Thursday, June 3, 2010

My Secret

*inhale, exhale*

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!) stomachMy 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 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. 

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,  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.)


  1. I love and accept you Lisa, for the kind, giving, beautiful, loving, gifted, smart, supportive, generous, athletic, artistic woman that you are. Yesterday, today, tomorrow!!!!! xoxoxo

  2. oh lisa,
    i am sending you
    the biggest hug i can muster
    to your yummy tummy
    & sending my love
    like a live sister
    who totally struggles
    with the same
    exact thing...
    it is the one part of me
    that i have a hard time with
    & i love your post
    & bravery
    & affirmation
    & invitation
    to not be alone
    & to claim all our ourselves
    with lovelovelove!

  3. Lisa,

    I have nothing but LOVE for you...and if I was there, I would kiss your sweet belly! I mean that, with all my heart.

    This post brought me to tears. How much we hold in--I'm the same way. Exactly--and you know made me more aware of that...and now I want to let the faucet flow freely.

    You know...this post made me think of one important thing thing maybe you can relate to, since you have iittle ones at home. But the one thing--the one real thing that make me appreciate and actually like my bulge over my pants--is when the little kiddos I teach use it to snuggle into. Do you know that feeling? When a little person hugs you and they bury their head into the softness of our cores. It is that beauty--that total act of LOVE and security--and complete trust--that kind of seeps into my fat cells and melts all my insecurities.

    Your belly holds that great act of LOVE...your belly is full of great acts of LOVE.

    Thank you for your bravery, Lisa. You are my teacher, in so many beautiful ways.

    Big hugs!

  4. what a huge step!!! I completely admire you and LOVE your beautiful belly!
    I am so glad that as you released your belly you found something new within you.

    Yay belly love!!! so brave and so beautiful :)

    Blessings to your fabulous belly!

  5. Lisa, you are so wonderful and brave ! This is a struggle that so many of us know - maybe even all of us as women. I certainly know it very, very intimately !
    If we can learn to love our bellies and sags and wrinkles as just a beautiful part of our life stories, just think how very very powerful we shall be !
    Thank you for being a PIONEER ! Big big LOve to you, Brave One !

  6. I wish I could hug you right now. For you. And for me. Did you see my post yesterday? It's funny, you have a really great ability to express truth and emotion via the word. Me...I'm not so good at that. Don't get me wrong...I know I communicate well and I can make people laugh and cry and all of that, but when it comes to things like this it's like my entirely vocabulary is brought down to "uuuuhhhmmmm...." Sometimes I wish I could do it this way, but instead...I make stuff that says it all. I am kind of shocked at just how much I can relate to you right now. I don't know why...these things are normal. But I'm so glad you took the time to share and be vulnerable. I felt sort of alone yesterday as I watched the comments come in (or not come in, as the case may be). I could tell people didn't quite get it. Some did. Some tried. Some just moved on thinking I am a really odd chica! HA! (I'm okay with that...I actually sort of embrace it.) But can put it into words and make yourself available to the support that we can offer. Thank you for that. You are a beautiful soul.

  7. Believe me you are not alone in this. I've been holding it in too. I keep thinking, if I hold it it, maybe it will get smaller or something. The thing I hate the most about my stomach is the permanent creases I have from the folds when I sit down. Especially when I'm out in the kayak in the summer and end up with tan lines from them. My stomach isn't huge, I'm actually quite skinny, but I need to get into shape. I keep putting it off, "until the weather warms up," "until after things slow down with the house and the wedding," "until we get married and I have here to run with..." It's hard to commit, and it's hard to let go. It helps knowing that there are so many people that love you just the way you are, and don't forget your husband, whom I imagine thinks your beautiful no matter what. :)

  8. Lisa,
    This was truly an amazing and beautiful and brave post! You are strong and oh so loved by many here. If someone looks down on you, then they truly are not worth the time and energy. I have learned that the hard way. I have so many body insecurities as well...namely my thighs. They make me want to cry often. But my hubby thinks I am just fine...oh how I love him. :)
    I'm not normally a fan of her music, but I find these lyrics so insightful and empowering. I've edited them a bit (Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful"):
    Don't look at me
    Every day is so wonderful
    And suddenly, I saw debris
    Now and then, I get insecure
    From all the pain, I'm so ashamed
    I am beautiful no matter what they say
    Words can't bring me down
    I am beautiful in every single way
    Yes, words can't bring me down
    So don't you bring me down today
    No matter what we do
    No matter what they say
    When the sun is shining through
    Then the clouds won't stay
    And everywhere we go
    The sun won't always shine
    But tomorrow will find a way
    All the other times
    'cause we are beautiful no matter what they say
    Yes, words won't bring us down, oh no
    We are beautiful in every single way
    Yes, words can't bring us down
    Don't you bring me down today
    I think of it quite often when I'm feeling blue or insecure. The song was also featured in one of my all-time favorite shows, "Glee." If there is any show on TV that celebrates being who you are and being proud of who and what you stand for - then this is it.
    Know you are loved - and that you are beautiful.
    Theresa :)

  9. What a brave and vulnerable post! I love that you magic marker-ed for the photo! You make me want to photo my belly too... and let me tell you I usually go to great lengths keeping it from view. Even in my 20s when I had a smokin' body I always kind of hid. Some residual trauma from boys making fun of me when my larger then average breasts showed up the summer between 9th and 10th grade. I would try on even vaguely revealing clothes and return to turtle necks for daily wear. My fashion philosophy always was "distract them" and they won't notice anything. I would wear a scarf or quirky shoes just to keep people from noticing anything else.

