought. These can come out! I grabbed a pair of scissors and snipped a tiny hole on the inside layer of fabric and pulled out the two strange looking pads.

Even without the padding, the nightie still provided enough support and hugged my boobs in all the right ways. I looked fine! Not just fine- I looked BETTER.

And then I had an epiphany. These pads were sending me a message. That message that we women get a thousand times a day in a thousand different ways:

YOU ARE NOT ENOUGH.

The message came loud and clear, I’d been hearing it all my life!

But this time, instead of subsconsciously obeying it, I recognized it as a lie. This time, it angered me.  It pissed me off with its sneaky subtlety, something so quiet and ‘unassuming’ as breast padding in a chemise-  but still, the underlying message had attempted to taunt me with my “not-enough-ness.”

Yet, once I took the pads out, I looked and felt better.  My partner’s eyes widened when, with my more natural, unpadded look, I entered the room. And of course, I could feel his touch better without the padding. I WAS BETTER off just being me, without those stupid built-in boob pads.

I am not saying we burn our bras and stop shaving and stop caring about the way we look in an effort to celebrate our enoughness. If that’s where you’re led, awesome! For me, that’s way too extreme and I have way too much fun being girlie for that.

My invitation to SacredSexy YOU  is to simply be aware of when and how those messages sneak into your subconscious.

And some days, when you are feeling brazen enough, my hope is that you say no to the tyranny of boob pads.

I double dog dare you to grab a pair of scissors, cut out the proverbial pads in your life that lie to you and tell you that you are not enough. That your breasts are not big enough. Your legs are not smooth enough. Your face doesn’t look young enough. Your “feminine odor” is not fresh enough. (Floral scented crotchl? Really?)

Decide, just one brave moment at a time, that you are not going to be tyrannized by that message of not-enoughness.

Declare, even if just for a moment, that you ARE enough.  Because really, Goddess, you are.

 

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new front cover TODLExcerpted from my book, Truth or Dare Living: Wild Adventures for Your Sacred, Sexy Soul. Now through the holidays, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite chapters from the book, available on Amazon.com, while I revive and reignite my creative fire with some much needed rest. Enjoy!

Call a Truce With Your Belly Now

bikini-season-is-comingIf I asked fifteen women to write down the self-critical thoughts they’d had within the first ten minutes, upon entering a retreat classroom, twelve of them would include a mean thought toward their belly…

I can feel my gross stomach hanging over my jeans.

I wore the wrong top. My stomach is sticking out.

I hate my stomach.

I have the biggest stomach in here.

I know this to be true, because I read them. It was an exercise I’d used to start a retreat. It was chilling. And all-too-familiar.

This stomach loathing is not your private hell. It is so common, in fact, that it is more uncommon to meet a woman who doesn’t direct loathing toward her belly.

Since I was four years old, a tiny ballerina with a pot belly, I was trained to constantly be aware and ashamed of my belly. “Tuck it in.” One dance teacher would point at “it” during my rehearsals. She said it so often, it was simply called It. She didn’t have to call it by name. I’d immediately suck it in, trying to make myself smaller, like she wanted me. I’d forget soon, only to be barked at again later.  Needless to say, I never got far with my ballet “career”.

When I had tubal ligation surgery several years ago, my doctor told me post-surgery “Gosh! We had a really hard time cutting through your abdominals!” She seemed surprised. You’d never guess from seeing my soft round belly that underneath were abs of steel. But I wasn’t surprised. I’d been in a state of contraction for 30 years.

If you think about it, our bellies are the center of our existence. When we hate our bellies, we are hating our own existence.

It’s got to stop. The loathing doesn’t fix a thing. The belly wants to be noticed because it wants your love. It’s time for us to start talking about our secret body shame.  It’s time for a revolution.

Do you have a belly shame secret? Or is there another part of your body that you cannot love?

Let’s start the conversation. Let’s commit, together to heal this, so that we can get on with healing the world. We’ve spent so much of our energy resisting, hating, chiding, abusing, denying, loathing, hiding.

