I remember the pain of looking in the mirror. My acne was angry and horrible, my butt was so big, my legs so thick, and my nose? I don't even want to go into how ridiculously large my nose was. I did not look how I was supposed to look. In the matter of one year, I went from cute little girl to monster.
My clothes were always baggie and though just a year before I had always kept my hair pulled back, now it hung in my face as often as possible. I also wore baseball hats as often as I could justify it.
I was hiding. The pain of growing up was too much, and the stares I got felt like daggers. I was no longer allowed to play with the boys. I was being segregated. And I knew it was because I was ugly.
That was the story I was telling myself anyway. I had no idea what was happening, really, but I thought that the ugly girl story made the most sense to me. While my mother tried to contradict it, my pain would not let me believe her.
That was 34 years ago. I was eleven. I didn't realize that puberty was what I was experiencing, and it was quite normal. I had no idea that the kids around me were experiencing some version of the same situation. I felt utterly alone and I hated myself and I hated the world.
While I did eventually grow out of that, I carried some version of it forward with me through adulthood. Judged constantly on my looks, valued for what clothes I wore, how my hair looked, if my make-up created a flawless finish, I soon became exhausted with the effort it took to try and cover up my manglements. I decided that one of my goals would be to not have to wear make-up. I didn't care how long it took, I would work on breaking the habit little by little until I could go through my life without it.
Now, I feel like I am soaring. I feel like I have been liberated from a cage that has kept me immobile for so many years. Why? I havent' changed how I look, necessarily, I am still in the same basic skin suit, though it has aged. The difference is my mind. It is my attitude. It is my heart.
It took a lot of work. It took a lot of courage, but holy shit, I made it. I am here. I am proud of my body. I feel beautiful much of the time. (There was a time when I couldn't fathom how that might feel.)
I want everyone to feel this way. I want to share it because I know that I have become a better person through this work. I have become happier. I have become more courageous. I have become more.
That's what my writing is about. That is what my new class that starts on Monday is about. It is about starting the work that it takes to get to a place where you are free, confident and brave. It is about making the choice to find your beauty. This is not beauty as a thing, or an appearance, this is beauty as a state of consciousness. Beauty as a belief system. Beauty as a feeling.
I know that when I tell people that I feel beautiful, or sexy, or pretty, they are taken aback. In fact, I would go so far as to say that many people are put off by a person who has no problem owning her beauty. owning her body. It is a threat to most people because most are afraid to do the work to get there. It is hard fucking work, looking at yourself. if you have been avoiding mirrors for years, you have some work ahead of you.
It is a lot like eating junk for years, smoking, drinking, putting tons of crap in your body and then hoping to be able to take a pill and magically transform into a healthy person. It just ain't gonna happen.
Ignoring your body visually is the same. If you have been ignoring your body, you will take some training. You will need to get used to the sight of yourself. You think that is overly harsh? It isn't. Ignoring yourself is. I know because I did it. I was the woman who avoided mirrors.
I am not exagerating when I say that I hated myself. My body was a stranger to me. I didn't know who I was anymore because I had gotten to know myself through the experience of others. So I turned away from myself. I turned my back on me. Fuck! How shitty that is! To give up on yourself at the age of eleven? But I did. I was so afraid of what I would see, I just stopped looking.
IIt has been long. It has been challenging; but I would not trade how I feel about myself for anything. I would not trade the work I did to get here either. I love that work because it showed me something. It opened me up. It made me a believer in all things.
So, whaddaya say? You wanna risk it? You wanna take that chance? You wanna start what will be a wonderful lifetime of work?
Sunday at five is the deadline to sign up for my five day class. Short, but powerful.
Let me know if you have any questions. I am happy to help.
The class starts Monday. Five days of inspirational emails. One Epic Selfie Manual. A huge step forward on your journey. Registration closes on Sunday at 5 pm. You wanna join us?
Read more about it HERE.
