Why is it that when we see a picture of someone, we immediately hunt for flaws? “Oh her tummy isn’t flat,” or “His nose is out of line.” Why is it that we look in the mirror and hunt for flaws before we start our day, or throughout the day to make sure our best face is on?
Lying in bed with my girlfriend the other night, we talked of a similar thing: why is it that we nitpick the way our bodies look? So, we agreed we’d only allow each other one “body flaw” to note, with a giggle and a tongue-in-cheek. We are both beautiful to each other; we know that. But, the fact of this mindset still remained. That evening, it was the roll of flesh between my ribs and abs. The other day, it was the circumference of my upper arms. When I share these flaw-thoughts with my partners, they both quickly remind me how beautiful I am. Am I subconsciously hunting for these reminders? Am I hoping to help them find the negative in me, and run for the hills? What on earth am I doing when I say and think these things?
On the flip side, I do vocally voice my appreciation when I see pretty things like my partner’s bare ass peeking out from under a t-shirt, or the curve of my girlfriend’s hip when we curl up together. I do even admire myself when I’ve made myself up for a night out. Perhaps these voiced flaw-thoughts are my conscious self attempting to find balance between the negative and positive? Why must there be a balance like this when it comes to body image? Why not embrace all that our bodies have given us without finding a “bad” bit to balance out a “good” bit? Why not find a way to make these supposed bad bits into good bits as well? If I am constantly acknowledging flaws, how can I possibly fully love or appreciate myself?
Another night, there was a slideshow of pretty women on the wall of a party I attended. The girlfriend and I were awestruck by some of the images in particular. But there were also others when I’d whisper in her ear and say “she’s too skinny,” or “I’d break her like a toothpick.” Silly me, finding flaws yet again. She corrected me in each instance: “yes, she does have a very wispy waist” or “she’s so flexible.” She was absolutely right to correct me! These things are not flaws; these are things that make each woman HERSELF. If we all looked the same (the same weight, the same build, the same skin colour), that would be so very, very boring. Don’t you agree?
Sure, we all differ in what attracts us to another human being. But just because they are not attractive to one person does not mean they’re not breath-takingly beautiful to another. It doesn’t mean that person is flawed or even ugly (what an ugly word, ugly). It absolutely doesn’t mean that that person isn’t deserving of love in any form.
Instead of finding flaws, why don’t we embrace these things that make us ourselves? I would love to love my crazy long legs just as much as I love the faded birthmark on my right cheek. So, why don’t I? On my journey to love myself better, I am going to take these flaw-thoughts out of my lexicon completely. They don’t need to be voiced or dwelt upon in the slightest. I will stop examining myself in the mirror every morning on a flaw hunt. I will wear make-up only to jazz up my appearance, not to make myself more beautiful. I will wear clothes that I find fantastic to wear, or fit my body they way I like. I will exercise and eat better because I know my body needs these things to be happy, not because I need to lose a pound or two. Yes, I will even stop with the one allowed “flaw-thought” with my girlfriend - it was a tongue-in-cheek concept anyway. :)
I know that this will be a journey in and of itself, but I find it is a step in a positive direction. A direction I would like to take.
Without realizing it, I have done what the link above has noted. I have transformed the end of my marriage into a break-through. I have reacted to this very sudden change in my life. I have screamed, yelled, even clawed at the pain that rendered itself out of my mouth and my soul. I have stopped bottling up these self-hurting feelings inside of me. I took some of this self-hurt out on those that still truly loved me, and they still held me and dried my tears. They accepted this change in me, allowing me the time I needed to accept and break on through. As they have accepted me, I have learned to accept me too. I have learned to accept these raw feelings and begin to allow myself to fully feel them during the moment; then to let them go into the ether. This allows me the grace of hope and continued hope for a future. It allows me to know that tomorrow can be a better day, or will be an equally fulfilling one.
In this break-through, I have found those individuals that will continue to matter to me, that I will continue to love. I have learned that energy is best expended on these relationships only. I have learned to move on from those that have only left negative footprints on my already broken self.
But as a part of this break-through, I am still trying, harder every day, to come to a peace with being alone, with being lonely. I stumbled upon the following definition of loneliness.
“Loneliness is not a lacking of something, but rather the aching fulfillment of our open, raw, caring nature.”
When we’re lonely in a “hot” way, we look for something to save us; we look for a way out. We get this queasy feeling that we call loneliness, and our minds just go wild trying to come up with companions to save us from despair. That’s called unnecessary activity. It’s a way of keeping ourselves busy so we don’t have to feel any pain. It could take the form of obsessively daydreaming of true romance, or turning a tidbit of gossip into the six o’clock news, or even going off by ourselves into the wilderness.
The point is that in all these activities, we are seeking companionship in our usual, habitual way, using our same old repetitive ways of distancing ourselves from the demon loneliness. Could we just settle down and have some compassion and respect for ourselves? Could we stop trying to escape from being alone with ourselves? What about practicing not jumping and grabbing when we begin to panic? Relaxing with loneliness is a worthy occupation. As the Japanese poet Ryokan says, “If you want to find the meaning, stop chasing after so many things.”
Not wandering in the world of desire is about relating directly with how things are. Loneliness is not a problem. Loneliness is nothing to be solved. The same is true for any other experience we might have.