Are you ready to call truce on this painful war?

No one is winning.
Join me on Sunday, 8/17 for BodyLove Revolution: Make Peace with Your Body and let’s heal together.

 

Encore blog. Originally published 1.29.13

Body-Shaming is the Opposite of Funny. Enough, already.

7c9187e61f2c00fd5c3778b79949e139
Gorgeous! More body-positive memes like this, please!

I’m fed up this morning and I’ll tell you why.

I have cringed over many of a meme that shames a woman for her fat that is exposed. A woman who is oversized by our culture’s standards has no business showing off her body, as we know. If she does, she shall be subject to our modern day hounds of hell in the form of cruel viral memes, vicious comments and ugly body-shaming messages. Perhaps even thousands of them. Hundreds of thousands.

It’s not just women who fall victim to public ridicule. Men are often the subject of these “humorous” pictures that circulate the internet and show up on my Facebook newsfeed. Pictures of women, men, with their butt cracks, or bellies exposed, most certainly unaware that photos are being taken of them and shared on the internet.

Imagine finding that a picture of you, that you didn’t even know was being taken, had gone viral and someone had made memes making fun of you and the social media world was making fun of your body or the way you dressed or the way you looked.

Can you imagine how painful that would be?

We seem to forget one important fact.

These are PEOPLE we are making fun of. There is a person whose image that belongs to, who lives with her self, her body, her curves, her “unacceptable” shape every single day. She has a soul. She has a heart. Feelings, emotions, the ability to hurt, to cry. Just like you.

Turning someone’s body into a JOKE? That is not funny. That’s the opposite of funny.

Can’t we all just wear want we want and be who we are without the wrath of a million judges laughing and making fun of us?

It’s like a giant schoolyard bully session. Having been made fun of most of my childhood, and the ‘star attraction’ of plenty of schoolyard bullying-sessions, I know it hurts. We are grown now. Shouldn’t we be evolved, compassionate adults by now? Why are we still acting like schoolyard bullies?

Let’s stop perpetuating meanness. What do you say?

When I was a kid, being made fun of or picked on, once in a while a loving, aware grown-up would intervene on my behalf. She would step in and stop the bullying, stand up for me, protect me, and get me out of an awful situation. She would shut it down.

Now we have grown up and become a giant schoolyard of grown-up bullies. Where’s the loving aware grown-ups to step in and intervene? Who’s going to shut it down?

Let’s do it.

Will you perpetuate meanness by sharing body-shaming memes or even “liking” them? Or will you join me to intervene on behalf of the people whose images are being riduculed.

It’s time for the loving, aware grown-ups to step in and intervene.

I’m tired of being quiet about it so as not to offend, as I continue to be offended.

I’m tired of my own complacency.

I fight the fight every day to love and accept myself, and have built my life around helping others love and accept themselves. Yet, we still struggle. And it’s no surprise. A social current that ridicules, degrades and shames in the name of humor is hard to swim against. But we can do it, if we swim together.

I dare you to stand up for the anonymous victim of the next body-shaming meme you see.

I dare you to delete people from your friends list who perpetuate this type of riducle.

I dare you to voice your offense when offended, instead of staying quiet, as to not offend.

I dare you to take a stand against this bullshit.

Excuse my French, but I’m fed up. Our schoolyard bully days are over. It’s time to evolve, to grow up. Enough, already.

“You Used to Be A Heartbreaker”: Reflections on Aging & Self-Love

10153082_10152140087913473_2833283768099282817_nI’ve been 42 for almost a year now, and I’ll tell you, it’s been an interesting ride.

As I inch toward my forty-third birthday, coming in about two months, I notice my contradictions are alive and well. Anyone who says they live in perfect harmony all the time, without any inner turmoil, contradictions or conflicts is either dead inside, in denial or lying.

