So yet another season has passed and here we are ready to enter the sweltering heat of the Aussie summer. Summers in Melbourne always remind me of home. Be it 25 or 40 degrees, something about the bright sunshine and the warm rays, I am taken straight back to my native place Vittla, a little village in South India. Running around green fields, climbing mango trees and eating the fruit straight off the branches. Such happy and warm memories just like the sunshine.
About 8 months back I moved house and suburb. I set the intention to find a spacious home with loads of old soul and character, greenery, high ceilings and a fire place. As soon as I set the intention, I found a house in a suburb that I had never heard of, surrounded by greenery and nature. Believe it or not, the first place I happened to find, fit my wish perfectly to the very last detail! I was ecstatic because I don’t particularly enjoy the house hunting process.
Once I found the house I could not wait to move in and so within few weeks I managed to relocate to this cozy haven. I noticed when moving in, that none of the rooms had mirrors. The only shoulder length mirror was in the bathroom.
I was very pleased!
Most houses these days come with an over abundance of mirrors, there is one placed on every door, every wall and if possible on ceilings too ;). So to have a house with no mirror was surprising and I welcomed this break.
Why do I call this a break?
I like many women and girls grew up with several deep-rooted body issues. One of my rituals from the time I started to develop into a young woman was to stand in front of a full length mirror in the house and tightly hold back the night dress to see the silhouette of my body, checking to see if it matched the women I saw on tv and magazines. Then I would lift my dress or shirt to examine my stomach to see how flat it was, again checking to see if it was as flat as the models. I performed this meaningless ritual every morning as soon as I woke up and every night before I went to bed!
Some days I loved what I saw, other times I just wanted to curl up and disappear imagining and seeing myself as a giant! Overtime with a little confidence and self-esteem I began to see my body in a better light, but it was largely due to the admiration I received from the opposite sex. When the admiration wasn’t present, the light disappeared and the giant reappeared. The ritual was repeated over and over again every day and night.
With each look I either admired, loved or cursed my body, giving it mixed messages and dark energy, keeping it in a constant state of surprise and upheaval. My body wondered everyday “what’s it going to be today? Is she going to curse my presence or is she going to be kind and approve of me for few minutes or few hours if I am lucky”.
In the last 3 years I have consciously nurtured by body to its whole and loving state and one of the first things I did was to ditch this cruel ritual. It was really hard at first as this had become part of my routine just like brushing my teeth and combing my hair. It was hard as the mirrors remained in the house, wall to wall in every corner and it was hard to escape, stop looking and to stop judging.
So when I found a house with no mirrors and the one mirror in the bathroom being a shoulder height one; I thought this was a blessing in disguise and a great break for me and my body! I decided that I will continue this break and not have any full length mirrors in the house, indefinitely!
At first this felt very daunting and most of my friends thought I was mad. Another one of her crazy ideas!
Well let me tell you something, this idea as crazy as it seems, was the best thing I have done to myself and to my body. It has been nearly 8 months and I have survived, infact I have thrived. Not only have I enjoyed trusting my sense of what to wear and what I look like, I have developed a deep connection with my body and have re established the trust that I broke way back in my younger days.
I have found myself more accepting, kinder and loving of my body and this continues to grow day by day. This love was truly tested recently when I realised that I had grown fuller and heavier. Normally the old Deepthi would have had a full scale melt down, panicked big time, gone into a depression, started a number of fad diets and starved.
This time it was different. I was best friends with my body now.
To be honest I had a moment when I saw the number on the scale and I was scared. What was surprising is that even though I was scared I did not launch into an immediate body hating campaign of calling myself “fat”, “over weight”, “unshapely”, “undesirable”, “ugly” and other names that I had so many times called myself in the past.
What is with the name calling, why do we do this to ourselves?
I had realised a while back that every word that leaves my lips is not only heard by the world, it is first and foremost heard and felt by my body. So just like how it hurts us so much when another being curses or says something unpleasant about us, our bodies hurt badly when it hears the words we use to describe it. Its almost as painful as a mother swearing at her own child. We are the mother to our body and how we call it names and curse it!
Feeling scared is normal, after all we are human and fear is present in this world. How we behave when this fear confronts us is what sets us apart, sets me apart. So in that moment when I realised I had put on weight, a lot more than my normal 60kg, I freaked out and felt all the old anxiety come up. Echoes of old names and curses and swears were also waiting at the tip of my tongue to be released.
“Naturally what else is she going to do, she’s done this all her life so far!”
Wrong! Fear you are wrong!
I am scared and I feel you, yet I wont succumb to my old mistakes
I surrender to my body, I conquer your darkness and rise high above you, far, far above you into the light where you cannot ever reach. Where only love can reach.
I love her, I worship her and I pledge to always nurture and nourish her
I accept her just as she is, in all her glory
I keep her safe in my love, for love is all she deserves for carrying me from birth to death
I just finished this painting this evening. Its called "Miracles". I am yet to write its story, it is connected to my body and the freedoms its experiencing now :)
This post I share hoping my dear friends, that you too have an epiphany like I did.
Under normal circumstances when someone treats us disrespectfully, we either fight back, protect ourselves or leave the situation. In the case of our body it can leave too and sometimes it does when it cannot take it anymore. But mostly it stays, she stays and continues to love us.
She stays faithfully though our young, middle to our old age, till our last breathe she stays and she carries us from one experience to another supporting every choice we make whether it is good or bad, taking blow after blow, curse after curse silently.
If there is one element of us that practices unconditional love without our prompting, it is our body and what do we give her in return?
Love or loathing?
Safety or abuse?
Tenderness or hatred?
I place kisses on my shoulders often, yes I do! I assure her and tell her I love you.
I am now ready to buy a mirror. I am dying to see her and I wish to admire her beauty and be inspired by her presence. I wish to gaze into my eyes and whisper words of gratitude for loving me so deeply and unconditionally. I wish to learn from her the art of loving unconditionally.
As for my weight, yeah its there, I like the curves and the oomph it adds to my body ;). I run, walk and dance when I can, no pressure. I plan to do some light weight training to tone my muscles and build my core strength.
Do I want to loose the weight, not really! I love the way I look, I look like a woman of my age and this age I am in right now is the best age of my life so far.
An age of love, laughter, adventure and romance ;)
Love, Love, Love,