September 9, 2012
This morning I read an article about the importance of being able to be ugly. When I read it, something in me just rose up and went YES!!! Literally, immediately, I had this visceral full-body excited feeling.
We all know those days when everything works and the days when nothing does. On the everything works day it doesn’t matter what we put on, what we say or do, it looks/feels/sounds great, so we feel great. And on the not so much days, we don’t even want to look in the mirror, or in someone else’s eyes, because there’s no point.
That’s the day I want to look at. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman. The day that you feel ugly, not good enough, unworthy to even be drawing breath with all the pretty/witty/smart people, is the day I want to talk about. It’s not easy. Because we’re not talking about mild discomfort. We’re talking about feeling not good enough, and the weird shame that we carry around for not being perfect looking–perfect face, perfect size, perfect hair, perfect…
Six years ago, in a crazy 6 month period that included an emergency spine surgery and two lumpectomies for breast cancer, I learned I’m not my body. I learned that if some part of my body doesn’t feel right, or work right, or even stops working, the me inside is still me. That was an epiphany, and in some ways, life changing. It reduced my ‘what if’ fears. Who would I be if I had some chronic medical condition, or cancer? I found out. I remained me. In some ways, I felt like a newer, improved version, because I understood what mattered to me a bit more than i ever had.
This morning I realized that in spite of my epiphany six years ago, something else hadn’t changed. And that was my fear of being ugly. And it’s happening. I’M AGING. My picture today bears no resemblance to who I was 30 years ago–thinning hair, wrinkles, liver spots, drooping everything regardless of how much I exercise. And has anybody else noticed that as you age your nose gets bigger??!! And guess what folks, it’s only going to get worse for me, because I’m not going to get younger!
So what does it mean? Am I going to stop highlighting my hair, or wearing makeup, or buying clothes that I like? I don’t think so. I think it means that as I discovered with the year of the surgeries, I am not my body. Of course I’ve known intellectually that my body, including my face, is a covering that I really have had almost nothing to do with. Other than eating healthy food, drinking lots of water, taking my vites and a morning ‘green’ drink, and exercising, my body is pretty much outside of my control. It was literally handed to me. It tells you very little about ME. About what i value, who and what I love, what I want to offer. That you will only see if you look past my outside to my insides.
One of my clients told me something her mother taught her. It struck me as one of the most powerful and profound lines I’ve ever heard. Her mother told her to get to know people from the inside out. So I’d like to ask you to consider that. Get to know me from the inside out, and I’ll try to do the same with you.
I wonder if our definition of beauty will transform…