The Mirror. Part Three.
What a sight to behold. Turning her beloved body this way and that, she scanned her eyes over what was now a different body.
She laughed because she remembered standing here one year ago wondering how she could find a shop where she could go and buy herself a new body. That was the easiest thing to do. Just go and buy one already skinny and perfect from the ‘New Body Shop’. Life would have been so much better if that was at all possible.
But, no. She never found such a shop. Much to her disappointment. She had to do it the hard way.
Not diets and crazy gym routines, though. Not at all.
She did change those things to a certain degree but what she really needed to change was how she felt about herself.
And, girl, hasn’t that been a whirlwind.
As she smoothed down her dress and put on a soft shade of lipstick, she thought of how far she has come. It has been a bumpy, windy, rough road she’s to travelled down but well worth every jolt and collision she has experienced.
Only a few months into her new found love for herself that love was tested. She was feeling so fricken amazing that day she was walking with swagger, her head held high and a genuine smile on her face.
She decided to have a lunch and shopping date with one of her closest friends. This wasn’t something she normally did as eating out in public terrified her. And trying on clothes with that body? No fucking way! She truly thought every one she walked past was looking at her and her huge, ugly body. So, she mostly stayed at home or went to her friends place where she could hide away from disgusted eyes.
But this day she felt daring. She wanted to bring more life into her days and her weeks. She wanted to finally begin experiencing what the amazing world had to offer. So she made a plan and stuck to it.
She was having the most wonderful time. She was laughing and genuinely enjoying the beautiful clothes she found and even bought some of them. She felt more alive than she had since she was a little girl.
Until a gorgeous man accidentally bumped into her as she was coming out of a clothing store and he looked her up and down with a disgusted look on his face.
Her heart sank.
Why? Why did he look at me like that? She asked the universe as sadness began to saturate her body.
This feeling sat with her for a few days. It occupied her mind. She couldn’t get past that look. How can someone look at me that way? He doesn’t even know me.
Livvy echoed words of truth up to her once again. Moving them through her until they discharged all the horrible thoughts inside her.
“It does not matter what he thinks. The only opinion worthy of your attention is your own. Let go and be that woman again.”
She heard them and thought about them. Livvy was right, of course. But what did it really mean for her to let go of another’s opinion of what she looked like and who she was?
All her life she allowed others to make judgement which she then owned. They helped lay the foundation of her self-loathing and hatred because their opinion was truer than her own. Other people must know better, so why wouldn’t she believe them?
As she considered these powerful words she felt stronger. I cannot let them knock me down, she said out loud to the walls surrounding her.
I deserve better than that. I deserve my love and my kindness. So what if he looked at me that way. Maybe I caught him at a bad time and us bumping into each other hardened him further. Even gorgeous people have bad days. That look had nothing to do with me. I will not allow it to ruin my life. I have come too far for that.
And, each time since then when something happens (as it does, this is life after all) she has done her absolute best to pull herself out of her funk and keep moving forward and continue growing her love for herself whatever others opinions may be. They no longer hold any truth to who she is.
“Who’d have thought I would ever feel like this?”, she pondered to the woman in the mirror
I knew it was possible, her loving voice declared.
“I couldn’t have done it without you, Livvy”. She replied with tenderness
Livvy was the name she gave her loving voice a few months back. It seemed important to give her an identity as she was such a big part of who she is now and who she always was. She was always there. Offering up words of wisdom in those darkest moments but she was never able to hear them because her misery was too loud inside her head. It drowned out every loving word Livvy whispered to her. Until that beautiful day a year ago.
During the last few months of self discovery, she was led to the workings of the ego. Another part of her being. She read and listened to many of the different perspectives of the ego but to her it felt as though the ego was only doing what it could to keep her safe and protected from all of those “scary” things out there.
Which meant she became afraid of so many things. And, the lack of love for herself combined with the protection of her ego ensured she never left her comfort zone. No matter how much she truly wished she could feel better, live better and be better.
She came to the realisation that her ego was never going to go away, it would always be with her and that is not a bad thing at all. She would simply learn to work with her ego and not against it. So she allowed her to have an identity as well.
Saskia is her name and she deserves to be recognised. And, to be loved. For the three of them want nothing but the best for this beautiful soul living in this amazing human body with the great protector.
Upon knowing these various parts of herself, she has felt lighter and more autonomous than ever before.
For she now knows the woman behind the body. As the days pass, she discovers even more wonderful things about herself that she forgot. And, she has been able to recognise those pieces of her she would, once-upon-a-time, rather remove.
She realised her mistake all this time was denying ALL parts of who she is. Even those not-so-good parts. The anger, the rage, the sadness, the (dare she say it) depression.
It took coming out of her depression to know that she was actually in it. She knew she felt sadness and despair but she’d never really given it a name before. Though, defining it as depression does not sit well with her in spite of it being exactly what she was feeling.
She doesn’t do well with labels because she is so much more than that. She is many things. MANY, many things. She does know, however, she does not want to feel that way about herself ever again.
Yet, taking the time to notice those feelings she doesn’t want to feel has been so important to her healing. She ignored them too long which is why they remained swarming inside her ready to strike at any moment.
When she was a little girl she had feelings. Big ones. They were hers and she expressed them in the only way she knew how. Outwardly.
