Here in Pennsylvania we are in the throes of an incredibly early spring. For me, it feels both welcomed and alarming. The mix of clear sunlight and crisp air brings with it an awakening on many levels. But almost as if I have been forced out of hibernation, there are parts of me that feel like they need a bit more sleep. Those parts are mainly my upper arms and my mid-section. You see, with sunlight comes shadows, and the shadows that are being cast are showing up in my closet.
It is amazing to me how old conditioning can feel brand new when you finally decide to look at it. It’s as if you notice a surgery scar on your body, but you have no recollection of any procedure or a timeline of when this injury occurred. However, the moment you recognize it you are overwhelmed with the pain that you haven’t allowed yourself to feel for god knows how long. Well, I am currently in the midst of breaking down old scar tissue.
For as long as I can remember, I haven’t enjoyed the warm summer months. I have blamed this disdain on my fair skin’s relationship with the sun, on the fact that I don’t necessarily like sweating while sitting still, and the obvious brutality of humidity. But the truth is, I don’t like how in order to feel physically comfortable in the environment, I am simultaneously incredibly uncomfortable in my own skin. I have to show parts of myself that I have deemed offensive, unworthy, or embarrassing. I have to run the risk of exposing myself without my masks, and that type of vulnerability is terrifying. This truth isn’t new to me, but what was new was my awareness of the anxiety I felt last Monday when I was getting ready to go out to eat with Mike and Ellie. When I felt how warm it was outside I panicked. It was as if this rapid change of season expedited my insecurities, and I wasn’t expecting them to be delivered for another month or two. It was a huge ‘a-ha’ moment for me. I became highly aware that this see-saw shift happens every single year. It usually starts mid-April, when I can no longer comfortably wear layers of tops, and hoodies and scarves. I find myself rifling through my drawers and closet swearing that I have nothing to wear, all the while beating the shit out of myself mentally for once again being the same size or a size bigger than I was this time last year. I have been so conditioned to this response that I didn’t even consider the tone it sets for a solid 5-6 months out of the year.
“In order to enjoy spring and summer, you must lose weight, tone up, and feel confident in a bathing suit…” This is the song that is on repeat for months on end. You would think that I would have woken up to this years ago, since it is the same old song being played over and over again. But just like any noise pollution, in order to stay sane your brain just chooses to accept this as normal and eventually you stop hearing it as often. That’s the disturbing part, and the part that I know needs to change. I know that in order to learn a new language of love toward my body, I am going to have to start paying attention, and by doing so I will likely feel a lot more distracted by the negative self-talk. To be honest, that pisses me off. I wish that in order to learn a new language I didn’t have to pay attention to how much better I am at my native tongue. It makes me feel overwhelmed and insecure, which is usually the first steps towards talking myself out of ever starting. But in order to dissolve this piece of my pain body, I know I have to feel those feelings without falling into them, and then lean into this with as much compassion for myself as possible. This patterning didn’t happen over-night and it won’t be corrected in that time-line either, but I have to start somewhere.
Who knows, maybe I will discover that I actually love spring and summer. I mean my birthday is in June, so it would be awesome to really fall in love with the month that I was brought into this wild world. The truth is that there are so many things that I know I could love if I let myself receive that love first and foremost. Luckily I have daily reminders of the incredible gifts that accepting love, has brought into my life so I will start there. I will give myself the space every day to tune into my gratitude, and I know that with that, more of the same will come. I look forward to meeting my reflection with joy and admiration, and hearing the new songs of self-love that will be my new background noise. But in the meantime, I will start by saying how grateful I am for you. Your support has encouraged me to walk a path I didn’t know existed. It has lead me to painfully beautiful realizations, and because of that I get to know my true self better every day. Thank you so much, I have so much love for you. xo