May 14, 2013

Does My Shadow Make Me Look Fat?

My 'personal year' runs from September to September.  That month, being my birth month, sets off a new life year for me and is generally a better time for me to look at resolutions, life changes, and charting growth than January is.  September 2011 to September 2012 was an ass-kicker year for me. It was truly suck-worthy.  It was also the year I learned to love myself completely.  Go figure.

I've spent the bulk of my life not particularly liking myself.  I wasn't thin enough, pretty enough, smart enough, rich enough, and on and on.  Sadly, plenty of people are familiar with this I'm Not Enough type of existence.  I started realizing that there was something wrong with how I saw myself, back in my late twenties but it took me ten long years to really dig all the crud up and toss it aside.  I'm not a therapist and I've never seen one (excepting my best girlfriends and too many blenders of daiquiris to count,) but something happened last year in between the crippling sadness of losing my beloved kitty to an illness the vet could do nothing to help and the financial worries and the moments of fist-shaking at the sky.

I finally saw myself.

I finally saw my strength, my awesomeness, my silliness, my fierce love, my wild imagination, my optimism, my sheer joy at living in the valley where I make my home, and I finally, finally saw my beauty.

All I could think was WHY DID THIS TAKE SO LONG?

It's been a great ride so far with these new eyes, but something funny happened about a month ago. My niece got herself a new phone and started playing with the camera on it.  She started snapping candid photos and texting them to me.  Photos of me.  Photos of me on my cell phone, or chasing the cats around, or eating lunch.  And I was horrified.

Who the hell is that person?!  Do my thighs really look like that?  I really need to do something with my hair.  

And the criticisms kept coming as if they'd never really gone away.

April was another shaky month.  A few things in my life that I've been neglecting or ignoring completely have shown up and demanded to be noticed.  This new development (or old resurgence) was exactly the thing I needed to trigger me to take action and change my attitude.

That person in that picture is me, and she is amazing.  Yes, those are my luscious thighs.  My hair is long and gorgeous and yes, sometimes looks like I've been caught in a tornado, and I love it.

I am taking a firm gorilla-grip on my life and owning my awesomeness.  I might be face-deep in a daiquiri later, but I will get my ass back up again and go out into the world tomorrow, thighs and all, and keep building and creating and bibbity-bobbity-booing this life of mine the way I want to.

I will love myself.  I will love the wild animal of my body, and my delicious spirit, and my crazy mind, and I will create a life of joy and magic.

Bring on the candid photos - I dare you.


Barbara F. said...

This is a wonderful post, and I like the idea of using my birth month as "my year" marker. I will start doing that this August! I feel the same way about myself as you did/do. I am slowly learning to accept myself, not beat myself up, etc. xo

Dana doo said...

How do I love you??? Let me count the ways......1. Your sense of humor in your writing is belly laugh provoking! And you can laugh at yourself which is a beautiful quality. 2. You live your life for YOU, and have a wicked time doing it! 3. You make me smile sometimes, when no one else can! And most importantly ....... 4. Cuz you my sista!!!!
I love reading your blocs! You make my heart smile!!!!!! (((( pumpkin))))))

Danni said...

It's amazing how harsh we women are towards ourselves when we give so much kindness and love to others, that we hold them all so gently just to turn around and be mean to ourselves.

The late 20's seem to be the time to make that realization for so many of us, I'm doing it right now. Struggling with body issues I've had since don't remember when; deleting and groaning at unflattering photos, looking at my thighs and going ick, wishing my hair were less unruly, my skin clearer. But I'm climbing out of that hole and in to the warm light of self love. I still stumble sometimes, but when I catch myself criticizing, I gently correct myself. Instead of "man my hair is such a pain in the ass, so straight and... blech!" I make the conscious decision to think about the better qualities; it's long, it's healthy and I love the way it feels in the wind.

We'll get there, beautiful lady. I raise my margarita to you!

Jeanne said...

You have absolutely no reason to be so hard on yourself! Take it from someone who has been incredibly harsh on herself for most of her life. We are all unique individuals - no "One Size Fits All"! And we should rejoice in our uniqueness. Whether it be wild hair, ample thighs or off-key singing! We need to start seeing ourselves through the eyes of our pets. We are always totally awesome to them (unless of course we don't fill the cat food bowl on time!)

AlphaBetsy said...

I have also recently had that wait I'm really awesome moment. And the negative pieces too. I find that self-doubt and deprecation are as much an addiction as any drug, but I am learning slowly but surely that I am pretty flipping great.

So are you, but you knew that, right?

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Good for you, Rue! You're one of a kind!

Rue said...

From: Witchy Godmother
(Sorry W.G. - your comment got bumped for some reason. I'm cutting and pasting it here.)

"Good for you! I am fighting the same fight although I am afraid it took me a lot longer and sometimes the camera still makes me freak but my 33 year old daughter said something that I keep reminding myself - "Mom you look the same as you always do and you are awesome. Your mom." Now I remind myself of that when I freak all over again.
Let's celebrate awesome!
Hugs and Sparkles"

Iesadora said...

Beautiful, just beautiful! Beautiful post, beautiful you, and beautiful achievement!!

Anonymous said...

Having been there for far too long let me just say YES YES YES! Love and be fierce and proud!

Dessa Wolf said...

This post is f'ing brilliant, my dear. I am so glad you have fallen in love with yourself. I am getting there. It's not an easy road. There's that damn voice in your head that you have to squelch first. My hands are around it's neck but it's still struggling a bit. LOL.

the wild magnolia said...

i like the idea of september to september. i am virgo o virgo.......september 7, 1946.

i am 66 years old, and only now coming into my true self. and under stressful conditions.

great post!!

looks like the cheshire cat.

Magaly Guerrero said...

And everyone else (me on top) will love you more for it...

And no, Kitty, your shadow makes you look wild and sunny ;-)

TMC said...

So happy to see a happier Rue. <3 And I love the idea of a "personal year." Mine starts right NOW.

Rue said...

Thanks for the lovely comments you guys! I know that lovin'-thy-self is a common stumbling block for folks - it's nice to hear your stories! Here's to being our awesome selves without worrying what anyone else thinks (including that nagging voice in the back of our minds.)