Today a woman said she’d been waiting for an opportunity to tell me how much she admired my confidence. This shocked me because I struggle with my weight and self esteem issues. I recently decided to stop hiding from the eye of loved ones’ cameras. I’m sure there are other vulnerabilities, but in this age of recording every moment of life with cell phones, I feel most often the vulnerability of allowing others to take my picture.
I love selfies, because I feel in control of how people perceive me. Even though I’m aware that we cannot control people’s perception of us, it’s only recently that I gave up this battle. LOL! As a result, it looks like I actually have friends. Also, I get opportunities to see myself through others’ eyes. Thankfully, I’m not completely disgusted. In fact, I’m enjoying reliving moments through pictures even when I look crazy because it isn’t about how anyone looks. I feel embraced when I see myself and friends laughing or grinning at a camera glad to be alive and in each other’s company. Before, I felt distant from my own life events when I looked at pictures I attended but didn’t take any photos. Now I’m right clicking, saving and keeping memories for my own records. Like we were there!
I’m also finding myself beautiful these days. This is a huge deal, because I’m not slim, blonde, white or tall and my hair is nappy. Over the past few years I’ve been accepting that each body is a miracle, to be loved and appreciated like oak trees, oceans and summer rain. I still want to be tall.
The discussions I’m having about myself and other bodies are more loving. I see beauty everywhere. I don’t know when exactly, but a few years ago I decided to start forgiving others. In forgiving others, I found I was really angry with myself. The gentler I am with others, the more accepting and gentle I am with myself. I also find it easier to forgive others, while it feels like forgiving myself is going to be one of my life’s ongoing works, I’ve made a lot of bad decisions. Still, forgiveness has been the beginning of freedom.
One way I’m free, I don’t hold grudges so my energy is free to focus on what’s important. Another way forgiveness has been freedom, I’m no longer anchored at blaming myself or others, I’m free to see people as human beings navigating through life the best they know how. There is so much compassion in just that understanding. I relate to making mistakes. I relate to making decisions that seemed best at the time based on the information I had, impulse, fear or out of pure desperation, that in the end was harmful. I have certainly harmed myself through choices. Accepting that fact, I have to choose to either love me unconditionally or hate myself. Every time I choose me, I am able to see clearer.
Forgiveness has also allowed me not to be clouded by anger. I am able to see who and what is good for my life without the condition of expecting perfection. It also frees me to follow my spirit so my actions to distance myself from some people doesn’t need to be validated. It allows me to be loving while respecting my own boundaries and journey.
Freedom also helps me to see most people are honest and unfortunately wounded. Knowing people who don’t work at being better people but at being better deceivers are a minority allows me to grant people spiritual connection without self abandonment, or self doubt. Also, forgiving myself has allowed me to trust myself, my spirit and my ability to make choices. Which allows me to remain open and hopeful. I’m an only child, whose extended family is dysfunctional and disconnected. In forgiving them for not being what I think a family should be, I’m free to build my own family. I’m building my own family.
Another really important way forgiveness freed me, was it allowed me to forgive people for weighing me down with their disappointment. I was able to forgive people for their perceptions, expectations and lack of responsibility for their own happiness. I use to feel betrayed for how I was treated by family members and my parents after I came out. On some level, I’ve tried meeting other expectations, hoping they would I guess forgive me for not being straight. Forgiveness allowed me to see, even in denying my own happiness to reach whatever other goals were for my life, I was accepting something was wrong with who I was, am. Freedom, allowed me to see I couldn’t make anyone else happy and frankly that wasn’t my job. I forgave myself for being selfish, because that realization felt selfish and dismissive of everyone I loved.
Then I was free to ask myself, what I think should be one of the first questions a spirit in this realm should ask themselves: “What will make me happy right now?”
In 2009 when my grandmother transitioned, it was the first time I realized I didn’t want to just exist. It was the first time I asked myself “what will make me happy.” I was very unhappy and mostly because I was taking life for granted. The passing of my grandmother showed me that time was finite, I could go anywhere I wanted and do whatever I wanted. All I had to do was pick a direction. That’s freedom.
I love creating. I love being viewed as an artist. I love being viewed as a writer. I love poetry and performing poems. I’ve not found any other feeling I enjoy as much as relating to an entire room of people in five minutes or less. Or the moments after a poetry reading when people come find you to tell you how a poem moved them and then sharing their stories. It makes me happy to relate. It makes me happy to write more, draw more, share more and love more. I’m compelled to be this way.
So when the woman, came to tell me how she just couldn’t imagine putting her work out where people might judge it. Or how she felt that I was so confident because I created and shared without fear, I thought about how interesting it is that we can’t control people’s perspective. I thought about how even though her perception was positive, I guess, I couldn’t disagree more. Until she mentioned her own fears, I honestly hadn’t considered that people might reject my work. When I sit to write, plot, draw or paint I don’t even consider how my work will be received.
Recently, I’ve been working on a poetry book and a historical novel. In the poetry book, I’m trying to share what I’ve learned about life, love and writing. I won’t release it until it feels right in my spirit. With the novel, I’m focused on each step in the process of just finishing the first draft. I’m concerned about doing adequate research for a time period so heavily documented and keeping accurate notes. I also want to weave a story that interest me. I’m also praying over finding the balance between telling a well written fiction in a historical context. I’m finding it particularly challenging to forgive myself for including only facts that move the story along, while omitting major events. I’m seeking peace to move through that… I don’t feel confident at all. I am trying to be present and pay attention to social and physical cues and when there are none, I’m praying for spiritual cues.
Anyway, I actually came to blog a couple lines about someone thinking I was confident. At the time, I denied that I was confident, but she was adamant and went over all the reasons she felt I was confident. Then there wasn’t enough time to really discuss it. So I came to blog about how people’s perception of us can be so different than how we actually feel and got on this tangent about forgiveness…
I decided recently I would attempt to blog more. I hadn’t really processed earlier, or so I thought, but I have been thinking about it ever since she said I was confident. Here I am a thousand words in or something… Forgiving myself for blogging this long when I should be working on my novel. 🙂
Love Love Love