What I Need Most Is…Me (Hold the Self-Criticism)

how old were you when you first began to believe in your imperfections? when you actually started to buy into the idea that you were less than your potential…that there was something more you needed to strive to become. when did you first begin to squelch your quirks? when did you first walk past a mirror and suck in your stomach? how many times have you tried to hide your stretch marks, cellulite, wrinkle, bubbles and folds? how many products have you purchase? how many hours in a therapist’s office have you logged? how many prayers have gone up asking your divine source to ‘make me better’, ‘make me whole’, ‘fix me’?

IMG
Before

i can’t put my finger on the exact moment when i began the journey of fixing myself. in my life before i started thinking i needed fixing i was a pretty carefree life is meant to be lived kind of kid. i like rainbows and kittens and climbing trees and baseball. i could outrun every boy on my block and would outfight them too. i would read books sitting on my head and would randomly burst into songs that i made up to make whatever i was doing go easier. i loved the sound of music but not because of the sappy love story. love stories were gross. i liked the idea of climbing mountains and then bursting into four part harmony choruses with a few of my favorite people after arrival to the summit. i had no idea nor did i care about the boxes girls were supposed to ascribe to. i was told that i couldn’t like to crochet and then get up from my knitting cushion and punch some kid insulting me to my face. i was told that scrapped knees weren’t pretty and smart girls should just stay quiet sometimes.

i didn’t listen. obedience has never been my forte.  and getting me to give into peer pressure is like convincing bush iraq may have been a bad idea. i live in my head. i have always lived in my head. its fun there. we have cotton candy that’s calorie free and an end less stream of sci-fi movies.

and even though i lived a youthful life of loud and outrageous introspection at some point the ceaseless messaging of my imperfections sunk in…

After
After

at 19 i weighed all of 156 pounds. i thought i was fat and thereby unworthy of success. at 42 if i could get to 156 pounds i would dance a jig in my skivvies at the top of the world’s tallest building and dare anybody to try and talk me down. thinking of myself as fat was only a beginning of the life long project entitled ‘fix wanda’. i didn’t just want to change the number on the scale i wanted to change the mindset and motives of the budding woman within.

i challenged myself to move outside my comfort zone. constantly. i went to italy on a dare. i applied to graduate school because i didn’t have anything else to do. i dated the wrong guy at the wrong time with the wrong intentions which decades later turner into fabulous stories but at the time felt like pins being pushed into my eyelids while my feet were nailed to the ground.

i visited wholistic healers, psychics, prophets and meditation masters. i went to therapy. and paid for countless memberships to dietician clinics and weight management systems. in the last 20 years i have lost my current body weight twice. i have been to sweat lodges and yoga retreats. i have climbed mountains and swam in oceans. i’ve mixed teas and gone vegan. i have prayed and fasted and tweaked and kneaded. at one point i was actually able to convince my medical insurance provider to cover biweekly deep tissue massages.

i don’t know if its age or exhaustion but i’m over it.

my health i take seriously but my weight is literally a moving target. hormones reap mood swings and even i don’t want to get in my way. i’ve regained 12 of the 40 pounds i lost and i keep berating myself for not getting back on the wagon and get ‘er done. then something completely unexpected happened.

one day i was moving from one task to another trying to complete this or that goal. i felt tired and haggard and i wanted a nap or a cookie or a glass of pinot. i felt like my entire body was made of sand and it was somehow transforming into those glass crystals sand becomes when its struck by lightening. yeah, it’s pretty but it got freaking struck by lightening. then out of the corner of my eye, i saw her

IMG_2500me. i was stunned by myself. i had literally taken my own breath away. i stood in the mirror looking my eyes and thought ‘you’re beautiful’ and because i didn’t believe me , i often take convincing, i repeated it, ‘no, really you’re beautiful.’

i started to take in the eyes that have seen, the nose that can declare ‘too much salt’, the mouth that has spoken and the ears that have too often misunderstood. i looked at my hands and marveled at the lines. i took in my legs that get me here and take me there and i decided right there flat footed and weary that for everything that i have been for everything i am all i’ve ever needed was to accept the woman in the mirror.

yeah, i know michael jackson beat me to the punch. but who would you be if you could just be you? moody, silly, not aways the brightest crayon in the box you. what if there were no weight requirement for this life? what if you didn’t struggle against your eccentricities but instead worked to enhance them? what if you really could just be yourself, your whole self everyday?

would you see the beauty in you then?

i’m not a make up wearer. but once i wanted to take one of those boudoir photos. don’t ask why. and when you go for the photo shoot they lather on make up and flash lashes. there are push up bras and spanx and 4 inch heels. i couldn’t go through with the shoot because i couldn’t stop laughing. loudly. who the hell is this woman in the mirror? i asked after the ‘makeover’. and then i guffawed because i looked like a clown.

i washed off the foolishness and walked out. its just not me.

when i catch a glimpse of me now i’m go all shug in the color purple and remind myself that it pisses God off when we walk past His work without acknowledging it. i am a work of God. i am the color purple and i that i am beautiful and whole and perfect.

thank you God.

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