As I prepare to travel to NYC tomorrow to assist at an event and see some my beloved coaching colleagues, once again I am struck by my insecurity about my body and how I present myself to the world. I live a fairly simple life. I don’t have to “dress up” so I don’t. Suddenly I feel as though nothing I have is right, that I’m not right and I will stick out like a country bumpkin in the Big Apple.
Flash to lunch with my husband today in Saratoga Springs. I’m not looking at him, I’m watching people. No, that’s not true, I’m watching women. Not in a catty or judgmental way, but in a way that observes and compares. I hear my internal voice: “I would look awful in that.” “I wish I could wear shoes like that.” “Oh, that kinda works, I can put that together from what’s in my closet.” It amazes me sometimes that I am so insecure. I turn back to my husband trying to let it go of my internal chatter and listen to him.
Back home and another the trip to my closet. I remember the shoes I saw in town. Nope, don’t have any. I have VERY fussy feet. Stylish shoes kill me. Forget heels. I’ve had to give up long walks and hiking for a bit while I nurse a heel injury. Funny, I’m still taking dance classes. Can’t give everything up. Focus back on shoes. I have a pair of flat sandals and some very comfy, classy “Mary Janes” that will do and then notice my disreputable, UN-pampered toes. Wow. I’ll tend to them when I’m icing my heel later. Otherwise don’t pack the sandals.
Then the clothes. Mostly crops and tee shirts. At least my summer clothes are not the drab colors I tend to wear in winter. As I try things on, AGAIN, I wonder if this is too casual, that too old, this to “in your face”, that to out of style.
I’m almost hyperventilating by now. OK, I’ll wear this to dinner Saturday night. OH NO, we’ll walk to the restaurant, I’ll be limping, and it’s going to be 95 degrees! [Only a week ago we had snow Upstate. I’m wilting, wilting!] This will do for assisting on Sunday. Yes. I’ll bring a back up just in case I panic. I tell myself not to over pack, I’m making myself crazy. I’m not leading the seminar. I just need to be neat, clean and somewhat professional. NO ONE is going to NOTICE except ME! In fact, even if I WERE leading the seminar, it’s FINE!
I try on a few more combinations, just to be sure. I look at my body while I try on clothes in front of my full length mirror. Goddess, if only I were just 10 pounds lighter. Sigh. I notice the crepe papery thighs which will no longer support ANY clothes that land over my knees. Another sigh. I notice the little veins in my legs and think, “my Goddess woman, you are SO vain”. Then I laugh aloud at my pun.
I take a deep breath. Decide not to look too closely at the skin on my face and smile. The smile always works.
I realize even as I wish for perfection, I know it’s not possible. Never was, never will be. I’ve been conned from the time I was a little girl to strive for perfection and all I could feel was “not good enough”. I realize that I am not alone in cursing the aging process and the results of gravity. I realize that I can have all these feelings that amount to self-criticism bordering self-loathing and then….
I can know the opposite instantaneously. I can know in the deepest part of my being that I am a beautiful woman. A child of God and Goddess, and no mistake was made. That I am healthy, despite dealing with some aches and pains and chronic illness. That I love my life AND my body that carries me through my life. I can even imagine that those aches and pains exist to remind me to pay attention, take care of myself, love my precious self. I remember that the body I have was the one I was given and the ONLY one I will have this time around. I recall that there are no do-overs and that my life and my body will always be perfectly imperfect. I am filled with gratitude and joy as I remind myself that all that matters is love.
Special thanks to Kelley Kosow and my amazing coaching community for the delicious conversation last night about the duality of our shadows and emotions. I love you all.