You are Enough

Doing interior work can be necessary, but sometimes a little painful.
Today is one of those days...*good news*, another layer got peeled back, but it's been exhausting and full of tears.

Imagine feeling that you had to fit a certain mold to be deemed someone who has struggled with weight & body image for most of my life, this feeling of inadequacy has been a constant companion. Growing up in a family full of stories about the importance of appearance: as a mixed child, I was blessed with "good hair"; I learned from an early age that I could use my looks to get what I wanted; I was praised for being pretty & small....until I started to go through puberty; was surrounded by talk of diets & trying to lose weight. When my father came to visit, or my grandmother came to take me to lunch, I was told to be on my best behavior, as if showing up as myself was not enough, even for my own family.

On my 13th birthday, my dad showed up with his new girlfriend....who was in her early 20s. She was stunningly gorgeous & thin.....and she liked ME! I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. The underlying message I got was that if I was beautiful & skinny, I would be loved.

I was a dancer and that distorted message that I received early on was reinforced. As I grew older, men & the media continued to "prove" to me that being attractive & thin were what was important. In my 20s, I found myself in an emotionally abusive relationship. It didn't start out that way, but over time, it got to the point where he would remind me that I was "lucky" that he was with me & no one would want me because I was worthless. He played on all my insecurities and I did everything I could to get & stay "good enough" (aka thin enough) to get him to stay. He left. (best thing that could've happened to me!)

I wish I could say that I rid myself of those crazy insecurities when I got rid of the guy, but, sadly...not so. I've gone back & forth with my weight and feelings of worthiness for decades. As I settle into my 50s, I am struggling to accept this latest version of me. The body that I have battled with feels like a traitor. I don't feel connected to the image that is reflected back to me in the mirror. I don't recognize myself anymore.

And I'm starting to believe that's a GOOD thing!

I have come to a point in my life where I'm no longer comfortable being "good" & quiet & small. I'm much more concerned with being true to MYSELF, whoever that is. I'm rediscovering who I am and what I want. It's fascinating, and scary, and uncomfortable. And I'm determined to stay on this journey, no matter how many times I revert back to old behaviors, simply because they're familiar.

Certain things trigger me, most recently, planning a trip to visit my family. That's the true test, isn't it? Even at this age, I want to feel that I'm loved unconditionally, regardless of my appearance....but I don't. And that breaks my heart. 

So as I start to make peace with myself & my body, as it is, right now today, I've come to realize a few things:
* my body does not reflect who I am on the inside
* this body has carried me through some hard & heavy shit, including but not limited to the deaths of my mother & many other people whom I loved with all my heart
* this body has carried me from NY to California to Chicago, to Paris, Rome, Florence, Tuscany, Amsterdam....and I'm only getting started!

Maybe my body needed to create more room for me to GROW into....I'm expanding, pushing into unchartered territory, WAY outside my comfort zone.
I needed more room...for now.

Maybe this extra padding is my cocoon, to keep me protected & safe while I undergo this transformation----once my fragile wings are fully developed, you'd better believe I'm busting outta here!

Maybe it's something else....

But here's what's true:
I am enough, just as I am
And so are you....we ALL are perfect in our own beautifully unique way
We will change & grow over time, but the one thing that will NOT change is that

We are enough