Who would you be if you really loved your body?
The benefit of being at my stage in life is that I have wisdom that I didn't have when I was younger. I understand that the journey towards self love is a process and that I can choose who I want to be. I stand here today choosing to retreat into silence no longer. I choose to be patient with myself; courageous, full of life and living large.
In answering the call of the 36.24.36 Project.... stripped naked of pretense and false beliefs....I have found unbelievable love and freedom in that space to say "Yes" to everything I am meant to be no matter how long it takes.
What places on your body do you hope to see differently?
From the time I was a little girl I have suffered from extreme shyness and people pleasing behavior. For as long as I can remember I have always struggled with a lack of confidence and self esteem. This often showed up in my inability to speak loudly enough to be heard in school or my fear of talking to strangers and later on my embarrassment around boys....beginning in middle and high school.
In third grade I began wearing glasses and then at 12 years old I had to wear braces. This marked the beginning of my belief that I was ugly. Because of this belief I wanted to hide. I hid by not speaking up for myself, and by making my small frame even smaller by physically withdrawing and by avoiding confrontation at all costs. Even more costly I hid by smiling no matter how I was feeling. It became a mask that I hid behind.
The first time that I ever felt pretty was when at 17 I got contact lenses and my braces came off. It was at this time that I developed a more expanded sense of self and I began to love my life in a way that I hadn't been able to previously. I know now that my self loathing hadn't gone away but as long as I could look into the mirror and see that my hated braces and glasses were gone I could accept myself. It was during this year that I met my future and present husband of 41 years. I often hear these voices in my mind telling me that if I still had braces and glasses when we met he would never have loved me. I still hear them sometimes.
What stories do you tell yourself when you see these parts of your body?
Now, when I look into the mirror, my feelings of no longer being pretty have returned. I'm no longer a teenager or a 20 or 30 year old. I am now a grandmother and a dancer and actor. I have been noticing that my body has been responding to these familiar feelings again by,for example, my voice getting stuck in the back of my throat during my auditions and my fear of fully letting go and commanding the space when I'm dancing with other dancers in class. My vulnerability has returned and I find that I'm easily intimidated which sends me into silence again. It makes me deeply sad that these feelings of not being worthy have resurfaced ......because I know that they are all lies.
What hopes do you have that would arise when others see these images?
When you see these images?
I hope that when I and others see these images that we will all look in our mirrors and gasp at the beauty that is held in our bodies....these precious containers of our lives.