    Thank you for being brave enough to let it all out! You are fabulous!! And very loved!

  10. you go girl! I'm so proud of you for having the guts to go through with this post. I certainly relate, my belly is my 'problem' area. It's funny, when I was a teen and in my 20's I hated my thighs, now looking back at photos, I looked pretty good. Unfortunatly, the moment I hit 40, I noticed some not so good changes, namely the belly bulge that won't go away!
    I bet it is very liberating to stop holding it in. I'm doing this whenever I remember.

    One thing to keep in mind is that people who you are worried about seeing your belly, are actually worried about their own issues, lol! so no one is really paying attention to you.
    Now we can both let it all hang out, and focus on the blessings in our lives :-)


  11. Sending you love, love, love!

  12. Lisa--BRAVA!!!! That was fierce and awesome and oh-so-powerful. You are incredible!

  13. I love you.. thank you for being human.

  14. you are so completely inspiring. i absolutely admire you (and connie) for doing this - starting a revolution! hugs!!

  15. Wow!!! What a fantastic treat it was to stop by today! This is such a great post, and about a subject that has been on my mind a lot lately. My mother-in-law remarked upon seeing my body in my undies on a recent visit that she could tell I have been running but I still had a fat belly just like her. I am still sitting with that...but this post sure helps me today. Thank you!

  16. I don't want to suck it in anymore either --- love this post & love your belly:)
    - now following your blog and can't wait to read your posts!

  17. Any comment I would make could not come close to anything in this post. It was raw, inspiring and beautiful. YOU are a beautiful unique soul and I am blessed to "know" you! Peace, love and light . . . Namaste!

  18. Oh this is beautiful! SO beautiful! You are brave and honest and in makes me want to come over there and hug that beautiful belly.

    It's all SO much like my own journey! I recently decided that each time my ego thinks something negative about one of my body parts (eg. "oh my belly looks big in this shirt!") I will touch that part of my body in a non-verbal apology. It has been tremendously healing for me and sometimes brings tears to my eyes. You can read more about it here...

  19. A lovely, lovely post, inspirational. Thank you.

  20. Your tummy is beautiful compared to mine. My three kids have left their marks. I don't suck my tummy in but i keep it well covered ALWAYS. I know that posting that pic must have been hard. I just wanted to leave a comment and salute your courage! We should all start doing remind ourselves and eachother that real women have bumps and curves...and that's ok!

  21. i had a similar epiphany about my post two kids belly recently, and once i stopped feeling badly about it, i actually started taking better care of myself! it does wonders for the confidence. congrats to you and your inspirational belly!

  22. What a truly beautiful, courageous and authentic post. I echo the words of all the comments above and want to smother your scrummy tummy with kisses too!!
    Gosh... every word resonated soooooo much with me... yes Yes YES!! My own tummy bears the scars and wrinkles of 3 kids - kids so very precious to me who I love dearly. But your post made me realise how much I have grown to despise and resent the marks my carrying them had left behind... how much I desperately try to cover it up, try to disguise it and suck it in.... your tummy is gorgeous compared to mine!!
    How liberating it is to accept ourselves, in all our uniqueness. We need to celebrate this more, including our 'battle scars'! For they are actually 'medals of courage' from the journey our lives have taken, and it is sad that we are so intent on covering them all up in shame and disgust.
    Thank you, thank you for your bravery and inspiration.
    Ginormously squishy hugs
    Jo xxx

  23. I am so humbled and honored by all of your comments. I am in the process of responding to each person individually but if I have not yet found your email, please know that I THANK YOU and will respond!

    Bless each and every one of you...I feel so loved!

  24. OH LISA this was the most amazing and inspiring POST I have ever read!
    YOu are such a breathe of fresh speak from the heart & soul....OMG, I so feel the same way....I HATE my stomach and what it stands for!

    After 4 babies(1 an angel), a hysterectomy, stressful life caring for my Mom & MIL and the good old middle 40's.....I am so frustrated with my body, hate the way I look since all my weight is in my stomach! I am trying so hard to get back an exercise routine at Curves and work on eating better...but it's a struggle.
    YOur courage have empowered me girl! Love ya!

  25. You're beautiful, amazing, and courageous! This post is amazing and I appreciate that you shared yourself with us. We love you!

  26. How did i miss this? OMG i love you! You are my hero! (And the wind beneath my wings :)

    Seriously, this is amazingly beautiful and inspiring. I love seeing you expanding into yourself and embracing/celebrating all parts.

    So honored to call you a love letter friend :)

    xo Lis

  27. You are a rock star! A courageous, vulnerable, brave, strong woman. Let it out... all of it. Doesn't it leave so much room for awesomeness to you up?!

    You are beautiful!!!

    xo & belief in you,
    <a href="></a>

  28. Visiting you from Kathy's Everyday Bliss...

    A beautiful & inspiring post and a beautiful and inspiring photo. I "hold it in," too, and wear loose fitting, all-black clothing to try to hide what I lovingly refer to as my "bread-basket" (it doesn't feel right to call it a "spare-tire"...) There were many great things about being pregnant, and one of them was the freedom to not have to suck in my belly (wouldn't have worked it I'd tried...)

    Thanks again for the wonderfulness...