So many things are going on in the world lately, one could be forgiven for wondering if the Mayans might be right! If so, I thought I’d post one more post before the big…. what…. what happens if it IS indeed it? I have no clue. I wasn’t too convinced the end might be near until the Twinkie nightmare (normally sensible people everywhere burst through doors of retail establishments to scarf up every Hostess product in sight, except, it seems, for the Blueberry Muffins. I saw a few boxes of the poor muffins sitting lonely as could be on shelves at Remke Biggs, very near their expiration date.) Another sign that the end might be near? I realized, in a most unexpected way, that I don’t hate myself anymore. I always felt I’d learn to like myself: a) when pigs flew (I’m in Cincinnati, pigs fly here. That was a bad choice of markers!), b) when I was pushing up daisies at the cemetery (meaning, I had died), or c) when the world ended. As I said, pigs DO fly in Cincinnati, I’m still upright and breathing, so the world must surely be nearing that apocalyptic day.
I pondered long and hard about whether to share the next bit with you, not sure if it made me a questionable person, or a repressed woman in a world with few limits anymore. The answer to that still eludes me, but a friend said my story might inspire other souls. My life-changing moment came about a few weeks ago. I wanted to recapture a feeling of freedom I got to experience this summer, freedom from a lot of emotional baggage I’d carried most of my life. This desire led me to question my appearance, avoiding mirrors, body image, those things that some women are doggedly pursued by. I wanted to know what I look like, REALLY look like. Not the image I present to the world of a body covered by whatever black, blue or gray fabric gets pulled out of the closet that day. But ME. The naked truth. I thought about this for days. The part of me that felt this was just bad on my part wrestled with the inner person who questioned, “why?” What was I afraid of? I didn’t know.
One night, I screwed up my courage, uncovered down to the skin I was born with, and looked in a mirror. It’s almost as if I were looking at an exhibit in a museum, observing myself from this angle and that view. I made the surprising discovery that I didn’t have a single negative remark to make about myself. WHAT? No slams about the excess pounds making me a loser, lamenting that I wasn’t a size two, no haranguing that someone who looked like me had nothing worthwhile to offer the world? No. I merely commented, “So this is what I look like.” I think the past few years of embracing my inner squirrely self has taken some of the pressure off of me. It’s given me an ability to embrace my squishy softness that huggers and cats everywhere seem to be attracted to. (Or do the cats just think there’s really a squirrel in there?!) Honestly, it doesn’t get much cuter than my squirrely self, what do you think?
The interesting result I’ve noticed is that I want to take better care of myself since viewing the real me. It’s not: “Oh, I need to lose a billion pounds, though a loss would be beneficial, I’m sure.” It’s more a case of feeling an acceptance toward myself that I’ve never experienced before and wanting to treat myself like a friend. I go for walks now, eat more sensibly, go to bed earlier, all kind of strange things that people who like themselves do!
The shooting last week in Newtown, Connecticut brought such a sober, harrowing twist to the holiday season. I don’t know why the shooter did it, or why fantastic people meet such an awful fate. I’ve been awed by the acts of heroism the teachers displayed at Sandy Hook Elementary. I’ve been blessed by all of the good that has poured forth in this nation and from around the world in our country’s time of sorrow. I pray that blessings rain down on the people of Newtown.
Christmas is upon us. I’ve had a real mixed bag of thoughts this year. Money is tighter than ever, which rules out giving cash to a variety of good causes. My energy level hasn’t been up to snuff in ages, so giving my time isn’t happening as much. I’ve kept my holiday projects a little closer to home and am focusing on people I hope can use a little love. Sometimes I question if I’m following the right path or not, but my current actions feel right for this day. My goal continues to be to show Jesus’ love to everyone I encounter as I celebrate His birth. Some days I feel as if I do that so poorly, those days when a rabid pit bull is cheerier than I am. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit is pretty amazing about weaving some calming presence into my soul and my attitude straightens out again for another day.
I hope my blog has added a bit of light to your week, a little humor with your coffee or an insight that helps your day. Every single one of you reading this are a warm blessing to me.
Blessings and Peace 🙂