It reaches up through your gut and grabs at your heart, pulling you downward into the deep dark. The sudden and disruptive downard motion and the darkness that surrounds it confuses you at first. There is nothing to locate with your eyes, nothing to anchor yourself to in space. You float in this and it seems to infiltrate your skin, to your sinew, down to your very bones. You ache with pain and you don't know why.
It is elusive, but the pain it causes pushes you to search for the cause of this torment and eventually, you locate the epicenter. It is loss. It is grief. And though you have felt it before, it can still surprise you. It can still control you. And trying to fight that control, trying to fool yourself into believing that you can remain above it only slams you harder against the cold stone floor of loss.
That floor is always there, and you are only peripherally aware of its existence until your cells start to remember. They awaken to that loss and send that message through your bare feet to your brain, and the only thing you can do, the only way to move through it is to sit with it. Allow it. Give yourself up to it.
For you did lose that person, insomuch as you also gained their light while they were alive. It is a strange mix of luck and loss once you come to see it. The pain would not be there without the grateful reverence which you pay their memory.
But as with all things, all feelings, all longing, there is more. There is that fear that this will never again happen for you. No one will ever love you like that. You will never again connect with anyone like you did with this magnificent being. This lost person saw you. They took their time and energy and love and they recognized your sweetness. They recognized your strength. You trusted them with your heart. And they left. And it crushed you.
This pain can scare you into hibernation for years. You can use it as your excuse. You can use it as your shield against further heartbreak. You can use it as your reason to live as less than. But that is not you. You are the person who was seen. You are the person who was special, very, very special to that someone you lost, and though that person is gone, you remain, and not letting anyone see you is robbing you of your life. It is robbing you of your potential. It is robbing you of of what you can become.
Do not confuse yourself. Do not allow yourself to think that the world could be blind to you. That the only person with vision is lost. This is not the case. You can live with this loss, pay reverence to it, but do not allow it to scare you into believing that your light was produced by the sight of it. The only blind world that exists is the one you create by hiding from it.
Do not hide.
Today I dedicate this to my father, who saw me and loved the me that he saw. I dedicate this to me for crawling over that wall. I dedicate this to you, so that you may scratch your way to the top...just far enough over to let you see the sunrise on the far horizon.
Someone you know just might need to read this, so please do what you can to share it. Twitter, FB, copying and pasting links all work.
Recently I started a daily practice of taking naked pictures of myself and publishing them online with inspirational quotes written over the top of them. I am doing this for many reasons. The most important reason is that taking a naked picture of my body every day builds confidence. It familiarizes me to the beauty I carry around with me. It helps me to appreciate what I have.
But this is not the only way to get there. The key to self-love is noticing. In order for you to love who you are, you have to know who you are, and there are a million different ways to get there.
Generally, there is an approach I use in order to pull myself out. This is through challenge. I have repeatedly challenged myself to see what I am capable of. I am not saying you have to jump out of an airplane, but do something that is just a little bit scary. See what arises. The beautiful thing about most people is that we are full of unrealized potential. Most of us are just using a tiny bit of the special sauce that we have buried deep within us because we are not used to bringing that part out. So practice doing that. Write about what you think every day. Go out and talk to a stranger once a week. Travel to a place where you don't know the language.
One of the best things about life is surprises, and there is nothing like surpirsing yourself with previously unknown abilities. But you will not do that if you don't try. You will never get to know yourself if you don't attempt it. I have seen amazing things, but there is nothing like being around a child who does something they are proud of, something that surprises them, something that excites them.
Remember the first time you tied your shoe? When you figured out how to tell time? When you were finally able to ride your bike without training wheels? Every time you achieved these and other things, you needed people less. You had more freedom. You became more autonomous. It was wonderful and scary and amazing and you felt like a superhero.
It is much like that now, except you must look harder to find the things that you can do. And much like when you were a child, these accomplishments will liberate you. These small victories will make you stronger. These things that you find you can do are the key to your confidence, liberation and love.
