Making Like an Onion
At a doctor's office recently, the receptionist requests that I step on the scale for her. It takes but one half of a second for the white hot fear to rush up from the pit of my stomach.
I'm the heaviest I've been in seven-ish years, minus two pregnancies and immediate post-partums. I have a number of theories as to why this is, but only someone who agonizes about the shape and size of her body to the extent that I do would take the time to build these theories. (And then agonize about them as much as the actual shape and size of her body).
I wish I could tell Ms. Receptionist. I wish I could tell her scales strike fear in my heart- because they either provide proof that my obsessive thoughts and tactics are on target, or they're glaring proof that I'm not working hard enough.
I am too tired to work any harder right now. I am bone tired when I am not wire-y anxious, and I wish I could tell Ms. Receptionist that.
"Do I have to? I mean, is it really necessary?" I throw in a half laugh and a shrug as if to say, "Come on, sister, help me out here. It's cool, just write a number down in that folder there."
She stares back at me and then rolls her head off to the side, her eyes rolling with it, "Come on," she playfully chides.
She doesn't get the SOS. And I don't have the courage to speak plainly.
This is just one of the many reasons why I struggle to speak loudly about my demons. Because in the light of day, before the pixie-haired, lithe, very chic receptionist with the exotic dialect, at the Rheumatologist's office, I feel silly and dramatic.
The next day, my toddler and I pay a visit to a family going through a particularly large trial of faith and courage. We are graciously invited to take a dip in their pool. In fact, our hosts won't hear otherwise, and they happen to have a brand new swim suit that I can use.
It's gorgeous out, the kids are excited to swim, and I am positively nauseated as I step into the washroom to change. I know this is probably an invitation to move through this resistance rather than run like hell. "I can do hard things," I repeat in my head over and over.
I am shaky and sweaty as I change into the swimsuit. I'm not sure if I am going to throw up, burst into tears, curl into a ball, or all three. I have my toddler with me, and she continuously runs to the door to open it, so excited to get out to the pool.
Then, I'm so mad. So mad that I didn't just insist we weren't staying to swim. So mad that they (generously, sweetly, innocently) had the extra bathing suit. So mad that I'm this worked up when my hosts are dealing with far more pressing concerns. So mad at myself for hating my body. Why can't I just appreciate it for all the good it does?! Why can't I see myself the way my partner does? Why does my brain have to be so annoyingly, destructively self-centred? Why am I STILL fighting this battle, for fuck sakes I am thirty-three years old!!!
I breathe into my heart space, willing to feel it all, because from my vantage point in the bathroom, there is no way out. I silently pray to the Goddess of my own understanding:
Please help me see the Love in this. Help me to be a vessel of Peace and Love.
My kid runs to the door for the thirtieth time, because I'm taking an exorbitant amount of time fighting off a panic attack. At least four years have passed, in her toddler mind. Out of the corner of my tear-filled eye, I catch the sheer anticipation on her squishy face.
My heart expands even further, and I think, "I'm missing out on that." And so I gather my sweaty shaky self and my eager toddler, and we exit the bathroom hideout.
I throw myself into enlightening conversation and I listen to slices of other people's worlds, doing my best to really hear them.
Hearing them is healing. A remembrance of Interconnection. A transformation from fear to Love.
I am sure to send a prayer of thanks to Goddess.
I'm sometimes quick to speak of my body issues as if they're something I have conquered, know better than, and am over. A Happily Ever After with the occasional reference to "Phew, was I ever jacked up then!"
Sometimes I mistakenly think that if I reference the pain of the past with an air of spiritual understanding, it means that I'm immune. I'm an empowered, intelligent, educated feminist. I'm a yoga teacher who endeavours to walk her talk every damn day.
Still there are residual patterns. Still there is darkness. Still there is shame. Recovery feels more like a spiralling staircase than a ladder. Coming back to old lessons with a bit more insight than the time before, but still a hell of a lot of pain.
I have the tools to cope, and some understanding around my patterns. I am developing strategies to help me feel my way through the next layer of healing.
Because that is what this is: there is no quick fix to our humanness. We are meant to learn as we go, peeling back the layers of misperception, stories, outdated beliefs, and armour. All of that stuff wedged and built up between the world and our Heart, where our true wisdom and inner compass resides. Where our True Self resides.
Laura Biddle, given the spiritual name Tera Sundri Kaur, which means "Thy Beauty," is a Kundalini Yoga teacher and student. She lives with her three children, partner, and two cats, and an extreme amount of Lego. Laura is inspired to live with an acceptance and appreciation for the duality that is within the human existence, and hopes to do so with as much grace and joy as her children do. Interconnection, Sisterhood, and Vulnerability are her religions. For more from Laura, visit www.rootsforwingshealing.com