Explorations of mind, paths, and life

What does your heart look like?

Posted on January 17, 2016 - Filed Under self reflect


As I am piling my almost non-existent hair into micro-pigtails so that I can feel somewhat comfortable with the mess that I frequently “label” my head, I began to reflect on what it is exactly that I am doing to myself each time I allow the series of thoughts about my beauty-worth into my mind. The last few days have been a cacophony of experiences, of things I have done, and I rolled through what they contributed or didn’t to my presence here.

Between jumping on board for a dear friend in a small health crisis, and finding someones credit card on the walkway of the post office where I promptly went out of my way to return it to the bank in which she was a member… I am a morally aware, caring, and conscionable person. I walk this planet with a loving gentle heart, making an effort to stay aware of my quick judgements and reactions to things I find particularly unpleasant. I carry a certain level of safety for those who know and love me, because I know and love them easily, without demand or expectation that they be anything but themselves.

Yet, here I am at a 5:15am, running to find an anti-nausea remedy for my recovering friend, and I pass by my neighbor, who 1) I haven’t seen in weeks, 2) offered a few dates in the past, 3) I am usually and almost instantly regarded first for my “sexiness,” before my actual “person.” Greeting him with a smile, I found myself immediately apologizing for my appearance. I am still in Pajamas, no makeup (but not really unusual,) messy hair, and clearly puffy with both lack of sleep and disheveled spirit. He smiles back, and tosses a sheepish remark, “You are always sexy to me, baby.” I drive off, refocusing on my goal.

What exactly was my garbled apology for? With him no less? Why do I value HIS perspective above my own? I’ve thought about rejoining match.com and just laying out there, “Beautifully spirited woman, intelligent, stable, losing her hair, not wearing a 20-year-old’s body, but a clumsily fit 46-year-olds. Seeking a similar measure of a self-loving human.” This very neighbor, nearly 10 weeks ago, shared his frustration at meeting a delightful woman, who he REJECTED because she was “larger” than him; because she didn’t bother to post, for his shopping pleasure, the true vision of herself between the breasts and the knees. Because that was dishonestly false advertising. Because he needed to feel like “a man” with her, and satisfy that itch to be the more powerful human. (Do you see me shaking my head? IS THERE ANY HOPE?) And here I am making excuses for being a $!@?#&! human being in his presence; tired, scared, determined, messy headed, and a bit emotional from lack of sleep.

Yet, when I see my smiling face among friends, when I hug them and tenderly kiss their cheeks and tell them how grateful I am for their very lives on this planet, I don’t think my self-degradation is of any help to me, or anyone else. When I am reminded of the beauty I see in them, it isn’t on their faces, or among the highlights of their thick hair, but instead in the hearts that radiate out to me who they are. I have toyed, time and time again, of just cutting it all off, but I shudder in fear. I agonize every time I see someone look at the top of my head instead of into my eyes when they address me. I weep for the fine little threads that fill my bathtub and sink every morning. I keep thinking that my worth is in what the world sees of me, instead of what I know to be my heart. I have been well conditioned to worry about my flaws and fantasize that if I had the money to throw away, I would fix all of them. But, is that what the people who love me REALLY see? They tenderly touch my hand and smile and remind me I am loved, it doesn’t matter, not one bit.

I have stayed away from the media for so many reasons. The depth of “programming” creates such emotional violence in our society. It wages a war not only among people, but within ourselves, as we gauge whether we fit the social constructs and societal norms. Between beauty and body image, mental health, religious perspective, political views, culture. I agonize at the generalizations and hatred that people create by failing to see how deeply human we are, that we carry our own burdens, that we love and agonize over our dying family, our broken hearts, our struggle to survive, our own thoughts of self worth. And I give rise to an apology about how I look!? I stand in front of the mirror and bemoan my baby-fine, and thinning hair, when there is so much more to me than that.

This topic, spreads broad for me, and isn’t just isolated by my hairlessness. It started very young in having to meet some expectation of beauty to satiate another’s sense of worthiness. It started in being told what I should look like, how I should walk and hold myself, what I should wear. It started with elders preening at my ear and telling me what I should be to them. It started with simple messages about the shame I should have for my body, my self-love, my desire to just be the spirit that was born into this world. I was incensed by an app that prompts a child to ensure a princess was beautiful by shaving her legs and covering her pimples and moles with makeup. I loathe the remarks I hear and see about my purpose in a man’s life, or when they begin to assert power over me when my intelligence becomes a threat.

What I say to men and women, girls and boys and everyone in between, however they identify, you are remarkably beautiful. What does your heart look like? Gauge your self on what that puts in the world above all else, then be in the world just as you most love to be. I still tumble the idea of cutting my hair off, more as an exercise in self-love and acceptance. My fear hasn’t yet let go. However, if you do find me completely hairless because mother nature made it that way, know that I am not the labels this world sets upon me, and it is a difficult thing for me to let go of the subtle voice of society beyond my own tender voice of self love. I am learning, as I hope you are too.

You are Beautiful!


One Response to “What does your heart look like?”

  1. Helen on January 18th, 2016 6:03 pm

    A beautiful, touching and profound reflection. Thank you.