On Loving What Is

After yesterday’s post about grieving your body fantasy, I spent the whole day thinking about what I was left with.  For example, you decide to let go of the person that you spent twenty-thirty-forty-some-odd years wishing desperately that you could become, what do you do next? Though it was well received by you guys (THANK YOU), I felt like it was kind of a downer.

Yes. She’s not going to run in a scoop me up and make me the prettiest girl in the whole world with the best hair and a closet full of lululemon outfits and a perfect ass. Yes, that IS a sad realization, but I wanted to make something a little clearer. Yesterday, I was talking about letting go of unrealistic goalslike getting taller or spontaneously becoming a size two – the kind that keep you all tied up in knots because they are simply impossible to achieve. It was not about giving up on all of your dreams for yourself, and, yes my love, there is a difference.

But I found myself wanting to talk to you guys about how much I love who I’ve become.

When I was a kid, some shitty things happened and some really quite beautiful things happened. As a result of the former, I cultivated a core belief that I had to take care of everything in the entire world and take care of EVERYONE, otherwise no one would love me and stick around. I formed this core belief because deep deep deep, I didn’t think that I was worth sticking around for. However, as a result of the latter, I was blessed with the constant urge to fight harder and try better.

Because I wanted to fix up everyone and not everyone wants to be fixed up, nor, truthfully can an 8-year-old fix up much of anything whatsoever, I learned to medicate my perceived inadequacies with food.

I learned early that mashed potatoes can fix just about anything.

I learned that if a teaspoon of mashed potatoes can make me feel good – a mixing bowl of mashed potatoes was better.  More good.

Soon, I was a teenager and all of that fixing-up-with-food had left me with a body that, at the time, I though was enormous. That body  validated for me the underlying core belief that I was worth nothing and that I should work extra hard to be “nice” and accommodating.  Except when you are a teenager and you want people (read: boys) to like you, being “nice” suddenly involved a lot more than I really bargained for.

I learned that people wanted to be near me physically when I was able to morph myself into whatever they found sexy. I got really, truly, quite good at that. I did a lot of things that I didn’t want to do, because I wanted someone to love me and I didn’t believe that I was worth saying no.

One day I realized that was not going to work for me a single second longer.

The next day, I started writing instead.

I have to say, I am not sorry about a single thing that has ever happened to me. I am not going to sit here and think about what could have been if I had been someone else, because, I am a product of my experiences.

If I had been a skinny kid, with an “easy” go of it, this blog wouldn’t exist.

I wouldn’t be passionate about doing this work.

I also wouldn’t be nearly as good at it.

I wouldn’t be able to look you in the eye when you tell me that you are seriously hurting and confused and tell you that I know how it feels to be completely out of control.

I wouldn’t have fallen in love with C and I wouldn’t have this life that I am so unbelievably proud of.

The point is this: hidden somewhere in the muck of your personal history is all of the most gorgeous, intelligent, and magnificent parts of your being. The world has conspired to give you (perhaps many) opportunities to dig deep, figure out what you’re about, and get real about what you have to offer the world.

Once I gave up my struggle with my body, I learned that it is not always easy, but it is always worth something.

I learned that my darkest bits are also my sparkliest moments, because for me there is nothing better than standing in front of you and having my words ring true.

Without my experiences, my words would mean nothing.

I wouldn’t give that up for anything.

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6 thoughts on “On Loving What Is”

  1. I didn’t have the issues with food. But otherwise you remind me very much of me. My battle is to learn to love that person under all the muck and baggage and shit. I actually believe that she’s a good deal sexier, feistier and funnier than my imagined version. I don’t subscribe to the media version of beauty. Yet I’m honest enough to admit I still let myself get influenced by it at times. It’s just finding those ways that work for me to bypass my existing circuitry and program in new codes if you like. And it’s about reminding myself, that I’m enough. That I’m worth this journey; I am. Enough of morphing myself into what others want. It’s just too much effort now. I want to be me – it’ll take some time and figuring out, but I’ll get there.

  2. Wonderfully, powerfully said, Mara. And writing, man. It really is something else, isn’t it? So glad that you picked up that pen, found this computer screen, and hit “post” regularly. You are a gift.

  3. sometimes it’s hard for me to tap into what i am proud of in myself and my life. so i have to take baby steps. i love that i’m a sister. i love standing on the Atlantic coast and feeling the cold wind. i love dancing in my underwear. i don’t have a laundry list of accomplishments, don’t fit into the ‘success’ mold of our culture. but, underwear dances have a way of letting that be A-OK.


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