One of the reasons I love the Voices of the Year readings at the BlogHer conferences is because I get the chance to meet/hear some amazing, new (to me) bloggers. People submit posts that were meaningful to them, a committee chooses a few for live readings, and then the bloggers get up in front of EVERYONE and read the posts aloud. (I would probably die. For reals. Dead on the stage. Gone. Poof.)
Say what you will about the blogging community, but some of the BEST writers come from my tribe. As a small, non-money, no-ads, over-sharing, personal, wee fish blogger, I appreciate hearing heartfelt, oh-so-honest blog posts at these gatherings. Some make me laugh, some make me cry, and some hit me in my core. I feel that way. Or -- I want to feel that way.
One of the posts I can't stop thinking about is "Ministrations" by Up Popped a Fox. You can read the post in its entirety HERE. It's a post about accepting yourself in your own skin. It begins:
"The beveled edges of the mirror frame my face. I stare at my reflection and notice the slight wrinkles at the corners of my eyes, a few freckles sprinkled across my nose. This is the mingling of youth and maturity, of past and present."
Beautiful, right? Yes.
My favorite part is this:
"For years, I was at war with my body. My shoulders were too broad, my arms too long, my breasts too big, my stomach too soft, my thighs too thick. Every part of me was just too much. I tried to change the things I could and hated the things I couldn’t. I starved myself. I wore clothes that were too big so that I could hide.
Now, my tailored shirt, the bra that accentuates my rack, my fitted jeans – these are the peace offerings I make to my self after years spent trying to look like someone I’m not.
This is the real me. I am recreating femininity in my own image.
As I listened to my new Fox Friend read, I thought about my hairy legs (that I didn't shave because I was lazy and then I threw out my back). I was wearing those kind of pants that stop right below the knee. My hairy legs were on view for ALL. At that moment, I didn't care. Not one bit.
I also pondered my "under chin." It's that fabulous double-chin I inherited from my father's side of the family. I have it even though I'm only 35. I usually dread what I will look like when I am old. But right then? I didn't care.
In fact, every last body-issue I have completely disappeared. I thought about my own mirror reflection -- how much it lies to me. Perhaps I should be offering my own "peace offerings" to myself -- giving myself a break, letting my cankles off the hook.
It's been a week now, but I was still remembering the post as I looked in the mirror this morning. Good morning, awkward chin hairs! Hello, adult acne! How you don', belly roll? YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.
Well, maybe I didn't think they were beautiful, but I tried.
The first step is awareness. That's what they say. So now I will be aware of how hard I am on my own body for no reason. I will coddle my aching back, let my small boobs peek out of v-neck shirts (breathe, girls, breathe!), and wear short skirts with my blindingly-white redhead-legs (although I will probably shave them because it will make me feel good). I will remember that I have that under-chin because Grandma Blonderson had one, and I loved her so very much. She was beautiful.
I am beautiful.
I will hold my too tall head up HIGH. Just like that Fox. POP!
Yes, I learned a lot of things at BlogHer '12, but perhaps this lesson was the most important one: No one was looking at my hairy legs but me. What a freakin' waste of time.
Thank you, new friend. I heard you.