Why does it feel like an act of bravery to simply show up as ourselves?
Take a moment.
Stand in front of your full-length mirror and strip it all down. Take off all your layers, let go of your shield and lay down your sword. Wipe off the warpaint and soften your gaze. What’s in front of you is not a battle, it’s your body.
In front of that mirror, you are naked, fresh, real, human, vulnerable.
How do you feel? Are you proud? Do you avert your eyes? Do you focus on some areas more than others? Are you secretly revelling in curiosity over your form? Is your nakedness normal, routine, ordinary or extraordinary, rare and revolutionary?
How many minutes can you stand with yourself? How many moments of intensity can you create between you and the person you inhabit? And when you look away, where do you look? What thought enters your head first?
Ok, breathe and suit up. Let’s talk.
Where did you go when I asked you to look at yourself naked?
The first time this was suggested at me, I bulked. Of course, I see myself naked. I get in and out of the shower. I have mirrors in my house. I SEE myself. But in my defensiveness, I realized my defence. If this was truly normal, why wasn’t I just diving into the challenge, gleefully examining my exterior with pride and pleasure?
Because up until recently, examine my body was for flaws or function. My time with my body was not spent in worship or pleasure, but in questioning worthiness and cultured peer pressure.
We might be tempted to underestimate the judgment of our bodies is a skin-deep scorecard. That by slipping into our button up our blouse, we have covered the verbal carnage our mind left behind on our body.
But the body holds our wounds deep and constant.
When you walk into your arena, do you walk in raw, sharing your realness and leading with your vulnerable humanness? Or is the source of your suited power in every layer you’re wearing, weighing you down in an effort to WIN the situation.
I used to rely on bold fashion and lipstick to cover my holes in confidence. I wear tight clothes on my curvy body, stylistically shouting “I AM CONFIDENT” so no one will question my confidence. I throw my shoulders back and outline my lips in dark red, ready to take a bite out of anyone who questions my capacity. And layer after layer, I was further from the truth.
My truth is, I have moments of deep insecurity, where I truly believe my body is too big to be loved. Too robust to be respected and too round to be revered. I take pride in the beauty that I saw “in spite” of my size, rather than because of it. I work around my body rather than with it.
But I am learning.
These days, I’m choosing to armor in love. Every moment in front of the mirror, every naked selfie, every time my partner asks me to stand three feet away so he can visually love my entire body at once, each of those moments adds another layer of love onto my vulnerable skin.
Yes, we get to wear our wardrobes with pride, we get to indulge in intimate lingerie, and line our lips with allure. These are the pleasures of being feminine and fierce. But we get to release the relationship between our war paint and our bravery. When we finally decide our bodies are lovable, we are no longer being brave we are being ourselves.
-Whitney is a creative entrepreneur who believes true love and worthiness lies in knowing ourselves and allowing others to know us. http://www.ivoryhousephotography.com/blog