As I wrote in one of my previous blog pieces, I did not always feel good about myself. I was not always so brave. I spent many years avoiding mirrors. I could not look at myself externally or interrnally. I was doing everything I could to avoid seeing myself because I was terrified at what I would find. But I found that this was fear based on nothing. This was bullshit, and the more I challenged myself to do things I had not done before, the more I saw myself, and the more I saw myself, the more comfortable I became in my skin suit. It was not magic, it was life. It is life.
It is time to find your next shoe. Find something to do that you have not done before and do it. Do it in private if you must, but accomplish something small today. See how that feels. Do the same thing tomorrow. And the next day. Get to know yourself so you can love more parts of you. Before you know it, you will be more than you ever thought you could be. You will surprise yourself with your own abilities. You will love yourself more deeply than you could have imagined.
And that will be just the beginning.
Sharing is CARING. Tweet, FB like, re-post if you must. I think everybody could do with getting to know themselves a little bit better.
I am rolling around on a black rubbery plastic sheet with Brian, Lola, and Otis. Lola and Otis are naked for the most part. I think Otis still has his socks on. I could be judgmental about this, but I am still wearing my shoes. Brian is naked as well. Lola and Brian are married. So is Otis. But not to Lola and Brian. That would be weird.
I am doing my best to ignore the people watching me fuck Brian, doing my best to focus on my body, to focus on his body, and not think about the fact that there are people commenting, clapping, and laughing all around us. This is my first time. I come in and out of orgasmic consciousness and feel wonderful, then ridiculous, then embarrassed, then aroused, then distracted. I have never felt so many things at once while fucking. So many things that I am confused as to whether I love or hate it.
Brian lives in Texas and he is the easiest person I have ever dated. I don't see him much. Maybe once every three or six months. When we talk we often discuss the other people we are dating. Last month, out of the blue, he asked me if I wanted to come down for a visit.. In July. It sounded hot, temperature-wise, but I figured, new state, new experiences. I went to Texas over the weekend of the fourth, and Lola, Brian and I sat by their pool, drank beer, talked and got to know each other. We also had sex. We all slept in the same bed. It was easy. Much easier than I thought it would be. Then again, with Brian, it is always easy.
Then we go to the swinger's club. Hanging out with Lola and Brian in public is a test for my confidence. I am basically hanging out with two very beautiful statuesque humans while trying my best not to look like a mushroom growing next to them in the shade. They look and smell great. I don't wear deodorant. Their looks are highly stylized and contemporary. I am trying my best to arrange my hair so that it doesn't look like I just got up from a nap. I do what I can then I forget about it. Which is easy, because it is easy to forget almost anything when you walk into a swinger's club in Texas.
Otis is already at the club. He looks like a typical IT nerd among the crowd of young-ish, fit, scantily clad Texans. He is very nice, respectful, and articulate. At some point in the evening he and Lola head upstairs to get to know each other better. Brian and I hang out and talk a bit, then eventually follow them upstairs. Brian is crazy about Lola. They have been married for over two decades and he cherishes her. It is wonderful to be around. The first time I asked him what type of porn he likes, he responded, "Lola porn." I had no idea that he was referring to his wife, so I acted cool and pretended to know what he was talking about.
We find them upstairs and watch as they make out. Then we walk over and Brian leaves me alone with them. Lola reaches up, pulls me to her and kisses me. Soft, nice. It makes my head spin. It is still spinning when Otis asks me something. I don't quite remember now what words he used, but in effect, he asked if I wouldn't mind. "Mind what?" I respond, and he says, "if I kiss you." This is the very first time someone has ever asked me if he could kiss me, and it happens to be in a swingers club in Texas.
After a while, Brian returns and Lola and Otis stand up, Lola turns to Brian and says, "we're going downstairs." They were going to have sex! In a room! full of strangers! This is the kind of stuff that I only READ about in Bellingham, Washington! Brian decides to wait a bit then go watch. When we do, I am taken aback by the geeky IT guy. He is hammering Lola. I mean..maybe not hammering her. But, given his affect, his vigor and confidence are surprising. Brian looks down at me, points at Lola, enjoying herself on the rubbery plastic sheets and says with a smile on his face, "he is fucking my wife."