Cool loneliness allows us to look honestly and without aggression at our own minds. We can gradually drop our ideals of who we think we ought to be, or who we think we want to be, or who we think other people think we want to be or ought to be. We give it up and just look directly with compassion and humor at who we are. Then loneliness is no threat and heartache, no punishment.”
When you wake up in the morning and out of nowhere comes the heartache of alienation and loneliness, could you use that as a golden opportunity? Rather than persecuting yourself or feeling that something terribly wrong is happening, right there in the moment of sadness and longing, could you relax and touch the limitless space of the human heart? The next time you get a chance, experiment with this.”
I see it as loneliness allows us the time to accept ourselves. I see this as a new positive; being able to love more fully means accepting the loneliness with the fulfilling-love occasions. It is a natural balance of our lives. Acknowledging that you miss someone (you are lonely for someone) is further acknowledgement that you love them. May the love be on a deep romantic level, or love on a simple familial level.
Accepting the loneliness in its moment, allows for less aggression and angry feelings at ourselves and our mind. There is no reason to rebel against the loneliness when it just “is”. It deserves its turn, whilst bubbly-happy feelings deserve their turn too. We can only rescue ourselves in accepting this loneliness. We can’t afford to find rescue in others, when loneliness is upon us.
Accepting the loneliness, can reduce the use of the word “should”; I think I shouldn’t be lonely, I shouldn’t be this way. “Should” is a word I have been working on pulling out of my vocabulary for some time now.
In the last few months I have felt the loneliness shoved down my throat. Now, I realize that it was time that I needed to break through to a happier Ina. I will admit that I spent too much time in limbo this summer, and even more time bemoaning the amount of time I spent by myself this fall. But self time, is needed time to care for oneself and to accept the loneliness on a deeper, healing level.
Here, at the end of 2012, I have been filled with a sort of peace and an almost uncomfortable happiness. It is a “waiting for the other shoe to drop” place. It is a final, foot-down, calm. As much as some of this year has HURT and still does, there is far more good to come and to be a part of. So I write this list to keep myself reminded.
This list of happiness-making things that are endless, show a continued journey, or have finally found their finale.
I am happy because…
- I am falling deeper into love. I am loved by those I love fiercely.
- I have my own safe space.
- I am supported.
- I can see a balance beginning. The rollercoaster of my recent life is coming to a gentle plateau.
- I am adventuring in my beloved T.O. and have the freedom to do so when I have need.
- I have given in to snow during the winter season. I have hope for Thunderstorms that stick when I ask them to!
- I am accepting the endings of relationships of which I did not want to let go. I can see the end of the marriage I should have ended years ago. I accept this and am moving on.
- Social gatherings are calling to me with people that I have finally found that do not ask me to completely “fit” with them but to “be” with them.
- I believe I have found my tribe.
- I am not deluding myself with the fake or untrusted.
- I am letting go.
- I am doing things for myself, responsibly working my way out of debt, and counting the things that make me “enough”. (Rewind and repeat)
- I am making travel plans and proactively working towards those plans.
- I am finding and making goals, both short- and long-term.
- I am embracing myself for me, tuning out those that just don’t understand.
- I am finding security in the labels I have found to define myself.
- The walls are coming down for the worthy.
- I will be writing more often than I have been. Thoughts will be present rather than smothered. (That being said, I have deleted the online journal I’ve been keeping for 9 years. Forward looking does not need to include dwelling on that which was and was ever hurtful, angry and sad.)
- I have learned to take what’s mine, and only wait for that which is worth waiting for.
2013 will bring much more forward-looking. Backwards looking shall only be entertained for the purposes of reminiscing. There are changes on the wind, slight and immense; I will be ready. If I am not? I will find a way.
Owen Harper: [spinning Gwen around and slamming her against the tree, speaking as she struggles] When was the last time you screwed all night? When was the last time you came so hard and so long you forgot where you are?
[Gwen begins to struggle less]
Owen Harper: Don’t you ever think you’re too familiar? Whereas you and me… we’re not cozy at all.
[pressing his face to Gwen’s as he hisses]
Owen Harper: We’d be AMAZING. And that scares the shit out of you. Torchwood, Season 1, Episode 6.
Fuck you in lost and neglected lingoes.
Fuck you hungry and sated; faded, pock marked and defaced.
Fuck you with orange rind, fennel and anchovy paste.
Fuck you with rosemary and thyme, and fried green olives on the side.
Fuck you humidly and icily.
Fuck you farsightedly and blindly.
Fuck you nude and draped in stolen finery.
Fuck you while cells divide wildly and birds trill.
Thank you for barring me from his bedside while he was ill.
Fuck you puce and chartreuse.
Fuck you postmodern and prehistoric.
Fuck you under the influence of opium, codeine, laudanum and paregoric.
Fuck every real and imagined country you fancied yourself princess of.
Fuck you on feast days and fast days, below and above.
Fuck you sleepless and shaking for nineteen nights running.
Fuck you ugly and fuck you stunning.
Fuck you shipwrecked on the barren island of your bed.
Fuck you marching in lockstep in the ranks of the dead.
Fuck you at low and high tide.
And fuck you astride
anyone who has the bad luck to fuck you, in dank hallways,
bathrooms, or kitchens.
Fuck you in gasps and whispered benedictions.
And fuck these curses, however heartfelt and true,
that bind me, till I forgive you, to you. Amy Gerstler, Fuck You Poem #45 (via grammatolatry)