I caught a glimpse of myself, not meaning to, in the full-length mirror that hangs on the back of the bathroom door. I noticed, not wanting to, the slight pigeoning inward of my left foot. I deliberately set it forward.
I’m not sure why, but I allowed my eyes to linger longer upon my naked reflection. I gazed upward to the knees and the bulge that each one carries on its inner side. Higher still, my vision wandered to my dimpled thighs and then to the pouched belly that will never know a fruitful womb. I saw my breasts, limp and lacking.
Climbing upward still, my eyes caught sight of the sun-speckled chest flat and bony. Creases that did not exist there five years ago were now visible. I could not overlook the slight sag of the jowls and the freckle that stands out larger than the rest near the tip of my nose. I continued to pick out every visible flaw I could find and then fled the room.
I slid back fiercely the doors of my bedroom closet. I intended to find something, anything, to cover the imperfections I despised. I chose ¾-length beige Chinos and a baggy blue blouse with a high collar. Of course, the bra was padded. I slipped into a pair of navy t-strap sandals, ones with raised heels to tauten my fleshy shins. Lifting my right foot to the seat of my green wooden rocker, I bent slightly to affix strung shells around my ankle. I thought that bejeweling myself might make a difference.
Back in the bathroom, this time avoiding the full-length looking glass and opting instead for a smaller oval above the sink, I carefully exaggerated the contour of my scanty lips with a creamy mauve pencil. I wore blond bangs to hide my silvering hairline. I wore a wide smile to cloak my shame. Before turning away, I was struck by the pain I saw behind my eyes anguished and aqua. A voice from within, almost audible, screamed, “Cancel! Cancel! Cancel!”
I know better, but sometimes I revert to habits I long ago renounced. I know that pummeling the body with harsh words and disparaging thoughts is a detrimental practice. Such violence creates a negative inner vibration that adversely alters the molecular structure of cells. We wage assault upon the body to our own peril by creating disharmony, discomfort, disease.
The body is transient matter, but it is also the precious temple that houses the eternal soul while on this earthly sojourn. The body is a sacred channel for the Divine. It is a Holy form whose magnificence is not determined by its size, shape, or color. It is not deserving of criticism and reproach.
Quantum science is confirming that when we release negative thought patters and reinforce positive ones, we can reverse cellular damage. When the innocence of the body is no longer held hostage to the judgment of the mind, it is free to thrive. In this light, let us look at ourselves, all of us, and love what we see. Let us care for our bodies and speak kindly to them using words of thanksgiving. Let us begin a practice of gazing at ourselves naked in full-length mirrors. Let us each consistently reassure the reflection, “You are beautiful!”
Be enlightened! ~ M
For more stories about women and body image, see Rosanne Olson’s book.