Life is full of wonderful, crazy ups and downs. Mine in particular seems to be feast or famine, rain or shine, without much balance. As much as I enjoy one of those lovely sunny days where there are moments of rain, there haven't been any of those in my life for some time and I don't foresee any on the horizon. Not that I'm complaining mind you. This morning however, I'm taking a breather to put some recent thoughts into words in hopes of making some room in my head for more.
I've experienced a surge in creative energy lately. And with it, a desire to chuck everything and go on the lamb from obligation, responsibility and reality. I want to draw, paint, write, and create. However, this creativity spree needs a funding source and so my urge to throw caution to the wind and go for it, is tempered by the daily grind of work and meeting life's financial obligations. Good thing I don't find this daily work a grind at all.
Along with this overwhelming external creative explosion, I've spent a good deal of thought and energy on internal expression as well. I, like most people I assume, spend a lot of time inside my own head. One of the things I think about most often is how to align my external self with my internal view of who and what I am. Understanding that we have little control over other people's opinions and conceptions of us, I still desire to reconcile these things for myself. What does this mean? Well, its not about diets, exercising, and conformity to external expectations. Its about acceptance, health, and self expression. OK, those of you who know me might be saying "she conforms?" and you'd be right. Conformity is not one of the things I'm well known for. But conform I do. I'll admit that some conforming to societal norms can seem necessary to navigate through life. It certainly makes things easier. But it also stifles the creative energy of the individual and honestly, who are "you" to tell me what's the best way to get through life or to hamper my ability to get through life. Purple hair, tattoos, and multiple piercings do not prevent an individual from being a productive member of society. Creative expression of appearance is no indication of one's abilities. Body shape and size are equally non indicators of an individuals motivation, drive and abilities. "Societies" general reactions, disinterest, and dislike for anything beyond "normal" or "average" is the real culprit that hampers self expression and self acceptance.
I recently met a young woman who owns her own small coffee and tea shop, she lets the hair stylist across the street use her as a "hair model," trying new techniques and styles. On the day I met her, she recently had a small shape shaved into the hairline with a short asymmetrical cut. It was bold, brave, and beautiful. And I was inspired. I'd already been considering a full shave of my head, a clean start and new beginning, and now I was thinking about all the possibilities. I still have a full head of hair, but each day I'm closer to a change that more fully expresses my true self.
I'm also fully embracing the health at every size premise (HAES) "that the best way to improve health is to honor your body, adopting health habits for the sake of health and well-being (rather than weight-control)." The thought of spending any more of my free time at a gym or "working out" is completely distasteful to me. It's not enjoyable and it doesn't feed my creative spirit. Instead, I choose to dance (I can't be any more awkward than this guy), to laugh 'til I have to run down the hall to pee, to participate in the famed "balance beam olympics" (water version), and to move around while I'm standing in long lines at concerts (most recently Lady Gaga). I want to find joy in movement and defy anyone to tell me that they find more joy in going to the gym than in spending time with friends or family laughing and moving naturally and healthily.
Finally, there is a video that's been circling social networks lately. Tanya Davis' How to Be Alone. As someone who long ago embraced the joys of being alone, finding an amazing sense of self and freedom in alone, I'm excited that others are sharing this video. Too much of society equates alone with lonely and the two could not be further in likeness from each other. "Society is afraid of alone though. Like lonely hearts are wasting away in basements. Like people must have problems if after awhile nobody is dating them. But lonely is a freedom that breathes easy and weightless, and lonely is healing if you make it." There is another video of Tanya Davis' poetry that hasn't circled quite as widely through my social network (There's a Flower in My Pedal). There is a line in the poem "just like everyone else, this year I got married", the video then flashes to the words "to myself". I love this thought and want to embrace it and live it out. I can't think of a more beautiful thing than to love and honor ones self enough to make the kind of commitment one professes to make when they marry someone. We live in a time where the meaning and importance of marriage is twisted by groups and individuals mostly concerned about politics and religion. Some take it for granted, while others are going to the highest court in our nation for the right (a topic for a different blog).
Perhaps all of our energies would be better spent focused inward, accepting ourselves for who we are and committing to living that life to its fullest expression. And in that practice of learning to accept and respect ourselves and our own differences, perhaps we will learn to accept and respect others. Perhaps we could learn to stop judging ourselves so harshly and will then be unable to find faults in others as well.
I'm giving it a try. Perhaps you will too.