Here’s a big one this year: I love and adore myself. I love and appreciate my body and its beauty and miracles and abilities. I feel alive and sexy and appealing. That’s one side. Then there’s the other side…

I am old. Look at those new lines. This extra 20 pounds will never go away. I’m gross. I’m old. I’m unattractive. I’m over the hill. I’m washed up. I’m fat. I’m gross. I’m old. Did I say that already?

Thanks to a lot and I mean a LOT of inner work, I have gotten so much kinder to myself. Trust me, it’s a way kinder place inside my head than it used to be. And I’m proud of that.

But I’m noticing it sometimes feels more difficult to be kinder to myself when I am also trying to reconcile the normal changes that aging brings with it.

I am not the thirty-year old sexpot I used to be.

And that’s a good thing, really it is.

But…

I’m not gonna lie. I sometimes miss her.

I love the way I’m growing. I love the way I’ve changed. I do love myself, I really do.

Yet sometimes I struggle.

I was in Austin last week, out at a local dive bar with my best friend, who has been galavanting at such establishments with me for oh, about 20 years… and some jerk of a guy, blasted out of his mind, gooped up on gop, wanted to tell us some things. He knew everything about everything, of course. And at one point he pointed at me and said “And you… you used to be a heartbreaker.”

I can’t tell you what that one statement has meant because I’m still processing it, a week later.

It struck me mostly because he’s exactly right. I used to be a heartbreaker. I used to get some sort of twisted pleasure from using the attentions of men as food, gobbling them up, and stringing them along so that I could have fun, feel good about myself, with no regard for them as people, as souls with feelings and hearts and whatnot. Then as I continued to grow, and do my work, that shifted. I no longer needed their attentions or validation. I did not need anyone’s help to like or love myself. I learned how to do it for myself.

So thankfully, my femme fatale days are over. But then why did his comment hit me like a punch in the gut?

I look in the mirror and there is a new reflection, one I’m not that crazy about sometimes, because I am comparing her to an old, outdated reflection. A younger me. I am evolving, changing, and yes, I am also getting older.

When we are moving into new phases, new chapters of our lives, it is only human nature to longingly cling to the old phases, missing who we used to be. Recreating ourselves is a fierce act of courage. It means leaving parts of us behind.

And at times, I struggle. I struggle when I hold on to what I used to be.

I struggle when I compare myself to a younger me, with disdain and frustration for who I now am.

I struggle when I forget that I am a queen. That this age, this face, this body, this belly, this me… this me is the now me.

And I could waste my time wallowing in what used to be… or what I wish I was… or I could use that energy to love the now me. I could love me now.

Every time I bring myself back to loving me now, it’s progress.

Every time I change the direction of my thoughts to loving thoughts, even just “a kinder thought than this one”… that’s progress.

Every time I choose to focus on what’s right and beautiful, every time I choose to love myself for the woman I am, right now, I become more beautiful.

Whoa… did you get that?

Every time you choose to love yourself for the woman you are right now, YOU become more beautiful.

Did we just crack the code to eternal beauty? Is MORE LOVE the answer?

Well I’ll be damned, I bet it is. Let’s try it.

 

 

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photo by Dee Hill

It’s Good to be Queen

expmanWhen a woman falls in love with herself, the world heals.

I’ve built my life around this truth.

We’ve spent so much of our lives, walking around wounded, feeling less than, never enough, too this, not enough that, always falling short.

To be able to grow away from those lies, to entertain and even embrace the notion of our innate beauty, our perfectly imperfect perfection, our enough-ness… revolutionary stuff, I tell ya!

Marianne Williamson, in her must-read book “A Woman’s Worth,” talks about our choice, at every given moment, to be either slave-girl, or queen.

I choose to be a queen. And it’s my life’s greatest honor to support other women as they claim their royalty. Ladies, it’s time. Our days of playing small are over. The slave-girl is ready for healing. She’s ready for her true calling, as Queen.

