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Posts Tagged ‘health’

“Oh, honey, don’t cry…be strong.”

“This might hurt a little, but be brave and don’t cry.”

“Don’t be such a cry baby!”

These are the voices that I heard as a child. I learned at a very early age that “If you cry than you are not strong or brave, but, you are weak and babyish.

The strong ones who can control their tears are looked up to and the weak ones who cannot are pitied and told to stop.

  • We feel embarrassed and ashamed by our tears.
  • We feel disappointed in ourselves for not being able to control our tears.
  • We hide our tears behind hands, tissues, bowed heads and closed doors.

Me, I feel proud of my tears.  I feel strong and powerful when I cry.

This was not always the case.  I had taken the childhood voices to heart.  I believed  I was weaker than others when I cried.  I was ashamed of my tears and quickly learned to stifle my tears as much as possible.  What I didn’t realize at the time was that when I stifled my tears, I stifled my ability to express feeling…I stifled my heart and I stifled my joy as well.  As I opened up to my feelings, I also came to realize the strength of my tears.

But how can crying be a strength?

Crying is a movement of emotions. It is a letting go of feelings. It is a transformative flow of energy. Crying is a powerfully transformative release. When we cry, we release pain, we release frustration, we release stress, and we even release extreme joy. We allow these feelings to flow freely from us leaving space for new possibilities and for healing.

You cannot fix a broken pipe if you cannot get through the wall to reach it. You cannot treat a wound if you cannot get through the protective dressing. Crying is a strong tool which allows us to get through the wall and find the broken pipe. Crying unwinds the layers of protection that we have wrapped around our wounds. Crying opens us up and allows for the opportunity to locate and heal the deep wounds within ourselves.

When we suppress our tears in an attempt to remain strong and in control, what we are actually suppressing is the natural flow of feeling through us. We stifle the natural movement of this feeling energy and in so doing we stagnate the powerful surge of the water of our souls.

It is known that stagnated, unmoving water creates a breeding ground for mosquitoes, algae, bacteria, parasites, and pollutants which in turn, leads to an environment of disease. By holding back our tears, by remaining strong and in control, we are actually creating disease in our bodies, our souls, and our world. We are adding layers of protective covering that prevent us from treating the wounds.

Tears of Snookie by Dan Lacey

By allowing our tears to flow freely into the world we have the power to heal not only ourselves, but others…not only others, but the world. Our tears have the power to transform the landscape of our world as flowing water reforms the earth. Flowing water has the power to redirect rivers. Moving water has the power to cut deep chasms through rock. Crying and the empathy, compassion, and release that accompany it can break down barriers and transmute any situation just as flowing water can erode a mountain; and the faster and more powerful the water is, the more rapidly the transformation takes place.

Our tears are the water of our souls. Our tears have the power to open up and cleanse even the most ingrained and festering of wounds.

So, now, I do not hold back or stifle my tears.  I proudly and confidently let my tears flow and embrace their strong transformative power.  I know that I cannot always control the events of the world, but I can transmute the energy of these events and heal the wounds with my flowing tears. I cry without shame.  I choose movement from self-control and stagnation, to a place of natural flow, and with the power of my tears, I create a new world.

 

I would like to give credit to the unknown photographers of the first three pictures.  I did not take these pictures, but found them on Google images.

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A friend of mine has a teenage daughter who is attempting to become a model.  She is extremely photogenic and takes amazing pictures.   She recently went on a model search cruise and was loved by all the agencies in attendance.  They all wanted her to sign with them, BUT.  None would accept her as a model unless she could fit into their size 2 clothing. She was not far away from that, BUT, now, to continue with her dream, she would be required to starve herself or exercise herself into a size 2.

The message that is being sent out to all girls here is that you are not pretty enough unless you are very thin.  And as girls and as women in the modern world, we have believed them.  We see fat on our bodies and instantly want to diet, exercise, or liposection it away.  We even resort to anorexia and bulimia in an attempt to be thin enough.  We feel frumpy, unsexy, and undesirable.  We spend so much of our valuable life force energy trying to be thin so we can then feel pretty.

Women, do you know that for thousands of years, the woman’s body was viewed as beautiful if it was full and round.  Voluptuous curves and full stomachs were honored as a reflection of health and vitality.  Thin women were thought to be unhealthy and malnourished. Robust was sexy and beautiful!  A full-bodied, round, robust woman was considered goddess-like.  So why is it suddenly so abhorrent now?

My question to modern day women is this…

Why are we all trying to be what the modeling industry wants us to be?  Why won’t the model industry expand it’s expectations to include and reflect the beauty in all body types and sizes?  Isn’t there beauty in Size 22 and size 12 as well as in size 2?  How about this? Instead of conforming to an external standard of beauty, let’s all find the beauty inside of us in whatever our body type or size.  Being a woman is beautiful in all shapes and sizes, not just size 2.

 

I got in touch with my friend to get permission to write about her daughter and this was her response (I have changed the names for her privacy):

Ginger has been scouted by Elite Models, IMG Models and several other top international agencies. They want her for runways in Paris and Milan and editorial photographs (the most elite realm of modeling). Another agency wants to send her to Hong Kong for a 3 month contract for commercials, runway and editorial magazine shots. At the recent event in LA, Ginger was voted ‘best teenage model’ and ‘best swimsuit model’ from over 300 contestants.  The only issue is that she needs to loose 2 inches off her hips to fit into the clothes on the runway/at the photo shoots. My daughter is 5’9″ tall and weighs 125 pounds.  She is toned and elegant and has amazing stage presence because she has been a dancer all her life. There is hardly an ounce of fat on her – loosing 2 inches off her butt would probably require she lose muscle too.  She is a very healthy, very slender young woman.  The irony is that she is so poised and long legged that she appears to be the ‘right’ weight – and the agencies were startled that she was too ‘big’.  It was only when the measuring tape came out that it was apparent that she would not fit into the size 3s or 5s required for the job. (she wears a 7). 

