(Reposting from my Facebook page just 'cause I like it)
July 26, 2011 at 3:19pm
Last night I attended a local networking event. It was a smaller group of about 16 women. The venue had a peaceful vibe, and I enjoy meeting new women. But I’m writing this piece because there was something I noticed that nagged at me as the night went on. I first perked up my ears during early introductions as I heard 3-4 women laughingly make mirror references. Most of the comments were about intentionally avoiding looking at themselves in the mirror, or doing it very quickly, if they had to. The implied message was that they couldn’t stand looking at themselves in the mirror because didn’t like what they saw. Much of the talk for the remainder of the evening was about products and discoveries related to health and longevity. That’s a good thing, right? But something was buggin’ me. Later in the evening as I stood ready to leave, women saying their goodbyes and closing conversations, it finally came to me. I was hearing a deep underlying message that said we are not okay the way we are. We (women) must continue to seek out products, remedies, solutions to alter and yes even hide our age. I had the sense that it was a deeply unconscious message, but there none-the-less. If I can find the best creams, the best vitamins, the best anti-aging treatments and put all I can find to work on improving me, thenI will be acceptable. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in good health. I want to live a long, vibrant, radiantly alive life. But where is the line drawn? What drives my motivation? Am I driven by a desire to look and be different because on some level I believe I am not acceptable as I am? Why is it that so many women cannot bear to look, and I mean really look at themselves in the mirror? I’ll tell you why. It’s because they cannot bear what they see. And why not? Because we are told over and over again from culture and media alike that we are not okay as we are. We are supposed to look a certain way, and it is a very narrow margin. So yes, I want to feel good in this body I have right now. Not the body I will have. I want to own these lines on my face. They mean something important. I want to treat them with value. Imagine that. These lines represent the life I’ve lived; the joy and the struggles. The struggles have been great discovery times for me. They are part of what makes me the incredible, vibrant, radiant woman that I am. Yeah, I just said that. Out loud. I say it loud and proud. The extra fat deposits on my hips and my arms are soft and curvy and FEMININE. These fatty curves are juicy and full. They represent my juicy and full life. Slap my ass and it jiggles. I point with momentum in a sleeveless shirt, and my arm waves with me. When I walk up the asphalt road in my neighborhood, I feel my tummy jiggle with the impact of my feet on the pavement. When do I get to love ALL of me? When are we as women going to model for the rest of the world what it looks like to be “a woman like that”, a woman who knows who she is and doesn’t try to cover it, change it, improve upon it because SHE IS ENOUGH. Women are the ones who need to lead this radical movement, this kind of radical self-acceptance. My husband is attending a film festival in California. He saw a film while he was there called I Know a Woman Like That. He said it was an incredible film about women in their 70’s who are vibrantly alive and passionate and beautiful. Women who are living their lives perhaps even more fully now than when they were 40 or 30 or 20. Afterwards he talked to one of the women involved in the making of the film. He told her how much he enjoyed the film and spoke to its powerful message. Then he said, “I’m 36. My wife is 53 and she is a woman like that.” When he told me that, I shrieked and cried. I felt such joy and gratitude. Do you know why I felt such joy? Because it’s true! I am a woman like that. I felt gratitude because I can allow myself to know it and he knows it. How brilliantly awesome is that?! Do you know a woman like that? Are you a woman like that? A woman who is vibrantly alive… a woman who is radiant. A woman full of soul. A woman bawdy, laughing, inhabiting her body in this moment as it is. A woman who wears her years proudly, unabashedly. A woman who can look into her own eyes and love, truly love, what she sees. This is a woman who inspires social change. I invite you to be that woman. Make no excuses. Love who you are, exactly as you are right now. No dress rehearsals. This is it. Do it now.