She let them escape from inside her so they could be free, for she knew keeping such feelings bound on the inside was not a good idea. Each feeling had to be released so there was room for new ones, so she was not chained to her old emotions causing her to live by them. Her mind and her body knew exactly what to do for every emotion. There was no discussion about how to deal with them or whether they were right or wrong. No. They just were and they were all hers. She felt angry, she got mad. She felt happy, she smiled and laughed.
Until, one day she began to notice her feelings were not welcome on the outside. The people living on the outside of her feelings yelled at her when she let them out. She was scolded for feeling happy. She was reprimanded for feeling mad. She received disapproving looks and discouraging remarks every time she felt or showed anything.
Remembering how her parents shut her feelings down, brings a sadness to her mood. Decades of her life have now passed as an emotional cripple. That’s what she calls it. Her feelings were hindered. They were forgotten. They were neglected.
The sadness she feels now is for so many things. How her parents treated her, how she allowed herself to remain in the anger for so long and for the pain her parents, themselves, must have been in to behave the way they did. All of it weighs heavy on her mind but she knows she cannot, and will not, let it destroy her again.
Her past was defined by this. How she behaved was defined by this. Every good feeling she wanted to feel was dismissed as she was so long ago. The little girl inside her is still affected by her parents treatment of her and her feelings. She would love to go back in time and give her that love and attention she so rightly wanted. To tell her her feelings are not wrong.
She imagined herself as a little girl sitting in her childhood bedroom feeling very sad, feeling lost and alone. She walks over to her younger self and sits down next to her on the floor and puts an arm around her shoulders, pulling her in tight for a much yearned for hug. For both of them. They both wanted to be hugged by someone who loves them. Loves them as they are. Loves their feelings.
Hugs were not really a part of her family. Yelling was. Being angry was. Feeling alone was. Hugging certainly wasn’t.
So, she held onto her younger self with all the love she could muster. She let her cry, she let her feel any way she wanted to feel. She didn’t say a word. Only hugged.
After a little while there was a beautiful release within her. From her womanly self and her child self. Her child self looked up at her with shining eyes, full of love and possibility. There was hope inside those eyes. Hope for a life full of love for themselves where she didn’t have to wait for anyone to give her that love anymore because it is there in her now. Where it has always been. It never left her as she believed. The love between them was calming and soothing. So much so the younger she was ready to let her go. She felt safe once again.
She gave her one last squeeze, kissed her on the forehead and told her she loves her. Standing to walk out of the room and back into the room where she physically stood, she looked at her one more time knowing she was going to be ok. More than ok. Actually, fucking amazing. It had to be the best feeling she has felt in a very long time.
Giving herself her full attention in the mirror she noticed the tears rolling down her cheeks. She was full of so many emotions right now. They were all mixed in together and every single of them was exactly as they should be. They no longer felt overwhelming. They no longer fought for her attention. They just were. In all their glory.
Wiping the tears from her cheeks, she smiled at the woman in the mirror. She knew she felt different. She knew there was a huge emotional release. That all of those stuck feelings inside of her were now free. Free to leave her body and her mind. Her body did not need to possess every single unfelt emotion of her life gone by. It was time to let them go.
The last twelve months have been about giving herself a chance. A chance to live. A chance to love. A chance to know herself again. This was going to be even more possible now that she was able to release all of those emotions that were lying amongst her fat.
Her body has changed, physically, over the last 6 months. Her mind has, too. In ways she never dared to imagine. In ways she wanted to believe were possible but were never really allowed for her. They were only for those who lived in her imagination. For “those” women were not really real. The women she saw on TV and in the movies and in magazines. They weren’t real women. They were too perfect. They never had doubts or hated themselves and everything came easily to them.
Not like her and her life. Everything always felt so hard and unattainable. But now. Well, now she felt like one of “those” women because she has let go of the illusion of what “those” women represented. Does her body match those she sees on the cover of magazines? No, it doesn’t. Does that make her a little sad. Yes, it does but she will never ever again give in to the jealousy and the hatred. She is who she is.
Gazing straight into her own eyes, she wonders. So, who am I? What have I discovered about myself this past year?
She grabs the notebook from her bedside table and begins to make a list. Let’s make a list shall we, Livvy and Saskia. In no particular order.
- I have so much power within me to be and do anything I want
- My life is not wrong. I am not wrong
- I have many parts to my being: Livvy, Saskia and me (and there’s probably more yet to come)
- There has always been an abundance of love within me
- My feelings are not bad and I have every right to feel them
- I am allowed to be who I am. No one can take that away from me any more
- I am unique and strong and amazing and capable. Yes!
- I can feel happy whenever I want to. I don’t have to wait for anyone’s permission
- I am allowed to have wants and needs and desires
- I am allowed to accept all the beauty that is waiting for me here on this earth
- Receiving goodness is not a bad thing
- My stories can be rewritten at any time into something more wonderful
- I don’t have to believe all of the thoughts that swirl around in my mind
- I cannot live my life based on how anyone else feels or their opinions of me
- I am perfect just as I am
This list is not absolute.
As the years go by she will add more and more to the list because her quest for rediscovery will never come to an end. Not until the day her beloved human body comes to its final conclusion.
But that day is far off. There is much life to be lived before that moment in time. The gratitude she feels right now for what is to come fills her with joy, for she can now live free from the burden of hating herself, of punishing herself, of the anger that ravaged her. The weight has finally shifted from her body and from her mind. She is lighter. Freer.