I just want to take time today to say thank you to all of the people who have been so nice to me throughout this project! You’ve been so incredibly kind, and thoughtful, and supportive. I feel totally held in love as I do this project, which is so amazing to me. Thank you, and thank you for letting me know that you’ve seen this and been interested. The sweet messages and encouraging words and good vibes have really kept me going when I was second-guessing myself.
I have to say that many apologies have crossed my mind since Day One, but I made up my mind at the outset not to give in to the urge to apologize. I felt very embarrassed foisting my bare belly on the unsuspecting public (of Facebook especially–people I may have to actually see!!) and like I needed to say I was sorry. I decided, though, that constant apologizing is one of the habits of self-judgment and self-consciousness that I wanted to practice breaking. I understand if anyone doesn’t want to look at this–and I respectfully invite them to not look.
On the other hand, I feel like if any one person out there may have been helped by this blog, or may stumble upon it in the future and find that it says something that helps them, I’ll be pleased beyond measure. And from what people around me have said, I think that’s possible.
Ultimately, though, it does have to be for me. Reflecting on my belly in a public venue with words and pictures–it seems a little crazy to me–but also like there’s some magick in it, some alchemy. Being out on a limb is a very spacious feeling. Anything can happen.
What strikes me again is how powerful it is to be confronted with myself in these photos. Sometimes I really recoil, I’ll be honest. I don’t associate this face, this body, with beauty. I wonder, “what’s wrong with me?” And I put it out there anyway, because what I need to resist is the impulse to hide myself from myself, to be in a state of denial, to make my body into a frightening and demonized specter by pushing away from my consciousness something that is so integral to my being as my physical body. Just forcing myself to look shatters my long-held belief that I couldn’t bear to look. I CAN bear it, and I need to, for the sake of my happiness and peace.
This is me laying down in a bunch of flowers that I just couldn’t resist. I wanted to press myself against the ground. Once I was down there in the dirt I could feel my energy being purified by the earth and the leaves. My stomach looks like a yeasty loaf of white bread, but you can see I’m smiling; in fact, I can’t stop.
It reminds me of Whitman on more than one level:
I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
Being in the grass restores me. So does facing my fears. And so does the love of my friends.
Thank you, thank you, and Blessed Be!