Sunset

Parting is always such sweet sorrow. You have to rely on the good memories, the special moments, and the sentiments that will last you forever. The sunset is complete. Let the cello perform the sadness.

KEEP YOUR PLATE CLEAN: II

In school, we learned math, science, reading, spelling and a few other things that were deemed necessary for graduation. However, I have found that the things that I truly needed to learn were acquired after college through life, well chosen workshops, and conversations with open minded spirits. One thing that I learned was how to keep my plate clean which proved to be an especially valuable lesson given that I am a pisces. We tend to absorb everything that everyone has. This places us at a disadvantage as our own voices are drowned out, we are taken advantage of and are left as gulliable voids. If you know how to clean your plate, such predicaments can be avoided.

My mother purchased a beautiful hand made bikini for me from Jamaica. As I tried it on, I was admiring it. She grimaced, started tapping my stomach, and said, “Don’t you think that your belly is too big to be wearing a bikini?”. I paused for a moment. I am in my mid-thirties. I never enjoyed my body in my twenties and celebrated my body now in the twilight of my massive weight loss and was working out two hours on a daily basis. I DESERVED TO WEAR WHATEVER I WANTED. Instead of blowing up or making a terse remark, I politely responded. “If I do not wear a bikini now, when do you suggest I wear it? My stomach isn’t a problem for me, and I happen to like the way that I look.” That was the end of the conversation. Why? I stood my ground as she served her insecutiy about her weight and placed in in my plate. I did not eat it or accept it. I removed my plate. I have found that such comments have ended many a conversation with her that could have gone another way had I lost my mind.

THE COMMENTS OF NEGATIVITY: I

In their loving zest to sacrifice everything and do the best by their children, mothers often make mistakes that require both parties to seek healing on different levels. Children do not come with a manual but sometimes, life does scream to allow the ebb and flow of the waves to have its way. It is nice to have a vision, hopes, dreams, aspirations, and all of those other wonderful words that come to mind when the future is pictured for a parent. However, the child may have a different view for herself as to what will happen in his or her life. An agreement may not be reached but love and respect must endure and envelope the relationship.

The generation that gave birth to the free spirits, liberated souls, and modern thinkers, did not have the luxury of doing what they wanted or so they thought. They did what was expected: get married, have kids, please your husband. There wasn’t an understanding of living life on your own terms or making yourself a priority. Many of us our now approaching our prime and rock our own grooves; however, there is tension between us and the ones that gave us life. The major tool of conditioning has been the damaging negative comments that ring so very loudly in our ears. Let us start with the touchy subject of our body image and how it affects our mothers.

Bellydance used to be my way of life. There wasn’t a single event on the planet that had a bellydancer in it that I did not know about. I often wore a midrift and long extended pants to class. It was not that long ago when I had an uncomfortable ear full from my mother about the size of my plump stomach.
“You know, your belly was exposed. And it was big…”. The tone that was used to describe my belly made me feel bad. The artform embraces women of all shapes and sizes and I was happy to be what I was. My size was not an issue; however, it was an issue for my mother. I was told that I should not dance in front of people and that bellydance was not helping me lose weight. I found all of this to be quite strange because I started dancing to find out more about other cultures and beliefs. Weight loss was far from my mind. Pilates changed that.

My body changed dramatically. I dropped water, pounds, and energy vampires. People were stopping me in the streets over how amazing my body looked. My mother said, “You have come a long way but you still have a lot of work to do…”. Thank goddess that I learned a long time ago, the hard way, that you have to do things to please yourself. If other people like it, WONDERFUL! If not, then that is not your problem. I was not changing my body for my mother’s approval which meant that her comments did not hold much weight except for the fact that she is my mother. How does one deal with the constant barrage of, you should do this because that is what I did?

HEALING IS A LIFE LONG PROCESS: THE INTRODUCTION

As an adult, there were many times when my body image was questioned and openly judged. I was dressed for a dance class once. My belly was exposed. My mother later told me over the phone about how big it was. Her comment made me feel bad because of the tone that she chose to use. I was healthy and not overweight, but my belly was big. Based on her comment combined with the tone, I understood my big belly to be a problem. It did not change the way that I dressed for dance class, but I did make certain that she never saw my exposed belly again. When I did begin to lose a lot of weight, that still was not enough. “You have lost a lot of weight, but you still have a long way to go…”. My response was that I was happy that I was losing weight for myself and not for her. Last summer, she purchased a bikini for me to wear. It was beautiful. I immediately tried it on. She started tapping my stomach and said, “Don’t you think that you should lose more weight before you wear this?”. Instead of telling her that I normally grace the beach topless, I instead chose to tell her that if I do not enjoy my body now, when am I going to enjoy it? Furthermore, I was happy with the bikini and the way that it looked. Because I did not appear the way that she thought I should look, I was deemed inappropriate and not fit to wear something skimpy in spite of the fact that I was in the best shape of my life. It took a long time for me to learn to politely avoid the insecurities of others including family members.

Such things have been on my mind since there seems to be an issue with free spirited daughters and mothers that do not understand them. Bouts of tension often lead to volatile situations and constant misunderstandings. There is no middle ground in that the mother thinks that her child should be just like her or at least normal according to the picture that she has in her head. However, what is considered normal? Whom is in charge of setting those rules? You are called plastic for not sharing the same beliefs or loose for being unwed with a child. Perhaps you lifestyle is questioned and scrutinized on a daily basis leading to further turmoil. How does a girl cope with it all?

A strong foundation is key in such a situation. You must understand yourself first and foremost. One would think that the one that gave birth to you would have a better understanding of you but all too often, the level of comprehension is poor. Understand that you must live your life for you on your terms.
You do not have to justify anything to anyone. If it is something that you consider private, then do not feel guilty about keeping it that way. The aspects of your life do not have to be the side dish at the family dinner table. You do not have to be subjected to misguided comments that make you feel bad. You can address the issue directly, or respond with something positive. Take the statement and turn it around into something joyful.

You are something divine and powerful. You are made in the likeness of the creator and nothing can harm you without your permission. Think highly of yourself and always try to be positive. Along this journey that is called life, there will be many trials and tribulations. The way you handle them will be your lasting legacy.