About a year ago I spent a morning close to tears.
Racking my brain for the why and how these deep, dark, extremely painful feelings can still come bubbling forth.
Even after so. much. inner. effing. work.
The trigger? A picture. One of me walking through our "secret forest" with our children, taken from behind by my love. It had been such a great day, the sun was beginning to dip and the light was amazing, filtering down through the buds and bare branches. The frogs were just beginning to peep, we heard turkeys nearby and everyone was happy.
But I didn't see that. That's not the story the picture told to me.
All I could see were the love handles peeking out above my jeans, the width of my upper arms and how the shirt I usually felt so good in, could look so wrong in an instant. It made my heart plummet into the ground. I was so embarrassed, so filled with shame. I literally felt sick. The worst part was that this picture had been put up on Facebook. Now EVERYONE could see what I was seeing. I felt raw and exposed. It was too much for me, so I asked that it be taken down, which made me feel silly and small.
I proceeded to tailspin into a dark place for about an hour. I used to spend days or weeks there. Not anymore. I HAVE done too much effing work to stay there. I collected myself and started to take quick pictures on my iphone. No cropping, no filters, no sucking in, no hand on hip, no careful angles.
Just me as I am.
Pajamas, messy hair. No makeup, wearing that shirt from the picture, the one I never bothered taking off before bed. No smile. Snapping pictures from the front, the back, the side. The chin, the arms, the thighs, the belly. Then I stopped, sat and stared as each one.
Was what I was seeing really that bad?
Did it warrant the amount of mental torture I just put myself through?
Was I useless?
Was I disgusting?
Did feeling shitty about myself make me feel better?
Was I a bad Mom?
Unworthy of love?
Umm No. Honestly, the answer to each was very much a no.
I actually started to feel a bit better. A little less tender. Towards the end I even tried to smile in some of the pictures. The whole exercise left me feeling slightly renewed. Let me tell you what, putting a smile on your face transforms not only the picture but whats going on inside. A smile can be big medicine for our soul. A smile is a window into our essence.
Then I deleted every single one.
Something about being able to erase them felt even more empowering. It was like a gift. Like I was erasing some of those dark feelings about myself with them.
Smile my love. You are a gift.
Sending you so much love this week. If you have ever felt tender and have been searching for something that might help you shed a little light on your darkness I have a beautiful class coming up called "Sexy, Raw & Radiant". It's not a cleanse or challenge, it's just about adding in more beauty to our lives so we can come home to ourselves.
Stephanie is a certified holistic health and lifestyle coach. She works with women to help them discover their inner radiance through the food they eat and the homes they keep. Her newest course "Sexy, Raw & Radiant" is coming soon!