Looking myself in the eye in the mirror is never easy for me.
In the past seven years now, I have undergone several miscarriages, which lead to a dark depression, but not as dark as other times in my life. I have a chronic illness. I carried one very hard-headed baby to term. I lost another in the second trimester–and with that lost any chance of ever having another child at all. I have felt stymied in this house with no place to do my ‘normal’ Yoga routines (after 7-8 years now, is it still right for me to call them normal?). My usual refuge is water, achingly hot bubble baths that I would soak in until the water turned too cold for me to stand any longer has been taken from me (no bathtubs capable of such acts exist in this house.) My normal wandering through various shops and stores and places curtailed not only by my youngest child, but also by my physical limitations. My eyes have turned on me so that frequently reading is not an enjoyable process for me as it used to be. My hands ache for needles and yarn–that my toddler gleefully grabs and throws skyward. Not to mention, anything that requires anything like counting or that I need to pay more than no attention to…is screwed before I actually cast on. Hats are interminable disasters of late…and I lament that fact. The lack of hats. The lack of knitting joy and peace. I have never before lived in any dwelling, house, apartment, cabin, tent, whatever, that my incessant use of smudges and incense has not altered the aroma of, if not forever, then for a very long time. I cannot make a dent in this house. I use essential oils on my mattress and sheets every time I make the bed…and within 24-36 hours all scent is gone. And yes, I use the good stuff. Honestly.
I have sort of given up on things physically returning to normal with my body. I have to face the idea that this is the new normal. I also have to face the idea that my physical health is in my own hands, as my physician enjoys telling me how pain doesn’t mean anything other than I’m getting older. He also told me that I probably would not need my thyroid meds after one year because I was on so low a dose, this after I explained how I had not only not improved after a year, but that things were getting worse…then after the blood test, after a trip to the pharmacy, I discovered my dosage had tripled. So when I say my health is in my own hands–it is. I am the only one actually listening and paying attention.
I no longer wish to fight. I seek ease. I seek surcease.
I know in this household my normal positive foundation is struck over and over again. Trying to remain in the light and the compassion is more difficult here than I expect that it should be, but there is nothing to be done with that. People are what and who people are. It is not my job to change anyone. I fight to keep my focus on the positive.
The other day I looked in the mirror. It is my tentative habit these days to try to look in the mirror and to see myself. Not just to check my hair, or my skin, or some part of the whole. I try to look myself in the eye and smile, if nothing else. I am not yet strong enough to take a selfie every single day, so this is the best I can do at the moment.
I am finding success with it, in what for me are unusual ways. I got out of the shower the other day and I looked into the mirror and I realized something clear as day. I love my body. I have scars, from childbirth, from illness, from cats and accidents and other things. My hair is still falling out; my fingernails aren’t growing; my toenails shatter at the slightest touch. I have lumps and bumps and wiggles and jiggles for which I have no appreciation. When I take in the parts, I am displeased, to put it mildly. When I step back and I look at the whole, I realize…I am happy.
That is a brilliant start.
It gives me hope. Maybe one day I will stop judging myself completely and just be happy in my own skin, in a way I have never been happy since I was give or six years old.
This is a daily practice for me. This is a moment to moment practice for me. It takes time. It takes work. It takes dedication.
And guess what…I am worth it.
How about you?