My daughter was thrilled at the accolades she got in this extraordinarily competitive realm. Runway at this level can earn $10,000+ a day.  However once home and facing the discipline involved of over exercising and under eating, (and continuing it to maintain a diet of mostly salads to keep the low weight) she has just not felt like doing it.  Nor does she want to be the poster child to push for more open guidelines.  Her local agency suggests she then gain 20 pounds to be a plus model – but that would not work either as she is not busty enough for that realm.  My daughter is the perfect example of why they need to open up the guidelines because she is so healthy and naturally slender and even ‘looks’ right.  Gaunt, emaciated, starving women are not a ‘model’ form!  Honestly, I support the ‘style’ to have slender women model clothes – if they opened up their guidelines just 10 pounds and 2 or 3 inches, they would have a more reasonable and far more healthy version of ‘models’.  What they have now is unreachable to maintain health.  No wonder there are all those eating disorders.  I’m so glad my daughter has no inclination to starve or purge to fit in. 

I see that I had gotten the size 2 fact wrong, but that does not alter my perspective.  I am also so glad that Ginger is not starving or purging to fit in.  She is truly beautiful in her body right now as are all the size 12’s and 22’s that I know!

Women, we are all uniquely beautiful and model worthy!  Let’s stop defining ourselves by the unreal, unhealthy, and unattainable standards set by the beauty and modeling industry!  Let’s expand our own minds to see the real beauty in all healthy female body types  from size 2 to size 200.

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My oldest daughter recently had her first menstrual period beginning her beautiful transition into womanhood and sexuality.  I was so filled with joy as I experienced this milestone and am thrilled to see her develop into a gorgeous, vibrant young lady.  However, this transition has also brought to the forefront of my mind the fact that I am no longer that.  I am no longer a young lady.  I am a 42 year old woman and say with some trepidation that I actually belong in the category of middle-aged mother.

My initial feelings upon realizing this were that I was old and no longer beautiful.  I had thoughts of being on the downward slope of beauty.  After all, I no longer have the firm, strong abs that I had in my youth, I have stretch marks on my body from weight changes and pregnancy, and my breasts are sagging more and more as the years go by.  I find grey hairs starting to take residence in my once golden blonde, but now dark, sandy, brown/blonde hair and wrinkles developing across my face.  Yes, I no longer exemplify the image of youthful beauty.

Now I know that many women will try to extend their youthful beauty in many ways:  by dying their hair, getting breast implants or plastic surgery, trying many forms of wrinkle creams and makeup, and even wearing push up bras.  I’m going to try a different approach.  I’m going to forego the hair dying, nail painting, extra hours at the gym, wrinkle creams, and designer clothes and attempt to find the real beauty in middle age!

As I ponder my aging image, I find this stage of being a woman is very different from the youthful version, but it’s still really beautiful.  It’s merely a different kind of beauty.  Yes, my breasts are no longer perky, round, and youthful.  They have begun to sag loosely from years of gravity and the breastfeeding of my three children.   But when I stopped to consider this and view it from a different perspective, I found the current state of my breasts, and also my stretch marks, reflect the fact that I have physically carried, birthed, and fed three children – and that is pretty sexy and beautiful if you think about it!

And then there is the graying hair, and the developing wrinkles.  How could these really be beautiful? Well, I found that answer only after removing the ‘youthful beauty’ filter.  The filter that says ‘youthful is good and beautiful, but old is bad and ugly’.  As women in today’s world, we’ve internalized this belief and spend billions of dollars and personal energy trying to maintain our youthful, and therefore  beautiful, appearance.  However, by removing the filter, by letting go of the images of what a beautiful body should look like, the real beauty of middle age becomes apparent and the rest becomes irrelevant.

My husband and I recently paged through many pictures and found that our favorites, the ones we thought were the most beautiful, had nothing to do with the physical, external image of the person.  It had nothing to do with what was being worn, how the hair was styled, or how thin or physically fit the person was.  Our favorites were the ones in which the beautiful, unplanned smile shined forth into the image.  When joy could be seen through the eyes of the person being photographed.

It was in that moment when the words I heard as a child came back to me and the real truth of beauty became apparent.  I heard the cosmic DUH as I realized that real beauty really does come from the inside rather than the outside.

This is the truth of beauty.  For all ages, all body types, all ethnicities, the most beautiful pictures emanate joy.  So when middle age takes us in it’s grasp, wrinkles, gray hair, sagging breasts and all, why don’t we let go of the youthful image of beauty and instead spend our life energy embracing internal joy.  Let’s find the beauty that shines forth from the inside.  Let’s measure our beauty by the number of sparkles in our eyes instead of the numbers on the scale or the numbers of wrinkles on our faces.

I can now make peace with my middle-aged body.  I can confidently say that my middle-aged, feminine beauty comes from knowing that I have nurtured another generation.  It comes from the fact that I have been a woman on the earth long enough for gravity and time to take effect and have gained much understanding, knowledge, and wisdom along the way.  I have come to live my days finding and sharing my joy instead of primping and perfecting and as a result, my middle aged beauty shines into the world, bodily ‘imperfections’ and all.

If you want to be a beautiful middle-aged woman, find your joy…find your passion and let that shine from you into the world!

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