Burlesque dancing has been an inspiring, life-changing path for this transition. In my work over the last four years with hundreds of women, through this sexy, playful, empowering dance form, I’ve witnessed transformation, remembering, self-discovery, healing. It’s a beautiful thing to witness a woman falling in love with herself, calling a truce with her body, moving in ways that celebrate her femininity, as is. There’s such power in that!

The first time I performed Burlesque in front of an audience, I was terrified, I was literally shaking in my boots. Once on stage, every move became a message, a love letter to myself.

My audience responded to me with the standard hooting and hollering burlesque shows are famous for.

My boldness magnified. My courage took over. I lit up, luminous and radiant. I played with the audience, teasing them, flirting with them, and during that four minutes, we shared an energetic exchange that was electric. I felt so powerful, so in charge and beautiful. I realized how brave I was. And my life from then on was never the same.

Through my program, the Burlesque Experience, I’ve been able to re-live this life-changing transformation again and again. I’ve watched them change their lives after stripping on stage for a packed theatre. I’ve watched them heal. I’ve watched them shine.

I jokingly say the Burlesque Experience is “changing the world, one striptease at a time.” But you know what? It’s not really a joke. It’s true.

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Come dance with me! Unleash Your Inner Bombshell workshop Friday 5/2 at MoveStudio!

Photo by Dee Hill Photography

Coming Home: The Miracle of Self-Acceptance

selfie1Something has shifted in me, something big, important, true and real.

I have crossed a threshold that I didn’t even know existed. It could be an age thing. I am about to turn 42. I’ve heard about these shifts from women in their forties and fifties. Maybe it’s because I’m loved and cherished in a really awesome way in my intimate relationship. Maybe it’s because I just got tired of fighting.

But it probably has mostly to do with the fact that I’ve been working diligently on it for some time now, developing practices, doing work around it, dialoging, journaling, meditating, and self-therapy, because I wanted out of the vicious and cruel body-loathing trap I’d been in for so long. Here’s what’s up:

I am finally in love with who I am.

It seems that for the most part, the war against my body has ended. The “enemy” has retreated.  I have surrendered into the soft, safe place of radical, total self-acceptance. I have come home to myself, to finally find a resting place.

I’ve always been fond of who I am, “spirit-wise.” My soul, my personality, my gifts, yada, yada. Even my face, my hair. But there was so much hostility, quite frankly, toward my body.

I have spent the majority of my life, up til recently, hating parts of my body. Hiding parts of my body. Wishing, crunching, diet-pilling, loathing, comparing.

But this shift has opened me up enough to love my totality. And that means my body, too. Don’t get me wrong, I’d still like to be more fit, to release some weight, to be healthier. But this motivation to make changes is coming now from a place of love vs. loathing, a place of kindness vs. cruelty. Imagine the freedom that exists in that shift. I am just beginning to grasp it, myself.

In the meantime, I am cherishing my body, as is. It’s miraculous and magical functions, its shapes and lines, curves and even its bulges and fleshliness. It’s softness and generous areas, it is my home.

These days, I rarely find myself in cruel thoughts. If I do, they are fleeting and quick as I have learned how to shift my thoughts, to change directions. Mostly, these days, I am inhabiting my body fully. I am loving it and grateful for its relentless generosity and grace.

Bear in mind: Self-acceptance is not resignation. Like “Oh, this is just the way I am, I might as well give up trying to release weight, or get healthy…” Self-acceptance is not giving up.

Self-acceptance is taking off from a love-based launching pad.

It’s a foundation rooted in kindness instead of cruelty.

It’s rich, potent soil from which amazing things can grow, instead of the rocky, gritty, nutrient-deficient gravel of self-loathing.

All the work I’ve been doing to love myself is finally paying off. I am loving myself more fully, completely, entirely than I ever have before.

It’s a brave, new world.

I dare you to explore this brave, new world for yourself. You would not believe the energy that opens up, the new “white space” you’ll have in your soul, in your mind, new freedoms and fuel to express yourself, to do what you came here to do.