Otis looks up, smiles at us, and politely asks us to join. We climb up on the bed, because it is about four feet off the ground, (Brian gets up there with no problem), then I start undressing Brian. This is one of my favorite things to do with him. It makes me feel like I am man-handling a giant...even though he could crush me in an instant if he wanted. Even pretend danger is sexy to me. One time, I was attempting to hold just one of Brian's arms down and he lifted me up and threw me across the bed. The memory of that alone is enough to get me going.
After his clothes come off, we start to have sex. There is a scene from When Harry Met Sally where Harry is talking about a dream where he is being scored by Olympic judges on his sexual abilities. In the end, his score is ruined by his mother who has disguised herself as an East German judge. This is very close to what it was like having sex in a sex club, minus my mother. Though truthfully, if she were alive and present, i am sure I would have fared quite well. People openly comment, cheer and even touch you when you are least expecting it (now that is NOT Lazy Hand!) to the point that sex becomes something of a team building activity. I am not sure exactly what kind of team we were building there, but we certainly got plenty of feedback from all the helpful folks around us.
Looking back on that whirlwind of an evening, I have to say, Even now, it is the rubbery plastic sheet that has stayed with me. I mean, I understand why they use them, but more distracting than the cheering crowds or the hammering Otis, was the strange feeling under my bum as Brian was doing his best to do his best with me. I mean...NOTHING absorbs into rubbery plastic sheets. You really have no idea what you are rolling around in, and though the club provides fresh ones after each set of people finish, it is not a feeling I would say is very "sexy", especially when the sheet starts coming off the mattress and entagles itself in Brian's feet.
At the end of the night (or the beginning of the morning), Lola, Brian, Otis and I were heading out and Brian turned to Otis, reached out to shake his hand and said, "Otis, thank you for fucking my wife." Otis, being the gentleman that he is, took his hand, shook it, and replied, "anytime." They are so polite down there in Texas!
Didja like this? Share it! I am sure you know of SOMEONE who is curious about Texas Swinger Clubs!
I am walking through the hall in junior high school, making my way through crowds of talking, laughing, and note-passing kids. I am wearing my Philadelphia Eagles jersey and my new Guess? jeans and I am feeling pretty cool. As I pass a group of my brother’s friends, one of them calls out, “ha…cha cha cha cha!” a catch phrase that comedian Jimmy Durante used in his stand-up act. (Jimmy Durante was known for his ginormous nose.) The smile I had been wearing immediately vanishes. I keep walking, looking straight ahead pretending I didn’t hear anything, head straight to the girls bathroom, go into one of the stalls and cry silently for several minutes.
Throughout my life I have been teased about my body for many reasons: my nose, my butt, my arms, my legs, my height, my face, my hair…I am sure I am leaving some things out. Most of these experiences, especially the events that occurred early in my life, were quite painful, for I thought that there was nothing at all that I could do about it. I felt helpless within my body, and resentful toward it for the pain it caused.
The world is not set up to cultivate confident humans. It is in fact, quite the opposite. How often have you looked at pictures of yourself from a time and place and thought, “wow, I didn’t think I looked that good back then, I thought I was ugly/fat/hairy/weak then, but look at how ugly/fat/hairy/weak I am now! I should have enjoyed what I had.” I hear that a lot. I actually have had that experience myself. This experience, in fact, is a small part of what led me to liberation from the hatred I once had for my body.
I caught a glimpse of this at one point while I was married. Unbeknownst to me, I had gained about thirty pounds. I didn’t realize it until I was looking at a picture of myself at one point and thought, “huh….I am looking kinda big. I wonder how that happened.” Later that evening at home, I asked my husband if he had noticed my weight gain and if he had, why he hadn’t mentioned anything to me. He replied, quite simply, that I seemed happy and if I was happy, what did it matter that I gain a few extra pounds? My jaw dropped. Here was this tall, handsome hunk of a man telling me that it didn’t matter to him if I was a bit heavy, that as long as I was happy, he was happy. It was a jolt to my system to feel that kind of love. It was just a glimpse of an awakening to a different way of life.
