What’s the first thing you do when you get out of the shower?
I always find this to be an interesting experiment in human observation. My husband, for example, does not, in fact, moisturize. I find that to be incredibly odd. What does your skin feel like without moisturizer? How do you live?
When I get out of the shower, the very first thing I do after drying off is moisturize–like a mothereffer. I apply liberal amounts of coconut oil, and if my skin is especially thirsty, I do it again.
Then I get dressed, typically in some variation of sweats and one of my husband’s t-shirts. Once I’m dressed, I assess my hair situation, which 9 times out of 10 means, “When the actual eff was the last time I washed my hair?” And lastly, I fill in my eyebrows.
Even if I don’t put on any makeup at all (which is usually the case), I fill in my eyebrows. This, apparently, is my newest addition to the signs of aging: balding eyebrows. Which is fine, of course. It has to be. But I think, had this started happening a few years ago, I might not have been able to handle it.
Thankfully, through consistent mindset practice and tremendous emotional growth, I’ve spent the last few years learning to be present with myself from a space of love and gratitude. I’ve come to understand that compassion and grace are more useful tools than perfectionism and loathing. I’ve learned not to castigate and belittle myself for each little “flaw” and every inevitable mistake.
I’ve embraced my humanity and the fluidity of my ever-changing body.
Most importantly, I’ve detached from the idea that my body and my looks and my age are all somehow (inexplicably!) connected to my worth and power as a woman of this world.
So yes, I fill in my eyebrows most of the time because I like them better that way, but not because I think my balding eyebrows make me any less worthy of love, belonging, or success. I can look in the mirror and see my balding eyebrows and my plethora of gray hairs, and still be totally and completely at peace with the reality of my existence,–without creating meaning where there really is none.
I used to look in the mirror, incessantly and grumpily pinching pockets of fat. I would grimace at my stretch marks, and make disparaging comments towards myself–things I would never ever dream of saying to someone whom I loved.
I used to see my reflection and feel utterly discouraged and comfortably victimized. The victim role is easy to fall into; it seduces us with promises of zero responsibility and blame, yet renders us powerless to change.
I’m not a victim anymore. I refuse to be a victim.
I choose to be a warrior instead.
Of course, I see the gray hairs, wrinkles, stretch marks, and cellulite. They are there, on the surface–impossible to miss really, after having spent the past 10-15 years obsessing over their existence.
But when I look in the mirror, that’s not all I see. I’m able to look past those flaws–those pesky vermin that delight in stealing my precious energy, and draining it through useless obsession. I can see the cellulite; I’m not blind. But instead of JUST cellulite and stretch marks, I also see grace, strength, power, and passion.
I see a mother, a wife, a veteran, a free spirit, and a badass chick who is fully in her power. I see a passionate writer, a devoted coach, a vibrant woman who loves to lift heavy, practice yoga, and interact deeply with the world. I see myself with all my layers–not just the cellulite and the gray hair.
Because if that’s all I choose to see, if that’s where I direct my energy, I miss out on the opportunity to see the rich detail that makes up the empowered woman standing before me. When I stand before my reflection, I choose abundance over scarcity–I choose not to fall prey to the inner Judge, to society’s ridiculous standards, to the energy vampire inside my head, threatening to steal my worth.
Instead to open up my periphery and see all there is to see, in all it’s grandeur, the light and the dark.
When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Do you see signs of old age, or signs of a life well lived? Do you see unsightly remnants of your pregnancies or reminders of the life you’ve brought into the world?
Listen. I’m not going to sit here, behind the safety of my screen, and to ask you to completely ignore the things you view as imperfections; in fact, I find that type of advice to be both unrealistic and foolhardy. But I will encourage you to see MORE than merely those things.
Because you are more than the “flaws” that often consume you–can you see it? You are more than the gray hairs, the cellulite, the stretch marks, the wrinkles–more than your physical body.
You are more than your mistakes, your pitfalls, your heartbreak, and your stress. You are so much more.
Can you see your power, your strength, your blinding radiance? It might be hard, at first. This is where the work comes in; you’ll have to practice. You’ll have to actively look past a few things to see what’s under the surface. You might need to practice peeling back the layers and layers of flaws that you’ve spent your life obsessing over. You might even need to “fake it til you make it.”
You might have to do all of this, every day, before you can come face to face with the badass chick who’s waiting underneath.
Don’t stop peeling back those layers.
Promise me you won’t.
Don’t stop at the stretch marks and the cellulite and the scars and the demons. DON’T STOP. There is magic under there, but you have to persist. Keep going until you uncover the MORE that is YOU because we are all so much more than what we are accustomed to seeing.
You are the sky–don’t obsess over the weather.