Stop wasting your time and energy hating your body.

Inhabit your body with a spirit of curiosity and inquiry: How can I love you better? How can I take care of you today? What are you trying to tell me? What do you need? What do you desire?

And you’ll discover, in this work, a sense of coming home after a long and exhausting trip. Relax into the body that is, in this moment.

It is what it is.

Can you love yourself enough to accept your body, right now, in this moment, as it is?

Coming home starts with one step, one decision, one choice. And then another, and then another… and eventually, you find yourself returned, whole and complete.

*****

Author’s note: The journey never ends. Seems I’d just launched this blog and have been plagued by waves of melancholic body-image/self-esteem bullshit. Harsh and bitter body analysis. Bunch of bleh. Blaming it on full moon, hormones, lack of endorphins/exercise, whatever it is, it’s there. Ironic, eh? But I am making progress. This I know.

Return to the Body

selfie
Oooh… feels good to live here, again.

If me and my body were Facebook friends, our relationship status would be “it’s complicated.”

It’s not that I’m not grateful for it, I am. The fact that my body is an amazing machine full of elaborate and miraculous mechanisms is not lost on me.

Chronic pain has an interesting affect on the relationship we have to our bodies. The pain becomes the focus. The body is forgotten. Pain gets all the attention.

Last year at this time, I was taking to my bed, most of the time, in dire pain with a hip and back condition gone wild. I was spending all kinds of money trying to fix myself. Trying to get relief.

I felt betrayed by my body. So I abandoned it.

Fast forward a year, countless therapies, nerve pain medication, and a spinal procedure, while I would say I still have mild to moderate flare-ups, my situation has greatly improved. There are less hurting days. There are more good days.

And my body says “remember me?”

It has changed in my absence. It is softer than it was before the pain started. It is heavier. Its shape is different.  There, I said it.

But I will not berate myself or waste precious time feeling guilt or shame.

As I return my attention to the body, no longer distracted by the pain, I can begin to devote myself, from a new place to its proper care.

Right now, I will admit to you, it doesn’t look like I wish it looked, there’s much work to be done. A year of near sedentary living and bed-rest will do that. The comfort eating had something to do with it, also.

But I am in complete control now. I have the power, resources and ability to transform my body. Not to mention the passionate commitment.  Thank you, Divinity, for this path away from chronic pain to allow me the attention and energy I need to passionately care for this body.

Within the last couple weeks, I have enlisted the support of a Healthy Living Coach to guide me, not back to where I was, but to an even better place.  I am dancing again. I am swimming laps. I am back in the gym.

I didn’t get to this place overnight, and it won’t be an overnight transformation. But I am passionately committed to feeling good. And feeling good means eating right, moving as much as I can, dancing, and reembodying my body.

I return to the body with my breath.

I return to the body with food choices that honor my body.

I return to the body with movement.

I return to the body with gratitude.

I return to the body with pleasure.

It feels good to live here, these days.

I own my body, exactly as it is. I claim my body. I retrieve my body.  I return.

It’s different around here now. When the pain knocks, I listen quickly to its message. Maybe I stretch.  Or rest. Perhaps I clear some time in my schedule for the doing of nothing. It doesn’t have to take over to get my full attention.

This pain is still sometimes a third “person” in my relationship with my body. But even when it visits, I am fully and lovingly committed to my body, to this new path of care, compassion, kind choices and attentive responsiveness to its needs and desires.

As I return to the body, the body returns to me.

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P.S. Play with me! I dare you to take a smiling nude or semi-nude self-portrait and post it on SacredSexyU’s Facebook page! It’s an act of devout love and self-honesty.

Beyond Belly Abominations

If I asked fifteen women to write down the self-critical thoughts they’d had within the first ten minutes, upon entering a retreat classroom, twelve of them would include a mean thought toward their belly…

I can feel my gross stomach hanging over my jeans.

I wore the wrong top. My stomach is sticking out.

I hate my stomach.