Along with my past experiences, I came to see through a series of hundreds of dates later in life, where my body or looks were openly critiqued, that you do not need the world’s approval to be a happy person. You do not need the approval of your peer group, your family or your friends. You only need the approval of one very important person. You only need one person to love you unconditionally, one person to accept you just the way you are. That one person’s acceptance will free you from the expectations of others and put you on a path of a happiness you have never known before.
As you might suspect, that one person is you. I can tell you from personal experience, if you are truly happy with yourself, if you love yourself and your body unconditionally, no one can touch you. No one can make you feel like shit about yourself if you do not allow it.
I realize that this message is everywhere. There is a reason why self-help books are so popular. Everybody wants this. Everybody wants unconditional love and happiness. Getting there is hard though. It takes real work. It takes an ability to be honest about yourself. It takes a willingness to change your mind. Your mind, which has been fed the wrong message about your value and your physical appearance, is the actual challenge. You must see yourself as lovely. Accept yourself as beautiful or strong or pretty or sexy and get on with it. Reject any message that paints you as less than, because it is:
A. Not true
B. Fed to you by unhappy people
C. Sold to you by an industry whose purpose is to get you to buy shit endlessly in pursuit of happiness and perfection
I started loving my body the more I focused on what I could do with it. I was athletic growing up and was always doing physical things; I was a body in motion. And you know what else I was? Unconcerned about how I looked. When I remembered what joy I held as a kid, I decided to bring that back into my adult life. I realized that in effect, I had become less active because of the state I had withdrawn into due to the criticism I received about my body and my life. The more I believed I was a small ugly person, the more I acted like it. But I am not a small ugly person. I am fucking awesome, and I become more awesome each day that thought goes through my head. I can’t get to awesome thinking I am ugly/fat/hairy/weak/stupid, can I? No. No one can.
I hear from men and women alike that they won’t be happy with their body until fill in the blank. They won’t be able to have sex until fill in the blank. A lot of life is missed waiting for perfection, but waiting to have sex until you have flat abs? Until you get rid of a pot belly? Until your legs are not so bulky? That is truly biting off your nose to spite your face. Missing out on life because you don’t like how you look going through it is a real tragedy. I have had sex with tons of people, and the people who I enjoy it with the most are the ones who are confident, no matter what they look like. The people who feel good in their own skin are easier to feel comfortable around. They are easier to be naked around because they feel good being naked.
Life is not about looking a certain way, and in truth, you can change your appearance and still be unhappy. Some of the most beautiful people in the world are profoundly unhappy. Just think about it. How many beautiful people have died from a drug overdose? TONS.
Life is about living it, and caring about what unhappy people think about you is sucking the life force out of you. So fucking stop it. Stop listening to all things that make you doubt yourself. Start doing things that confirm your awesomeness. Remind yourself of the epic reality of your body. Express your point of you. You are here for a reason, and it is not to hate yourself because you have big thighs.
Big thighs are awesome. Droopy tits are epic. Pot bellies are kick ass. Your body shows the history of your life and that is an amazing thing. Allow your body to tell your story. Let it add to all the stories that have come before and pave the way for the stories that will come after. You don’t like the story? Then look at the pain surrounding it and deal with that pain. Blaming your body for your emotional pain is like blaming the highway for bad traffic. The highway can be your path to freedom. The people on the highway who cut you off, honk at you, and keep you from where you are going are not the highway’s issue. They don’t have to be yours, either.
Unhappiness and insecurity come from a misunderstanding of who is most important in your life. Who, above all else, deserves your devotion, your compassion, your acceptance. Address your needs and fill them. Ask for what you want unapologetically. Focus intently on your greatness. Write off those who do not see it in you. They are blind to your greatness because they are blind to their own.
Fuck those guys. You are The Only One Who Matters.
Didja like it? Share it. Give it as a gift. Print it and put it on your wall. Remind yourself every day how fucking awesome you are.
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