I have always loved this photograph of me and of my wonderful girlfriend, Kasey, back home. A few years ago, I was visiting my folks, in my home town, when my childhood friends decided to have our own reunion.
Looking back on that wonderful evening, I can’t help but remember this book that Kasey was carrying around and reading to the group. The cover is etched in my memory, If…(Questions For The Game of Life).
Inside the book, were questions starting with the word If, prompting the reader to respond to scenerios. As an inquisitive person, I absolutely love books of this sort, where I can share with friends over coffee or dinner. Even my dates, taking part in my getting to know you games.
Over the past month, I have been wondering about all the IFs in my life:
If… I tell the world about my herpes, will people still want to be with me?
If… I leave graduate school, will I look like a quitter?
If… If I nolonger love teaching, could I make a career switch?
If… If I give up on dating, will I ever find someone to love?
If… If I feel FAT and UGLY, is that how others may view me?
If, If, If, If, If, If, If, If, If, If….
I am so damn tired of playing the IF game. It is mentally exhausting!
When did my IFs become so negative? Weren’t our IFs supposed to be filled with possibilities? Even confident individuals have moments of insecurities and weakness. It is with hope, I am writing tonight’s post, to remind you, that we could all flip the switch inside our heads.
Rudyard Kipling, once wrote a beautiful poem, about this very idea. What if you could do anything you set your mind to, be the person you have always wanted to be and have everthing you ever wanted?
Guess what? It’s not only possible, but an absolute truth, if you so choose to reframe your thought patterns.
What if I can be whomever I wanted to be? What if the world was mine for the taking?
“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!”
I must confess, while I was in Bali, my insecurities followed me, like a shadow. Whispering thoughts into my ears, that I was fat, magnifying my self perceived flaws, from stretch marks to back fat.
Forcing myself into a pair of Spanx, to smooth out all the lumps and bumps. Not realizing, while I was squeezing into this restrictive undergarment, I felt smaller about my own body image. Why must be hide? Why must we shrink? Why can’t we just be?
Why do feel compelled to pose in photographs, slightly turned to the left, stomach sucked in, knee pointed out, hand strategically placed on my hip, in order to trick the camera into me looking thin?
Guess what, I am not the only one, just scroll through Facebook. It is the modern woman’s go to pose! I am not a mannaquin.
Why do I feel compelled to filter my face, using a variety of iPhone apps, to hide my imperfections? Why do we have hashtags of #nofilter on Instagram?
Some self loath in silence.
Even though I know this is absolute societal brainwashing bullshit, so I will buy into the unrealistic beauty standards set by an industry that profits from insecutity, I have my moments.
It is interesting, when you call out to the Universe, it answers you back, you just have to be still to hear the message.
After, feeling really down, which is a rarity these days, I decided to go take a yoga class, at the Yoga Barn, in Bali. As I was meditating during my movements, my instructor told the class, “You are perfect as you are.”
It finally hit me, there is NOTHING wrong with me, I am perfectly made by my creator. My only flaw, was the perception that I was not good enough.
Understanding that all I needed to do what change how I viewed myself, has had a domino affect in many areas of my life.
Repeating to myself my new mantra, I am perfect as I am, has been a complete body, mind and spiritual shift. Now my IFs have taken on a new life:
If… I tell the world about my herpes, I am strong, still worthy of love and I am making the world a better place for others with herpes!
If… I leave graduate school, I am confident in my intelligence and proud that I honored my instincts!
If… I nolonger love teaching, I will find ways to fall in love with my profession again!
If… I give up on dating, it will be a fantastic time to grow as a person, until it is my time to meet the right person.
If… If I feel FAT and UGLY, I will remind myself, that is not a loving or rational thought and look at myself self and say I LOVE YOU and I won’t talk bad about someone I love!
Nothing is more liberating than giving negativity the middle finger and telling it to fuck off! My happiness will not be tied to the opinions others have of me.
I know who I am and that is all that matters. I am a human being that has a lot to offer to the world, besides looking like a Photo Shopped Barbie Doll in a men’s magazine.
What IF people stop buying into vanity and embraced their inner beauty? I am not a mannequin, I am a person, with feelings and thoughts.
What IF we all decided to give the middle finger to society, negative thoughts and anything does not serve our souls?
What IF we could just authentically and unapologetically be our true selves?
What IF you give this a shot and see how life will surprise you?
What IF you had three wishes to be granted, what would they be?