I believe that part of tearing down walls involves allowing myself to be seen – truly seen – “warts and all.” In light of this, I’ve recently been putting myself into uncomfortable situations and allowing myself the freedom to really be myself in those situations. Today I laughed when I found myself thinking: “what kind of embarrassing thing could I share on the blog today?” Because that’s exactly how I’m feeling, lately – compelled to do and share and act on things that make me most uncomfortable.
So I was (wasting time) on facebook, waiting for inspiration to strike, when I saw a video of a little old lady dancing to an oldies tune. She was adorable! And I thought to myself: “I want to dance!” Not in the privacy of my own home, but out in front of people, all awkward and uncoordinated and graceless as I am. I haven’t danced publicly since high school, when someone unkindly told me I had no sense of rhythm and was embarrassing myself (the rhythm part was totally true, by the way, but I was the one who chose to allow that to embarrass and hold me back.) So although I LOVE dancing, I do not dance in front of people. Never, ever ever.
So, anyway, I was sitting there watching this sweet lady dance her awkward little heart out and I realized that I really could do that! Maybe not in front of just anybody (YET!), but I feel like I’ve come far enough that I really could dance, at least in front of some people! My next thought was: “I just need to lose a little weight first!”
And for a good twenty minutes, I sat thinking about all the different ways I could lose weight… you know, so I could be all vulnerable and dance in front of people and stuff.
Do you see it? It took me a while. Here I am with the desire, the need, the drive to be vulnerable while at the same time trying to hide, obscure and change the biggest, most noticeable and obvious part of myself:
That absolutely breaks my heart. You know why I haven’t danced in almost 20 years? Because someone once told me that I should feel embarrassed about the way I dance. And I believed them. Somewhere along the way, someone also told me I should be embarrassed about the way I look. And I believed them.
Guys… no one has the power to make me believe that! NO ONE! I chose to believe that. I chose to let someone else’s thoughts become my own. I chose to let someone else define me. I chose to accept someone else’s definition of beauty for myself.
And I chose to let that force me into hiding.
You know what I’ve learned through blogging, and through this quest for vulnerability? I’ve learned that not everyone is going to like me. I’ve learned that some people are going to dislike me because I’m scatterbrained, and some people are going to think I’m gross because my house is messy, and some people are going to think I’m weird because I do off-the-wall things and other people are going to think I’m a bad mom because my kids have chores, or because we have too many children or because we don’t vaccinate and you know what? ALL OF THAT is okay. I’m learning that I don’t need the world’s approval… I don’t even want the world’s approval.
So when did I decide that I would let the world tell me what my body should look like? Look, I’m not saying that it’s healthy to be overweight, we all know that it’s not. And I’m not saying that my weight doesn’t reflect “spiritual issues,” like gluttony. Whatever. What I’m saying is:
I have spiritual issues that are WAAAY more important than gluttony to deal with right now (how about lying and judgement and my part in creating an unhappy marriage and the fact that I’ve built walls around my heart that keep me from truly receiving – or giving – love to anyone?) I firmly believe that I’m worthy despite those issues. In fact, I believe that it’s in the airing of those issues that will ultimately help me to heal and the willingness to allow people to love me despite those issues that will ultimately facilitate healing. Hiding them certainly hasn’t done much for me over the last 15 years or so.
Guess what, guys? I’m overweight. Oh wait, you mean you already knew? You mean I haven’t been able to hide that fact from you? Well then, damn it, break out the disco ball because I’m going to DANCE.
(PS. If you know how this body-shame feels, read this, especially the last two paragraphs. You’re welcome.)