I have the biggest stomach in here.

I know this to be true, because I read them. It was an exercise I’d used to start a retreat. It was chilling. And all-too-familiar.

This stomach loathing is not your private hell. It is so common, in fact, that it is more uncommon to meet a woman who doesn’t direct loathing toward her belly.

Since I was four years old, a tiny ballerina with a pot belly, I was trained to constantly be aware and ashamed of my belly. “Tuck it in.” One dance teacher would point at “it” during my rehearsals. She said it so often, it was simply called It. She didn’t have to call it by name. I’d immediately suck it in, trying to make myself smaller, like she wanted me. I’d forget soon, only to be barked at again later.  Needless to say, I never got far with my ballet “career”.

When I had tubal ligation surgery several years ago, my doctor told me post-surgery “Gosh! We had a really hard time cutting through your abdominals!” She seemed surprised. You’d never guess from seeing my soft round belly that underneath were abs of steel. But I wasn’t surprised. I’d been in a state of contraction for 30 years.

If you think about it, our bellies are the center of our existence. When we hate our bellies, we are hating our own existence.

It’s got to stop. The loathing doesn’t fix a thing. The belly wants to be noticed because it wants your love. It’s time for us to start talking about our secret body shame.  It’s time for a revolution.

Do you have a belly shame secret? Or is there another part of your body that you cannot love?

Let’s start the conversation. Let’s commit, together to heal this, so that we can get on with healing the world. We’ve spent so much of our energy resisting, hating, chiding, abusing, denying, loathing, hiding.

Are you ready to call truce on this painful war?

No one is winning.

This is what love looks like.

My teen daughter and I have started this fun tradition of writing love notes for each other with dry-erase markers on our shared bathroom mirror… things like “Hey gorgeous!” and “You are beautiful!” and “I love you so much!” and other sweet somethings.

Yesterday morning, I had the brilliant idea to draw a giant heart, so that when she looked in the mirror, the heart would frame her precious face. Underneath the heart, with an arrow pointing up at it, I wrote “This is what love looks like.”

Except I didn’t stop to think that I, myself would actually have to look at it.

In the middle of a deep blue funk.

With puffy allergy eyes that look like pillows.

After one very private peanut-butter cookie rampage.

Feeling fat.

And disgusting.

Needing a shower.

(Bad.)

And feeling like the absolute furthest thing from “what love looks like.”

Yep. Later that night, forgetting I had drawn that, I went to use that sink. Puffy-eyed, shower-needing, low-self-esteem-feeling, in the middle of one helluva self-cruelty rendevous, and was startled by my own words staring back at me, and that heart, that damned heart. I was feeling shameful and gross. This is what love looks like?

I don’t think so.

PFFT… whatev.

I turned my head to look away while I washed my hands. I couldn’t bear the truth of my own words. Not at that moment. Nope. No, thank you. After all, I wrote them for her, not me.

This is what love looks like.

It almost seemed like a taunt.

Yeah sure… with cookie crumbs on my décolletage…

This is what love looks like.

I can’t even look.

This is what love looks like.

And suddenly, it wasn’t my voice, but the voice of the Divine that I heard in my head…

This is what love looks like…

Even now, right now.

Not just when you’re radiant and confident.

Not just when you’re strong and bold.

Not just when you feel like light and love.

Even when you feel like dark and loathing.

Even when you’re feeling the opposite of sacred or sexy.

Not just when you’re feeling ‘thin and in control.’

Even when you think you are a fuck-up.

This is what love looks like…

Because you are love.

And then… the voice asked a question.

Now. Can you extend even just the tiniest bit of tenderness toward yourself, in this moment?”

Yes. I answered. Or at least I can try. And I turned toward my reflection, with love in my puffy, allergy eyes and extended Love toward myself. As is.

So now, I dare you, go look in the mirror, AS YOU ARE, right now, and extend a little tenderness toward yourself.

Because you are what love looks like, too.

 

photo by Modern Noir Studios