These shells we are born into are so fascinating!
I am often curious about the different shapes, sizes, appearances and colors. I myself was born into what would be considered by some a privileged shell/body. My skin is white, my hair was blonde but now more of a light brown, my eyes are blue, and for most of my life I weighed 112 pounds while eating anything I wanted. Did this body create a great sense of self-worth? Nope. I still loathed myself most of my life. When I would need to come up with a psuedonyme, I would refer to myself as Jane, as in plain Jane. When people asked me to describe myself I would say, basic girl next store, run of the mill mutt.
The reason this body image stuff is coming up for me today is that I ran into a person I have not seen since my early 30’s. He looked at me and said “WOW you have filled out”. What I heard was, boy have you gotten fat. My response was to get defensive, explain I am going to be 50, explain I had a freak accident that put me on a couch for months, and whatever else popped into my mind to help me feel better about being a different shape then what I was in my 30’s.
This person went on to explain the way he saw me back in the day. I have had the honor of hearing these kinds of reflective thoughts from people recently. Maybe it is because I am getting older and people are comfortable reflecting when there is time behind a person. I am generally shocked by what I hear. People thought I was pretty. I have always thought I was a wall flower. I was always jealous my skin was plain and did not identify me with my special culture. I was jealous of Jewish girls who had faces that people would say, she is Jewish. I saw myself as a mutt. I saw myself as fitting into no culture when I was young, and as I got older, I saw myself fitting in with the oppressive culture which, is the evil culture that destroys the earth and hurts others. All of this judgment based on what I saw when I looked in the mirror.
I feel sad that I did not realize that who I am has nothing to do with how I look on the outside. I feel sad for my younger self and that when I looked at my shell I loathed what I saw because I loathed how I felt on the inside.
Today, I am actually grateful for the shell that I am privileged enough to live in. I get to see, taste, smell, hear, and touch. I get to spend time with my children. I have a husband who I get to love!
How did I get to this point? There are a couple of key things I do each day that help me love the life I have.
The first thing I do when I wake up is send an email with a list of things I am grateful for to a specified friend. She too sends me and email of her gratitude’s. The next thing I do is to meditate. When I sit either in silence or in a guided meditation, it gives me the opportunity to still me mind and get to know and love the me that lives inside the shell. I call her the I AM. Lastly, I work on eliminating negative self talk. The last one, for me, has been the hardest. I have used numerous tools to learn how to eliminate self talk throughout my life. I encourage you to use the tool that works best for you.
Remember that we are all different and yet, the human condition in each of us, is almost always the same. In the words of the Byrds, “try to love one another right now”. Start with YOU!!!