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What a goddess looks like

Dear one,

I’m losing beauty privilege. And youth privilege. Some health privilege, too.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m good with it.

I feel radiant and powerful. I look great. I am the most settled in who I am as I have ever been in my life — especially compared to the times in my life when I had more beauty, youth, and health privilege!

In fact, some of the health challenges I deal with today have their roots in a time when I was about 17 years old with restrictive eating habits, punishing exercise routines, and awful self-talk.

At that time, I was seriously underweight, really hard on myself, and lost my menstrual cycle for over a year. 

On the outside I was thrilled. Thin privilege! Beauty privilege! My dance teachers respected me more and pointed me toward professional opportunities. Yay!

On the inside, however, my weakened hormonal system was preparing me for a lifetime of being prone to injuries, low adrenal and thyroid function, and anxiety and depression. My inner tyrant ruled mercilessly.

On the outside, I was close to what I was “supposed” to look like, in order to “deserve” love, respect, and happiness.

On the inside, I felt like shit, hated myself and my body, and was making myself prone to life-long health challenges.

Focusing on my outside made me sick.

Only when I attended to my insides
did I start to get better.

I healed my self-talk. My relationship with myself, my body, my sensuality, and my perceived flaws. My ability to feel hard feelings. My nutrition. My self-trust. 

I reached out to one of my former clients, Carey, a few years after we worked together.

I wanted to know how things were going for her in terms of what we had been working on — feeling comfortable in her own skin, powerful, whole, alive, and in touch with her sensuality.

From the outside, things looked good: her business was growing impressively, she’d met a great guy she’d go on to marry and have a baby with, and instead of dreading her on-stage appearances, she was enjoying them.

Carey told me:

“Let me tell you this story that illustrates just how much I have incorporated my sensual energy into my life and how much I feel at home and powerful in my body.

“A couple of months ago, I was walking through the airport with a little time before my next flight. As I sauntered to my gate, wearing flats and no makeup, about 20 pounds over my normal weight, feeling happy in my skin, I saw a tall, handsome man noticing me, quite, shall we say, appreciatively.

“I wasn’t in the mood to stop and engage, but I gave him a glance to thank him, and internally I said to myself, ‘That’s right. This is what a goddess looks like. Enjoy the view.’”

That’s right.
This is what a goddess looks like.
Enjoy the view.

Carey felt like a goddess, inside and out, and that’s what the handsome stranger saw and appreciated.

Because she — at exactly that age, at precisely that weight, with just that outfit — is what a goddess looks like.

Look, I’m not blind. I live in the same dominant culture you do.

Being perceived as attractive, young, able, etc makes life easier in some respects. It opens doors and opportunities and you will probably get treated better. It sucks, but it’s true.

However, it’s a double-edged sword.

A relentless pursuit of beauty standards and eternal youth makes life harder in a lot of ways as well.

Restrictive eating habits, punishing exercise routines, awful self-talk, toxic “beauty” products and procedures, being treated like an object rather than a whole human, f*ck us up big time.

But I still must midwife
as many women as I can
into their goddessliness.

I mean, COME ON. 

Do we really think that the Universe is so stingy that there is only one prototype for a goddess? No, my fellow goddess!

We live in a world of rich, unfathomable diversity. We need thousands and millions and billions of different versions of the goddess.

We need your unique goddess expression, at exactly your age, at precisely your weight, with your body just as she is.

You are what a goddess looks like.
Enjoy the view.

I know it’s easy to look at a friend and think she’s absolutely bonkers for not noticing her goddessliness. 

And I know that it’s quite another thing to look at yourself with the same kind of goddessly gaze.

Just because dominant culture
teaches us all to look at women
with an absurdly narrow gaze,
doesn’t mean we should be
likewise obedient.

I know it’s hard. It’s hard for me too sometimes. 

But not as hard as it was when I was younger and closer to what dominant culture prescribes a goddess to look like!

If we do not strip
this narrow view of women
of its poison,
who do we expect will?

No, this is ours to do. Yours, mine, ours. One gaze at a time.

From one goddess to another,

Moving you through the dark night & into your one wild precious life

PS: Image by Nina Paley, and her gaze-altering, very funny video, You Gotta Believe

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