Sunday, 7 September 2014

Love yo' self Day 4

Only I would choose to break away from looking in mirrors while doing a show centred around mirrors.
"Mirror mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?"

Snow White - one of the the oldest and best loved fairy tales of all - one of Disney's first, hundreds of adaptations all over the world. Age 3, life lesson learned: IF YOU LOOK IN A MIRROR AND LIKE WHAT YOU SEE, YOU MUST BE VERY VAIN AND EVIL, LIKE THE WICKED QUEEN.

Wow.

"Don't be vain" crops up time and again in mythology. Self-love, according to the old tales, can only lead to arrogance and delusions of power - both of which are undeniably bad things - but what I do think has happened is that enjoying one's reflection has been damningly tied to very negative character traits.  I know several people who celebrate themselves and their bodies without going around poisoning people they think are prettier than them with spiked fruit. One of our most basic teachings is being challenged here, but it needs to be challenged - because we've ended up with generations of people feeling that enjoying the way they are and liking how they look somehow makes them a bad person.

Life without mirrors so far has been pretty eye-opening and not a little revealing of what really happens in the back of my head when I go to look in the mirror. I'm suddenly very aware, in the moment when I decide to take a look or not, that the reason is I'm going to look for something to criticise. It's a little obsessive-compulsive, in a way. My love for myself is horribly conditional. "If I look like I've lost weight, then I'll love myself. If I look like I've put it on, I'll hate myself." My anxiety has been quite difficult to handle the past couple of days, and I do think it's partly down to the fact that I've taken this huge habit, this excuse to love myself or not, away. I want to love myself no matter what. I want to love myself whether I'm overweight or underweight or in-the-middle, whether I lose a leg or start getting wrinkles or go blind. There shouldn't be any conditions, and there are - that's what needs to change.

The bathroom mirror is conveniently at waist-height, the sly thing, so that one is particularly difficult to ignore (it's obviously a family mirror, so I can't really cover it up) and I keep slipping up there. I will try, if I catch myself looking, to ignore whatever it is I'm thinking and breathe in what I see and accept it with the sense of unconditional acceptance I'm after.  I'm certainly more aware already of how I'm feeling physically - what's achy, am I hungry, am I thirsty, do I need fruit or to eat a big meal - I'm finding it easier to listen to what my body needs, as opposed to what I think it needs.

Until next time, \
P

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