I’m Naked Over Here! [Part I]
Meeting my Reflection — My Version of Mirror Work
I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, but I kept putting it off. I tried every excuse.
There wasn’t enough time… The house was too noisy… There were too many people around… The mailman might knock… I have to finish my coffee... I have an appointment in three hours…
Ok, you’re right, I was just dragging my feet.
Ever since I watched the episode on Goop where the sex therapist had the woman stand in front of the mirror naked, I thought I should partake in a session of my own.
Of course, I decided to go at it alone. Below you’ll find the detailed account. I think it served its purpose.
Welp. I’m naked.
This might be the first time I’ve been in front of my computer entirely naked. Well, that’s a bit of a lie. No, not the computer part. The being entirely naked part. It’s freezing cold in this room, so I need a robe. I guess that’s sort of cheating.
Unnecessary details (prepare yourself for more of these).
My intention with this exercise is to move from my feet to my head. I’m looking at my body with an unbiased (?) perspective.
Seeing the parts — skin, scars, marks, and all — in hope of connecting my inner self with my physical self. Uniting the two with love. Love that I deserve. A love that no one else can give to me.
I’m going rogue here.
This might get boring. I’m going to use the stream of consciousness technique as I move through each area of my body.
Feel free to dip out at any time.
I’m in a lotus position to start out.
The bottoms of my feet are a little rough. I love walking outside barefoot. Actually, I would prefer to be barefoot all the time if that was an option. I hate shoes. They’re too restricting. I keep my toenails trimmed short. No polish on them today. They need to breathe too, and I have the habit of putting polish on and leaving it until it falls off on its own. I’m told that isn’t great for the nail, so I’m letting them live free right now. Case of the winter toes.
Moving up to my legs, I notice they are a bit dry. I’m terrible at drinking enough water. I never get thirsty. It’s like I need an alarm to hydrate. Then once I do, I’m a camel. I always think of things like “I should drink more water” or “I should put on moisturizing cream after I shower.” But I never do. I don’t know why. I know what I should do, but I never listen. No one to blame there but myself.
On my left calf I have a forever bruise.
Every time I look at it I am pissed for an instant, then it makes me laugh. The first time my husband and I had a date and I went to his house his dog bit me. I love animals and I thought his dog and I were great friends. He warned me, but I didn’t listen. I was the dog whisperer for cripes sake! But when I got up from the couch the little chihuahua grabbed hold of my leg meat and refused to release me. I stood there shaking my leg with a smile on my face trying not to make a scene. Little fucker.
My legs never really had too much hair on them. I rarely shave, which is a blessing because it takes so much damn time. I have some random sporadic hairs that pop up here and there, but as I’ve gotten older my leg hair has essentially disappeared. That’s a little weird, eh? My grandma on my mother’s side had the same “problem.” I’ll gladly take it.
My knees crack every time I bend. Every. Time. They told my mom that I would grow out of it when I was a kid. But I’m 38 and it still happens. Maybe when I grow up fully, it’ll go away. Don’t hold your breath, not on the cracking, on me growing up.
The Nether Regions –
(I’ll try to keep this PG-ish) It’s hard for me to go into detail here. It’s not that I’m embarrassed by it, but I don’t really know how to put it into words. There were times in my life that I hated my vagina. I had to get down there with a mirror to make sure things were going alright. I learned the ins and the outs. It’s a strange little creature, but it’s brought me lots of pleasure and gave my children a way into the world, so I’m fairly accepting of it. It took me years to realize that there is no perfect look. They’re all a little different. Let’s call it unique.
I’ve got a bum that’s bigger than my frame.
I wanted people (read as men) to notice me for who I was, down to my core, but often they got distracted somewhere around my bottom. Reading back on my journals, I constantly emphasized my looks. The focus was often on what was wrong with my body, or how guys responded to it. There was a time when I thought that my physical appearance was the only way I could get people to pay attention to me. I found out the hard way that it wasn’t the type of attention I craved. Short-lived and surface-level.
Here is where things get a little dicey. I’ll try to play nice.
I don’t know if I’ve ever loved my stomach. Looking back on my younger bod, it was insane (in a good way), yet I hated it. It was never good enough. I was never thin enough.
Food was a sort of security blanket for me in my mid to late twenties. I wasn’t taking care of myself. I didn’t exercise. I ate garbage, and too much of it. I gained about twenty pounds during my college years. A break-up with my long-term high school sweetheart helped me to drop that weight. But it crept back up again over time.
I gained about 45 pounds with my first pregnancy and almost 60 with my second. In between pregnancies, my panic disorder had me bouncing lbs. all over the place. The more mentally unwell I was, the thinner I was. When I felt good, I would eat, and eat, and eat. But when I felt bad, I would downsize at a pretty drastic rate.
People would comment “WOW! You look so thin! What are you doing!? You look great!”
I smiled and accepted the compliments, but in my head I wanted to tell them to fuck off. Because the only reason I looked so great was the fact that I couldn’t get food into my body. Because even the thought of a meal made me physically ill. I had to work hard to detach my eating habits from my mental health.
Lately, I have been practicing intermittent fasting. I’m more mindful of my portions and what I’m consuming. This has kept me at a healthy weight. And I am satisfied with where I am for today.
The back-and-forth weight game did a number on how my stomach looks. Random indents here and there. My belly button kind of transitioned into a slit rather than a hole.
I just noticed that. Kind of looks like the meh emoji face when I’m sitting. Perfect. I just stood up. It’s only a mini meh when I’m standing.
I had my belly button pierced when I was younger. The scar is still there, but there’s no way to get a piece of jewelry in anymore. That piercing was intentional, but the other scars on my stomach, not so much.
I had to have my gallbladder removed in 2017.
I don’t doubt that my physical body was holding the brunt of my emotional distress. They told me they couldn’t really see what the problem was (is this a theme for me or what?), but when I couldn’t eat for a month and the pain kept getting worse, it was time for that sucker to hit the road. They did find it aggravated upon removal, and I felt relief as soon as it was gone. A few years after surgery, I’m left with a few randomly appearing GI symptoms, but silver lining…it forces me to be more careful about what I’m eating.
I asked my surgeon if I could keep the one gallstone he found in there. He refused. They were just going to throw it in a biohazard bag anyway! What’s it to him? I made it!
Go have a snack and check back in for Part II!