I was recently asked by someone I trust to gaze into a mirror and sense what I see there and to create, write, draw from the experience. I have done versions of this exercise over the years with different groups and each time I immediately start laughing as my mind heads straight to the safety of an old Stuart Smalley Saturday Night Live skit where he sits poised in front of the mirror affirming, “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough and doggone it, people like me.” It still makes me laugh because like all good humor it helps me safely traverse into a core space where I am not fully comfortable. Humor can be a safe and excellent vehicle to ride into bumpy unconscious territory. However, the place of growth and the deeper work of comedy requires that we stay for a moment in the place where the laugh touches us.
Historically, my reflection has taken me for such unpleasant rides that the new house in ABQ simply doesn’t have a full length mirror. So when I was invited to this exercise I immediately felt great relief because guess who’s 1950s medicine cabinet mirror stops at her neck? Thus far my hair and my face/neck have been a relatively safe place to see. I will occasionally stop and ponder the gray hairs and the newly forming desert wrinkles but then somehow I can just laugh and say,”This is what a desert witch looks like!” And that’s enough to stop the meanness in its tracks. South of my neck things get a lot harder and the stories get nastier. I know in my heart that not one of these narratives I am utilizing to hurt myself is mine. No child is born thinking this way. I have been programmed. I am immersed in that programming of self hatred on the daily. Patriarchy and capitalism both depend greatly upon women hating themselves. This way we are easier to control and to sell unnecessary treatments, products, clothing, diets etc. If you doubt me read the following from Research and Markets:
The global market for weight loss products and services should grow from $254.9 billion in 2021 to reach $377.3 billion by 2026, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.2% during the forecast period of 2021-2026.
As an investor this may help you know where to put some of your money over the next few years. As a woman, this fact ought to open your eyes up to what is happening and why it is so hard to look at ourselves naked. Our culture perpetuates self hatred as a commodity. If you think weight loss products are about health, reach out to me so we can discuss that lie. They’re not. Awareness, intuition, clarity, self loving are the products/sources of actual health and it is a precious few folks who will sell you the treasure maps to get to these sacred places because each of these makes you less vulnerable to outside control.
In continuation of my work on the Norse Goddesses, this moon I am currently studying the goddess/valkyrie Eir and it is within her battlefield surgical clarity that I choose to bravely meet my reflection, below my neck. I recognize today the complex social war on my ability to love my body and myself fully. I am more fired up than ever to reclaim my birthright, my body EXACTLY as she is this day.
I am beautiful. I’m good enough. And doggone it, people like me. I choose me.
(my secret hope is that you choose you too)
Happy Valentine’s. Show YOUR body some LOVE today. Tell her the truth. I’m going start doing the same.