the truth about Embracement
Time taken on purifying, cleaning, dry brushing, shaving and moisturizing … polishing and doting on ourselves is necessary for the spirit.
I lovingly take extra time today to be pleasing to the eye, the smell and touch. Painstakingly picking the perfect jeans that hit exactly right on my kick ass new heels … the finishing touch.
As I sit on the floor and slide the first one on, I notice how pretty my toes look … freshly stone sanded and painted with my favorite color. Then as I wiggle and bend my leg under me in the most unnatural way to buckle those pesky side buckles, I secretly send love and gratitude out for my yoga practice and the ability to torque my leg in such a way without tearing any meniscus.
As I buckle the first side, I notice the buckle fits best a little tighter than the last time I wore these shoes, evident by the slightly worn hole I was passing up for a tighter fit.
Multiple flashing thoughts…
“Wow, my ankles are smaller.”
“Maybe they won’t look ‘thick’ anymore.”
( … and here we go … )
I jump on that train … one thought after another … trying to push my way through all these veils enshrouding me, before I suffocate.
I remember where I was sitting, even the physical sensations of when my father told me I had thick ankles … and in this moment … almost 30 years later … My chest was heavy. My breath quickened. My heart pulsing in my ears.
Even despite knowing I had beautiful calves … (My dad taught me that as well because they looked just like my mother’s) I never wore dresses to “show them off” because they were attached to my “thick ankles.”.
My past hour of loving self care, doting and pampering myself vanished.
Well, maybe more like vanquished.
I was so proud to share myself outwardly today. To feel … and be… beautiful.
“Oh! That’s it. You are too prideful. What gives you the right? Don’t gloat and boast or talk highly of yourself. It makes others uncomfortable. It makes you appear conceited. Your friends won’t like you.”
( … and this is the train … )
We hop on and ride and ride … Long after we KNOW we have missed our stop.
… and there is the memory now of that junior high friend who always made fun of my “frizzy” hair.
… and then it goes on and on.
By the time my date walks in, I am a puddle of tormented memories on the floor … still … yet … with one shoe left to buckle.
You may have to give me a valium by the time both feet are properly encased!
Then I notice my hand … the one strapping down that thick ankle. That hand that at 22 years old rested on a table to assist my Kindergarten student with her work … “Ms. Beach” as she lovingly … almost sympathetically … stroked the back of my hand, “your hands look so old.”
I have thought my hands old ever since … When did we stop teaching children to be kind?
And then my sister, as we grew to young adults, grabs for my hand one day and almost wistfully told me of a fond memory she always had. The memory of me holding her hands … in protection and in love, in a chaotic home. That she always remembered how soft my hands felt to her.
The thoughts continue to flood in …
… these hands were also strong and supportive for my beautiful child as I held and nurtured her … but they were “old hands.”
This constant tug-of-war with my self-image was so dizzying at times, that I didn’t know up from down.
Our parents, our peers even our tormenting siblings weave these shrouds over us. Many proclaiming it is for our own good, professing “societal norms” or “acceptable standards.”
The confusion and heart wrenching aches that spawn from those common phrases of “well if everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you as well?”
We are taught to not let anyone influence our “rational” decision making process. We are told to never succumb to peer pressure … but only as long as it fits our parent’s agenda.
The ones we love most, always think their molding of our identities is best for us … when in fact it is most usually based on their fears, upbringing, values and standards.
I was trained and ingrained at an early age by everyone around me that my natural, wily locks were not smooth enough, calm enough, styled or polished enough. I bought rubber bands by the pound and kept my hair pulled up and taut and greased. Inevitably, that stray spring curl popped loose … only to cause more harassment and poking fun at.
My father used to loving stroke my hair then follow with “your hair is so kind, Fats.”
(I won’t even go into the details of what that nickname did to me).
“Kind of like a dog’s ass” he would say.
Can. You. Imagine? Speaking to your child this way.
I paid high dollar for straightening products and tools. Hours spent fighting my tresses to conform to other’s standards.
For years …
ever since …
Until my peapod came along. There was no more time for me. Thank god for the unexpected popularity of “messy buns”… this I can do!
I had an enormous collection of baseball caps as well. Anything I could do as to not make others uncomfortable by my presence or rather my frizzy hair.
My ex-husband constantly avoided or sniffed with an itchy nose and complained of irritation and tickles and annoyance every time my ringlets grazed him. It was best to always be pulled up in intimate moments so as to not spoil the mood. It prevented adequate visibility to him when operating a motor vehicle and turns needed to be made.
It was never stroked or caressed or smelled or adored. Not braided or played with or occasionally massaged.
The only time he ever praised a hair on my head was when I shaved it all off donating my hair to child’s cancer research. He stated we would save so much money on hair products!
I think that may have been a back handed compliment … maybe?
Then it became … you ARE getting older. Shorter hair is more appropriate for your age. So I kept it short. I was just turning forty after all.
Everyone was happy. I wasn’t rocking any boats or itching anyone and I fit perfectly into my suburb house with one kid and a dog AND my age.
Everyone was happy … Except me.
Caged. Suppressed. Sinking deeper into murky waters without the will to fight for my inner untamed beast.
I am wild, thoughts scattered and squirrelly in creative moments. My hair is a reflection of my inner self. Was that what everyone was really trying to suppress?
An energy …
a light that made them uncomfortable?
There are moments of clarity …
As the barber took the razor to my head and shaved off my long tresses, my child sat at my feet and cried. When I looked down at her and asked her why she was so sad, she looked at me so innocently and said that “Mama, you won’t be beautiful without your hair.” And that is when I told her that what makes me beautiful is inside my heart not on the outside. The first time I said those words to myself OR anyone else.
Such a golden moment … a perfect opportunity to empower my daughter. So much so that two years later she did the same.
Full. Of. Awesome!
How can we offer these shining moments to others but can’t afford them to ourselves.
Or do we offer them?
Some continue the perpetual degradation generation after generation. We pass down our insecurities and conditioning to our children.
Find your truth.
Someone will hear you and come to trumpet by your side.
Find your sisters and dance wildly in the moonlight …
… frizzy hair, chunky ankles and all!!