I'm getting ready to share a secret with you. A big one.
Before I do, know I've put a lot of thought into this. I've read advice about how much personal information to share on ones blog. Believe me, I have my limits. I'm not going to rant about how much is in our bank account or tell you what hubby and I discussed last night. I'm not going to share the personal conversation I had with my sibling or reveal the thought that made me cry the other day.
But I am going to test my vulnerability. I want to share things with you - some anonymous readers, some I know quite well - that may touch your life as well. I want to share my humanity in hopes that we may each feel more comfortable in doing so as the days pass on.
One point of this blog is Life UNITY - unifying the divine and the human aspects of life. I can share with you the divine...all the giggles and creative work and photographic smiles of my children, but my life is not a glossy magazine spread. I would suppose yours isn't either. I want to celebrate all that IS...the glossy and the old, torn, wrinkled and discarded.
(Note: The courage to post this as well as the idea was inspired by Connie's Belly Love.)
Two days ago, while riding in the car while my hubby drove, I was getting a little tense. Usually it is because of his driving (love you, dear!), but this time I knew it was something different. I didn't want to admit it, but I knew what it was. I revealed it to myself that day and now I reveal it to you:
I hold it in.
No, not the secret, and no, not a toot (hah - please tell me you didn't think THAT was my secret!).....my stomach. My stomach, the flab around it, and everything that it symbolizes.
I hold in the weight that might otherwise push against my waistband.
I hold in the fear of judgment I'm certain would follow from others looking at the pudge.
I hold in my own disappointments with myself feeling that somehow, I should be able to tighten that up if ONLY I had the discipline.
I hold in my own judgments of others I see walking around - even though I yearn and cry not to, I still judge.
I hold in my expression believing the facade is more desirable, more powerful.
I hold it all in.
The rest of that day (and each day since), I made it a point to let it go. How odd it is, but I had emotions flooding in as I sat there feeling the seat belt across my newly-expanded middle. How could I not have worked out this morning? How could I be so lazy? This looks horrible...I need new clothes.
No one else was safe, either, as I felt myself getting angry or sad over the silliest things that my husband or the kids would do or say.
Walking around was even harder. I have practiced holding it in since the beginning of my school days - even when there was no flab there to hold in - ever since I became aware that someone might be looking or judging. It is instinct to just tighten and whewp - in the pudge goes.
Ah, but I knew there would be rewards too.
As terrified as I was that EVERYONE was noticing the flab hanging out around my middle, I started to feel a bit softer, a bit more gentle, a bit - dare I say it - at peace. Smiles came more naturally to my face and were passed along to strangers. Honestly! Lest you think that the Sound of Music score was playing behind me while birds tweeted around with ribbons, know that I still got frustrated with the kids and depressed that a shirt wouldn't fit and so on. Change isn't that easy.
But in the process of letting my instinctual suck-it-in response go, I also let go of just an eensy bit of fear and a lot of unnecessary tension. Guess what? No one pointed and laughed. I didn't get whistled at but I would assume that most women walking around with two kids and their husband in an outlet mall don't get cat calls. That's cool. If only for fleeting seconds, my fear of being judged for whatever my body looks like disappeared. THAT is a freeing sensation, my friends.
Of course, since the body and mind are intricately connected, I also let go of that tension in my core...my sacral chakra (Note: check out more information on this chakra here (found after a Google search...I claim no association with that link). A description of chakras is a whole other post, but suffice to say for now this area relates to, among other things, emotions and creative expression!! Hmmm.).
Like water that is held back by a dam, those more energetic aspects (emotions, memories, etc.) flooded out when the tension was released. The more I play with the faucet (water on, water off, water on....wax on, wax off, wax on - sorry, flashback. I digress.), the more of the STUFF I held in gets released. The more that is released, the freer I am.
And baby, I wanna be FREE.
FREE TO BE ME.
So taking direction from other wonderful beings in the blog world who have declared their intentions by writing it clearly on their body, and taking inspiration from Connie's Belly Love, I am taking one more HUGE GIANT STUPENDOUS leap.
There are some people who read this blog of whom I am terrified seeing this picture. Those who will probably not comment but see the photo and think, EWWW! Of you, I am still afraid. I want you to like me - I want to be attractive in every way possible - fake or not.
Others, ...eh. To those, it is no big deal or my soul is already known. The packaging doesn't matter. It is you who allows me space to share.
Some of you know which side you fall on.
To those in the first group, consider this an ultimate gift of my true self. May that be more attractive than what my clothes keep hidden. May I eventually accept myself whether or not others do.
~I have gone back and forth on even posting this several times.
I am almost crying as I add the photos!
I used to have a FLAT tummy - even a belly ring!
Two kids and no surgeries later, here I stand.~
So why do this? Because I need to.
Because THIS is one huge commitment to admitting to myself who I really am, to admitting to the "world" who I really am, to being able to LIVE that life, to being able to LET GO OF MY SECRET and ALL OF THAT CRAP THAT I'M HOLDING IN. It's no longer serving me.
I declare it to myself (and will continue doing so until I believe it), and I declare it to all who read this:
I love my body.
All of it.
I will continue to work on my strength - that which will tighten the physical core and that which will release my fears about it. Both are important.
May we ALL find the strength to embrace our beauty...every divine drop, every sensuous curve, every story-filled wrinkle, every emotion-laden vulnerability.
(The divine in me sees and celebrates the divine within you.)