I've become a bit of a Brene Brown
groupie. I'm currently reading her book "The Gifts of Imperfection"
and I love this TED talk onthe power of vulnerability
. In fact it's that last thing that I've been thinking about a lot.
She talks about shame - the fear of disconnection. Is there something about me, that if other people know or see it, that I won't be worthy of connection.
I've been willing to think about some of this recently. Just in the last few weeks. And I've written a tiny bit about this privately. I'm about to write more. To break this open and tell the truth about myself.
I struggle with body image stuff.
One the one hand, I have done my best to surround myself with people who love me, are body- and sex-positive and are supportive of diversity in body sizes. Or at lest who would never say anything intentionally negative about my body to me.
I got a fair amount of that growing up. My dad used to say things like, "You better be careful or you'll have to have clothes made by Omar the Tent Maker." My sister has called me more than once when, as an adult my dad said crappy things to her about her weight.
But even so, we in the US live in a world where we are inundated every singe day with images that tell us how to be, what to look like, what to drive and what kind of toothpaste to buy. And that if we don't we're not good enough, sexy enough, smart enough or wealthy enough. So even without nasty images and talk at home, it's a hard world for anyone that doesn't look like a super model (and I don't know that super models have it all that good either).
But that's not my truth, that's a way of saying, it's the water we swim in.
My truth is that even though I don't talk about (or haven't) I have been upset about my body. I don't talk about my body very deeply or openly except how I've been ill. I have allowed myself to let go of some body image pain into that idea - that I have no control over my body because I'm sick.
There's a lot there. I have been sick. I am more and more well every day (well, it goes in fits and starts, but it's better than it was). I hate, as in absolutely detest, the idea that I should be or can "control" my body or my weight. That idea is one created by the diet industry to keep women trapped. It's not actually possible nor is it useful to obsess about what size I am. And I need to say that I have been aspiring to be different. I want to have a traditionally beautiful body and leave my self-loathing at the door and never pick it up again.
I want to feel worthy of love and belonging, I want to be seen as beautiful not just as smart or a hard worker. I want to fit into clothes in stores that it seems like most people can shop in and I'm tired of educating people around me about sizism, able-ism and so on. I want to fit in, blend in and be normal.
Sometimes it seems like the world is a harsh place. I'm tired of carrying the messages around and pretending like they don't hurt me or I don't notice. I do notice when people don't look me in the eye even though they look at everyone else. I do notice when people flirt with everyone but me. I do notice that I don't fit in chairs or spaces and I'm tired of having to make exceptions and ask for help around my body.
I don't want you to feel sorry for me. I just want it to be different.
And I can finally talk about it. I'm starting to be able to say my fears out loud and acknowledge my shame and fear of disconnection. This has come on the heels of the medicine that's helping me be more grounded and in the wake of feeling much more loved these past few weeks as I step into a deeper commitment in community.
I realized that I do much better with very deeply committed relationships, that when I'm further away form people and community, I feel unworthy, not enough and lacking in support. When I have an abundance of committed relationships, I feel more supported and loved and somehow like I have greater capacity for success and more clarity about love.
I feel really ready to commit to friendships and relationships. I'm just ready. I've felt like I've been longing for connection, but have held many concerns in different forms about connecting mostly because I wasn't sure I could show up in relationship. But I am now. I am showing up in my relationships and being clear in my commitments and not overcommitting. I can be present with the sadness I have about not being able to do everything and still not take on too much.
And I've been resting quite a bit. I want to work out a really good ratio of rest to "doing things" so that I don't fall down that hill again (or as much). Rest is really important and I deserve it.
That's the final piece of this piece of healing. I feel worthy and deserving of love. I have an amazing boyfriend who's love is very visible to me this week. My coven feels like a place full of people I love, I have friends that I can count on and who clearly love me and I can call on that love. That is what gave me the courage to write about the shame above.
I am committed to love - to loving myself and being with myself through this process. And I'm doing it and so it is changing.
Love changes everything.