Usually in this space, I talk about polyamory and relationships. Sometimes, though, I talk about ways in which I explore other sorts of uncharted relationship waters. Or as I put it in my Facebook Page, ways in which I Love Outside The Box, other than polyamory. One of the themes that crops up in my FB periodically is about loving outside of physical boxes–loving that’s free of the conditioning and restrictions that have been put on us — on me in particular, of course — around body image, size, weight, physical abilities or challenges, etc.
Out of the work I’ve been doing after the HAI Level 2 workshop called “Loving Yourself,” I wrote this piece below. Many spiritual traditions and self-help paths suggest doing what is called “Mirror Work” as a way to begin to learn to love and support oneself better. It’s incredibly simple, and profoundly effective. It’s also extremely challenging for those of us whose bodies are outside today’s ideal — “outside the box” — in just about any way. It’s even challenging for those whose bodies FIT the “norms”… because society has conditioned all of us to be dissatisfied with our bodies and our looks… and just about everything else in our lives. Faster cars, bigger houses, better jobs, smaller waistlines, longer lives… who and what we are right now is never enough. (And if we think it’s enough, we’re chastised by economists and pundits, because “everyone knows” we need to Improve The Economy, and how can we do that if we aren’t out there working harder, wanting more, and always striving??) So as simple as it sounds, looking at yourself in the mirror with simple loving intent, and without criticism, can be far more difficult than it seems. It certainly is for me.
Today, however, I had something of a breakthrough:
I have found myself unable to keep up with the mirror work in any consistent way. But I have continued to try to be more aware as I see myself in mirrors, and to work on improving my own self-talk. Today, while getting dressed, I reached for a tank top that I’d gotten “handed down” to me. I looked at the sparkly rhinestones on the front, and nearly put it back. How could I wear that with a straight face? “Naw… I’m not a ’10’ — I’m too old, too fat, too short, too loud, too… blah blah blah blah.” The words started to fill my head. I started to put it back in the drawer, and then stopped myself.
“Who says?” I thought. “I am too a ’10’!”
I’m a 10 to my partners, who love my body just as I am. Who cares what anyone else might think? I’m too old to be a 10? No, I’m too old to CARE about whether others think that! Not only do others actually think that I’m delicious and sexy exactly as I am now, but as I thought about it, I realized I’m also a 10 in other ways.
I’m a 10 in my poly community
I’m a 10 in my daughter’s eyes
I’m a 10 in my coaching sessions
I’m a 10 to some of my workshop participants (and about and 8.5 overall ;^)
I’m a 10 to my friends
I’m a 10 on some lists (including this one)
I’m a 10 because I do a lot of things for a lot of people and I do them well…
AND I’m a 10 even if I DON’T.
Even my mom thinks I’m a 10 as long as we stick to certain topics of conversation… like parenting. Or the weather.
In fact, thinking on it, just about the only person who I actually care about whether they think I’m a 10 or not, and who might not already think I’m a 10… is ME.
So here’s me standing up to that bullying, belittling voice inside my head, telling myself I don’t deserve to wear such a shirt, or I’ll get laughed at if I do…
I am a 10, dammit! I deserve to love me, and see myself as the very best… because I AM. I am the best me there is. I rock. I’m awesome. And I’m gonna wear this shirt and anyone who thinks otherwise can suck dodo eggs. (I’m crying now, as I type these words.)
In fact, I put on another shirt over it, one I can’t wear without a tank top (which is why I went looking in the first place…). so now the sparkly 10 is FRAMED on my chest. Just about at the level of my heart chakra, in fact.
I haven’t looked at myself in the mirror since putting this on yet… but I promise, all my mirror-friends, that I WILL LOOK, and I will talk back to those bullies. Enough of this nonsense.
I AM a 10!
With love for all of you wonderful 10’s out there!
©2012, Dawn M. Davidson