Inspired by Eve Ensler.
Nice thing about living life, about fielding ups and downs, is that I have become patient. When I get stuck, and when I'm working with pain and loss, I know that soon enough, around some unexpected corner, I will get unstuck. Liberated from my glue trap of feeling and experience. So I sit with my yuck and carry on, and thank the wind for my curiosity, which keeps me moving forward, and my children, who demand I show up every day, and my husband, who holds the world up while I am unwilling, and then, eventually, the shift comes, and I'm ready to look forward, and the past and possessions and people - all those things that I allow to consume me until I no longer recognize myself - fade from center stage, and I'm left with the present, and the future, and a good dose of gratitude for this process of growing and changing.
Until tonight, I have been held for a few weeks by the idea of consumption. How I was being used up by my own mind's energy. And how angry it left me that by choosing and allowing my attention to go there, I was cheating those who really do deserve (and want) the best of me. Such a crappy cycle to be in.
And then I listened to good old Eve remind me of my innate ability to wipe out the world of hate with my singular heart of love ("you don't tell the Atlantic Ocean to behave"!) and I was able to change my verb.
Ever have a bad moment in a dressing room with a mirror? If you are a woman, no matter how regal and strong you are, I'm willing to bet yes. Probably if you are a man, too. Humans have an enormous capacity for not measuring up in their own eyes. I had a day like this on Sunday. A bad moment in a dressing room. But instead of it consuming me, instead of feeling hopeless, fated, depressed and fat, I felt liberated. My eyes gave me an understanding of what's been eating at me. I've been spending so much time giving the best pieces of me to the service of what's nothing short of bullshit it my life, that I have overlooked my most precious possession, my self-hood. The one that is connected to my body, my mind, and my soul. Which makes for a cloudy mind, a grumpy soul, and a body that didn't measure up, to my eyes.
The shit hit the fan with a pair of black workout shorts, size Small.
I put them on. Comfortable. Fine from the front. OK from the side. And I turned around, and looked at my thighs, and I thought: I know I can be better. I've sinned against myself. Bad Girl. Skinny-fat.
Now that's a dicey tirade of self-loathing, and it's dicey to share that I think this way of myself at times. Shouldn't I be just fine the way I am, no matter what I turn around and see? (ideally: yes. And on most days, I'm there. But this was a crisis, the kind that blows a hole in your shit cloud world and blasts you out the other end feeling slightly enlightened).
How many times have I heard in the past two months: you look great, but I haven't been able to absorb it? Because I don't feel great. I don't feel vibrant and strong. I feel defeated and cowed. I feel weak. Sidelined by physical injury, that was true for awhile, but the injury to me heart was what really took its toll. This is what I saw in that mirror: my body is reflecting back to me what is happening in my life. I have slipped low on my priority list. I believed what others said, and allowed their criticism to quiet my own voice, and I buried myself in worry and aimlessness and a million other petty psychic crimes. Just writing that pisses me off. Sometimes a little anger is the perfect push.
So I bought those tiny, tight shorts. I had a semi-catastrophic emotional meltdown, I regrouped, I apologized, I worked out, I made dinner, I carved some pumpkins and enjoyed a few glasses of wine with my husband and my best buddy and my kids. And every day since I have showed up at the gym or in my backyard and am grinding my way through the strength cycle I've been avoiding, oh, for a year. I know where I want to be. I know how to get there. I'm embracing the humility of all I have to learn, all I have lost, and the newness of what my body has to teach me this time. And I'm putting that bad moment with a mirror to good use. Let me be clear: this is not about my body. It's about my body enveloping my soul. Sometimes an inside job can be achieved with some real physical work. Anyone who has engaged in a physical life can attest to the discipline, dark spiritual forests, and total guts it takes to make changes and improvements.
In case you are wondering...the verb isn't buy, it's move. Move against the current of consumption. Move against the wind that is oppressing you. Move in ways you haven't before, on paths you've never dared walk. Move towards the vision in your heart. See the ugly, see that which does not measure up, see the injustice and unkindness of hurt people (perhaps yourself included), and then move forward at all costs.
Forgiveness grows in movement. Movement provides us with fluidity, mental and physical space, and demands that we pay attention to our body and our habitat. I cannot think of a finer medicine.
As I move forward, I reclaim my voice, my vision. I reject an empire that quiets me, that gives me bad moments with a mirror. I vow to take that moment with the mirror and run with it, right into the heart of what it means to be real, messy, wild and alive.
Tell me your verb. I may need to steal it in the future.