If you had a person in your life treating you the way you treat yourself, you would have gotten rid of them a long time ago. Cheri Huber
After 3 days of tears and self-loathing, I'm ready to talk about my recent trip to hell and back. I got my hair cut, felt like dying a thousand deaths, wanted to cancel my trip to NYC because of it, decided to never post a photo of myself again (or at least until I was no longer hideous) and planned to resign myself to staying in the house until I was acceptable enough to be viewed by the public. It was all quite tragic, ridiculous, and very real, but it was not about the hair. It was an all too familiar pattern of self-hatred rearing its ugly head and it was using my new do to fuel the fire.
In reality, my hair looks fine as you can see in the picture above (this was taken a week after it was cut). It's super cute and my loves like it. It suits me better than my previous cut and length and it feels great. What's interesting is that I don't actually have hair issues or attachments. I had my head shaved for years without thinking twice about it. So what the hell was going on? How could a hair cut send me straight into the abyss and into a pile of cookies? Let us explore this, shall we?
"Eating my feelings. They taste like cookies." was the update I wrote as I bawled my eyes out feeling like the ugliest human on the planet. Friends thought the update was fun, but it was actually the truth. I was stuffing my face with cookies as I tried to cope and did not know how else to name my pain. It was so intense yet it wasn't about the hair.
It was that for some reason, cutting off these 5 or so inches and not seeing my waves and therefore not seeing myself in the mirror, triggered an avalanche of feelings from my past. A lifetime spent with people trying to change you and being treated as if there is something inherently wrong with you tends to do that to you. When you are constantly battling to be yourself and trying with all your might to feel good about who that is despite the lies you hear about who you are, anything that doesn't feel like you can be too much to deal with. It makes any type of change difficult to deal with. So I couldn't deal with the hair.
And when you're already tired and energetically maxed out (which I was that day), it makes it even more difficult to see things clearly. It also makes it very easy to fall into old patterns (which I did quite gloriously, unfortunately).
I did not like what I saw in the mirror so I began to self hate. I felt repulsed by myself. I felt unworthy. I started saying very mean things and I treated myself just as my mother had treated me when she did not like how I looked. It is so hard to change those tapes when they were the songs of your life growing up.
I was so inwardly abusive to myself this week which is why it was impossible for me to post things on Facebook during that time. My posts come from a self-loving place and since I was in so much darkness, I did not have the capacity to expose myself. I felt too vulnerable and awful to risk sharing. I cried so much. I was hurting myself but it was my mom's voice and words, not my own. Here I was again. The place I had been most of my life. Not fun.
I remember the day I chose to shave my head for the first of many times. I was pregnant and happy with my new do. I rocked it well. I loved it. But my mom hated it and was disgusted in me. She made me wear a hat around the house because she couldn't stand how I looked. She asked, "What kind of mother does that?" and I told her the truth: that my hairstyle has nothing to do with my ability to parent.
I'm sure we all have similar stories of people who do not understand our choices and make us feel as if we are wrong/bad or less than because of it. That's life. And it's our job to navigate it as best as we can and to remember that we are okay just as we are. We don't need an overhaul. We are good enough no matter what he or she says. It's okay to do things just because you want to. It's okay to fall apart. It's okay to cry. It's okay to not be happy. It's all okay. Because the more often we just be what we are, wounds and all, the more naturally we will align with more of what feels wonderful to our soul.
Yes, it's hard to remember the truth about your being when you're in hell, but even a glimmer of hope can turn you back towards the light of who you really are.
During this week's struggle, I've done much talking with close friends as I've tried to untangle the webs of my past. I've also been trying to say loving things to myself since last night and I woke up saying more loving things to myself to help me get back into my happy place.
People tend to forget that the joy I exude is a deliberate creation. It does not always come easily. It comes from constant inner work, facing my shit when it arises, active self-love, and a daily decision to not believe that I suck. It's natural for me to feel fat, ugly, bad and evil. It takes work for me to feel healthy, beautiful, worthy and good.
And sadly, it doesn't take a whole lot for me to be thrown back into the pits of self-loathing because it feels so familiar there. But when it happens, my job is to figure out what triggered it and find the quickest way to get the hell outta dodge. It's about progress; not perfection.
Over the years, my ability to get up and out of the darkness has improved so much and I don't stay stuck nearly as long as I used to. It used to be weeks, months and years that I would be in hell. Now it's days or just a few hours. And I'm proud of this.
When I wrote, "Feeling so unpretty:( #haircutblues" yesterday as an update, I was not actually speaking of my looks, but of the intense self hatred that I was struggling with the past few days since my haircut. I was drowning in my own despair and was trying desperately to find the light and hoped that maybe if I changed my hair again I could feel good. But it wasn't about the hair; it was a lesson in self love.
Thankfully, today I feel happy. I am at peace with myself once more and I am grateful for the reminder that self-love and self-acceptance is a continual realization and process that I cannot take for granted. It's a moment by moment task; one that rewards me with joy, freedom and inner peace when I am in line with it. Each day provides me with many opportunities to heal the lies within my heart and replace them with the truth about my being.
This week's darkness was showing my that my work is never done. That there are always more dusty corners to be swept out, and that I cannot take a vacation from treating myself well. It is an active state. A precious state. A state that if left unattended for too long, will pop me out of heaven.
Thank you for reading my heart.
Love reading my heart? Please consider leaving a tip. Read more here.