There are so many products out there to cover up our flaws.
But regardless of what we look like on the outside, deep down don’t you just want to run around naked? Naked in that you do not have to cover up who you really are? Don’t you wish you could let your flaws….the mole, the freckles, your imperfect smile, just be out there for everyone to see? Wouldn’t it be great to be able to show our open wounds, our vulnerabilities, the scars from the miles traveled? Imagine the freedom to be trusting enough to allow others see the tears on our face, the awkward jig we do around the room when we are happy and to hear us sing out of tune when our hearts are full of joy.
We have become obsessed with covering up our bodies, our emotions and our thoughts.
I say quit your grinnin’ and drop your linen!
Expose your body, your feelings, your soul….if not to others, then to yourself.
You’ll be amazed.
I was recently on a flight and saw the movie A Thousand Words, it was funny and introspective at the same time.
I did not expect introspection from Eddie Murphy.
The premise of the movie (spoiler alert) is that Eddie Murphy’s character has 1000 words left and when he reached this quota, he will die.
There is an outer manifestation of this which is a tree in his back yard that loses a leaf with every word he speaks.
He loses three words (and three leaves) if he says “I love you.”
This becomes very problematic not only at work, but with his wife, to whom he cannot express his love because he does not want to die.
If he writes a word, the leaves also fall.
Ok, so it’s a movie and it all works out in the end!
BUT, what if it could be true?
Do you know how many words you have left?
This of course presupposes that you know how many years you have and you know how many words you will speak each day.
A daunting mathematical problem!
How many years do I have left?
I know not.
I have this moment.
What I choose to say in this moment can be uplifting or off putting.
It can be humorous or humorless.
It can be stated without judgment or it can be accusatory.
I can whisper or shout.
I have a plethora of choices.
How do I decide?
I have to KNOW who I am and how I want to show up in the world.
I have to know ME!
I have to be true to me.
I have to fight the lethargy that comes with everyday living and the urge to be “fed up” with knowing myself. I have to be ON.
That takes at first a conscious decision to be true to me, then it becomes like breathing.
It becomes a living testament to the William Shakespeare quote “to thine own self be true.”
I must live, To MY own self be true.
I recently had someone forward me a text that they received from another person.
This person just sent the text. They did not say what they wanted me to do with it.
I had to wonder, what should I do here? Should I ignore it, therefore ignore the person who sent it to me?
Should I comment?
I chose to comment, but with humor.
Why? Because I have chosen to try and find the lesson or the humor in my experiences.
How did the recipient take it? I do not know!
What did I accomplish?
Only being true to “MY OWN SELF.”
A few weeks ago, I was watching the 10th episode of the Amazing Race where the fast forward called for the contestants
to shave their heads. The team who pulled this coveted gem chose not to use the fast-forward, which would have brought them to the top of the line.
Why did they not use it?
The female member of the team could not reconcile shaving her head because she had spent $500.00 on hair extensions.
I have been thinking about that choice quite extensively.
Here we have a woman who is an amazing athlete. She has survived for 10 episodes and has undertaken and conquered tasks that she could not have even imagined doing just a few years ago.
BUT how does she see herself?
She sees herself as the woman with a big nose and a need hair for extensions to look pretty.
As the whole world looks on and admires her, she sees nothing more than a big nose and her need for hair extensions.
What kind of message did she have to internalize for her to reflect so microscopically on her gifts? What kind of words had she been exposed to that caused her to digest all the marketing that we women are bombarded with?
I am getting old and much of that marketing no longer applies to me, except that they keep trying to get me to look younger.
I see the younger generation and I cringe at all the unlearning they must do to have a healthy acceptance of self.
I see the toddlers playing with dolls that have more boobs than an Amazon woman, and wonder when they will want their breasts enlarged.
I see all the beautiful celebrities who have undergone plastic surgery only to emerge looking like someone else.
I do not know what we can do as a strong feminine presence to stop this delusion of “what a woman should look like” but I do know that as thinking parents we must start pointing out these atrocities to our kids.
It is easy to think that they’ll figure it out, but will they figure it out before the scars of “not being good enough” make an indelible mark?
I am not saying that I have the answers.
What I do have is lots of trepidation about why, as a society, we are still so focused on outer appearances.
To that Amazing Race contestant, I say:
“honey, you are strong, beautiful and brave. Those things have NOTHING to do with your nose or your hair extensions.”
Oh, and by the way, that guy you are racing with showed the most love and acceptance any one could show under those circumstances. He accepted your decision without any negative comments. He is the poster boy for “support your partner, no matter what.”
The celebrated Sir Edmund Hillary climbed Mt. Everest in 1953. He faced bitter cold, difficulty in breathing at altitude, equipment challenges.
In 1947 Thor Heyerdahl sailed a reed raft across the Pacific Ocean from South America to the Polynesian islands to test a theory that people traveled by using only the materials and technologies available during pre-columbian times. He faced ridicule by his peers for the concept, faced the weather of the Pacific and finally his raft struck a reef.
Amelia Earhart in 1937 attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe. She had two prior attempts which included mechanical failures, unfavorable weather patterns, and always the fear of reaching her fueling stations.
So you are thinking, yes all these people are great explorers, how could I possibly add my name to that list?
When you do the work to explore your inner self are you facing the unknown. It won’t make the cover of National Geographic but it takes courage, guts, fortitude to look inside and see your truth. There will be times where you cannot think of putting one foot in front of the other, as Sir Edmund Hillary must have thought as he climbed Everest.
You may be ridiculed as Thor Heyerdahl was, but it did not stop him because he believed in his vision, his project and his mission.
To navigate your heart and your life there will be failures, you may have to make several attempts like Amelia Earhart.
To explore you will be scared, you will feel fear, and so did these three explorers.
To explore your true self can be as steep a climb, as wide as an ocean, or as vast as the sky. You are an explorer in the truest sense of the word.
Add your name to the list!
Donate to Indrani’s Light Foundation
Your donation will be used towards eradicating gender violence, training community leaders and sharing behaviour-change tools with people who are ready to leave violence behind and create a brighter, more peaceful world.