The Dance of Life
In just over two months, I will be giving birth to my growing baby daughter. As a first time parent, I am trying my best to be prepared. I have read many books, attended birth classes, and asked friends for advice. I’ve spent time looking at the relationships around me, and at those in my past, contemplating what kind of mother I will be, but the universe seems to have its own plans.
I’ve spent the last 3 months diving deep into a journey of Body Confidence. What I’ve gained is not only an understanding of how to coach others to know and love themselves, but also a deep look into the depths of my own heart and the body which harbors, protects, and now carries not only my own soul, but another as well. As I type these words I can feel the growing flicker of life dancing low between my hips. Hips that I once despised, wishing they would be smaller. But now, I am thankful for them. I am thankful for their strength, their perverseness, and I am thankful that they are the stage for my tiny baby’s first dance.
It is a new kind of compassion. A compassion which allows me to adore my stomach. A belly that once hung and jiggled between my hip bones is now hard and taught. It shines as if I have swallowed the moon. I feel gratitude everyday to have this miniature miracle growing inside me. I know she is listening, waiting, and learning from me already.
There is so much I want to teach her. I realize she will come out with her own thoughts, ideas, and perceptions of the world. It is not my wish to taint those, but rather to give her a different perspective than the norms of culture, gender, and preconceived notions of what it means to be a woman. If I can take just an ounce of what has taken me years to learn, and give it to her, it would look like confidence with a dash of compassion, kindness, love, and trust. A trust so big in something greater than us, that it will be able to support, love, and understand her even when I don’t.
Theses are 5 simple things I plan to teach her about life, about love, and most importantly about her body. My dream is that she will one day be able to see herself the way I see her now. Perfect, Worthy, Beautiful, and Deserving. My light. My greatest joy. My Evelyn.
To My Sweet Baby Girl,
1. Be Uncomfortable
There are going to be times in your life when you will be uncomfortable. Uncomfortable with your feelings, your ideas, your reality, and most of all your body. BE THAT WAY. If you try to swallow or push down those feelings, you will only cause yourself more discomfort. You will wake up 20 years later not knowing, not recognizing, and worst of all not loving the person you have become. It’s going to be hard to feel the inevitable pain of life, the ebb and flow of existence, but in feeling it, you will also get through it. So many of us become dependent on food, alcohol, affection, or money because it is easier to use those things to feel better than it is to float in a sea of uncertainty. But if you use those crutches for too long you will forget how to walk on your own legs, and you will never learn to soar. You will find yourself stuck, never moving forward. This life was meant to be enjoyed, to be lived fully, and vivaciously. You deserve to be happy, to know that you are stronger than the discomfort you have, and that you can persevere because you are loved far beyond anything you could ever imagine.
2. Super Woman is Overrated
Somewhere between ambition, coping, and trying to be a good person you may find yourself enticed by a popular drug. Perfectionism. I thought for a long time that if I could achieve success, I could make people like me and I would be loved. Not just loved, but adored, depended on, and valued. You may start believing that you too have to be perfect, that you have to keep all the plates spinning in the air: your personal affairs, professional life, and physical appearance. You will want to be everything for everybody. You will want to be Super Woman and for a while, you just might be. I know this because for a brief instance, I was Super Woman, and it gave me so much satisfaction that I could pull it all off. When something didn’t go my way or I got the sense that someone didn’t like me, I tried harder. I used diets and beauty to push myself closer to the illusion of perfection so that I could to be loved, but being Super Woman has only made me Super Tired. I have come to the realization that I don’t have the power to control what anyone else thinks or does. You will not be perfect either, and that is okay. You are not responsible for anyone else’s feelings or choices no matter how much you love them. You will grow, you will thrive, you will fail, and you will change. That’s what it takes to be you, this is your journey. Its okay to let a plate drop. Its okay to save yourself first. You will learn to be your own superhero. I will champion for you until the day I die, but your spirit and your body will untimely be the force that keeps you moving forward and it will be enough. You are enough, right now, and always.
3. Nice Is Not the Same as Kind
Most mommy’s want to raise their little ones as nice girls. I don’t. I want to raise you to be kind, smart, empathetic, loving, and most of all yourself. Nice is a word we have used to condition children into thinking that being nice is putting others above yourself. To be nice, we are taught to be quiet, to behave, and to follow someone elses guidelines for living. Be BIG, my darling. Dare to live a life as bold and brazen as you desire. Kindness is always linked to love. One cannot be kind without the force of a thousand loving angels. To be nice is an illusion, it means shutting down parts of yourself for someone else’s comfort. Allow yourself to be who you are meant to be. Allow yourself to fill up space in your body, no matter how big or small. If it makes you uncomfortable to be you, refer back to number one. Get to know your own soul and let that be the righter of your wrongs, the judge to your jury. Be generous, be kind, be vibrant, but don’t be nice. Niceness is not goodness. Nice is not the divine blossom of you soul. Nice is duct tape over your mouth and shame dripped upon your forehead. You were made for better than Nice things. You are you here because of love and for love.
4. No One’s Opinion Of You Matters More Than Your Own
You are going to want to be accepted, you are going to want to fit in. This is going to keep coming up from the first time you learn what a friend is, until you last breath. People are going to tell you things: things about your body, things about your soul, things about your life. The things that hurt you the most will be the ones that you believe deep down to be true. You will hear more people tell you what you should and shouldn’t so then the sky has stars, and all before you even turn 10. Other people will want to control you, to help you, to hurt you, to keep you safe, but no one knows what is right for you, but you. You are capable, and smart, and you have the ability to understand that someone else’s opinion of you has nothing to do with you and no one has the right to tell you what you can or cannot do with your body or your life. We will want to. I will want to, but even my opinion of you is not as important as the one you hold deep within the safety of your own heartbeat and the wings of your spirit. There will be many beautiful things about you, but the most important will be the light that shines from your heart, the joy you bring to those around you, your essence, your purpose, YOU. You are allowed to be beautiful in your very own way without feeling shame because of someone else’s expectations. You might fit in, you might stand out, whatever happens I will always love you, but please, my little one, don’t ever stop loving yourself either.
5. The Relationship You Have With Your Body Is The Longest Relationship You Will Ever Have
Your body is not just the place you live, it is your life. When you are born you will cry when you are hungry, you will laugh when you are happy, you will sleep when you are tired. You will follow the commands of your body to ensure survival and growth. You will just be. Blessed are the days when you will live in the moment of just being, before your mind will take over rationalizing and making decision about who you should be or how you should look, feel, and act. Your body is already giving you clues about what is best for you. You are responding to the tickle of life right now, but someday it will be tugging on you with the force of 20 elephants. Please do not desert yourself. Do not blame your body for the hurt in the world, for the discomfort which is sure to unfold. Do not abandon yourself when you feel desperate. Do not turn against your flesh when you are unsatisfied. Like now, in the womb, your body will continue automatically sending you clues about what is best for you. Do not forget the voice of your body which loves you and wants to keep you in the moment. Cherish this vessel, this home to house your heart until the day your soul will take flight. Through all the days of your life, you body will be your companion. Your body has been there through it all and will be there through it all. You body is not keeping score. Do not punish it. You will make mistakes, you will be less than perfect, you are human. Allow your body to guide you, to care for you, and to harbor the fire of your being. Your body is amazing, because it is a part of you. Live your life everyday in gratitude and appreciation for the sweet miracle that is your body.
I know I won’t be the perfect mom, but I will love you with all that I have and all that am, You are a part of me and my body now, but forever a part of my soul.
Trust yourself, beautiful girl. You are meant for great things.