No Clue for a Title
I walked into the bathroom and looked in the mirror.
Today, I was quite sure, my rose colored glasses would come off and I would be reminded that I wasn't actually as beautiful as I had been feeling....or even had been seeing in the mirror.
But they didn't, come off I mean.
It was then...I realized with about 90% assurance that perhaps I wasn't wearing rose colored glasses but rather, puke colored glasses and that I finally had taken them off.
Even thinking that, though, is a struggle for me.
It started it my youth.
I grew up tall and lanky. In 2nd grade, my mother cut my hair short, like typical American boy short. I hated it.
I never felt ugly before then but it made me feel so ugly. It didn't help that I was called a boy by strangers because of it.
But my friends, friends that I had been my friends since we started school, didn't see me any different.
Then, when I was 11...the year before I hit puberty...we moved.
We moved to a different state. It was only 1 state over but it felt like a completely different world. Nebraska to Iowa.
I was thrust into a world much more sexualized than my world had ever been before. I went from watching Lion King to MTV in a very short time.
Suddenly my world was tight jeans and flirting to impress boys versus just giggling about boys in between singing Spice Girl songs.
My neighbor became my first "boyfriend" and subsequently my first boyfriend kiss, which was this really awkward moment that I was not ready for (my first experience of non consensual action). The relationship didn't last much longer.
I really don't know what happened in Iowa. I could hear in the hallways all the talk about how this girl or that girl was hot (or hott with two Ts as we spelled it back them) or beautiful. But no one ever said it about me.
My mother was no help. This woman lived her life ensuring that everything was pleasant to other people. She would say things like "you are beautiful but lets put some makeup on you, or lets go buy you some girlier clothes". My father never mentioned anything, instead drank upon arriving home until bed. He wasn't cruel to me or my mother, but was just gone unless it came to working with my brother.
On top of that, when I did have my moments of feeling beautiful, it was crushed by my mother or a counselor (I was in an inpatient program later), telling me that I always acted better than others and that I needed to stop. Now, I realize that it was their OWN damage rising by my belief and love of myself.
Oddly enough, I always had a boyfriend. I think that was how I gauged it. But I was so damaged inside (from many things), that it didn't matter. Goodness, there were so many things I was dealing with back them....and they are coming back as I type this. I am thankful for that.
So I went through my youth having people attracted to me (not always healthy), but never feeling really beautiful.
Cue meeting Oaken. He thought I was the most beautiful woman and we hit it off immediately. I got a hint of what it felt to be beautiful. Notice how its still dependent on someone else.
Off to military training, get married, move every couple years.....
Then something changed.
I still can't remember what exactly happened....perhaps it was when I dove deeper into my plant medicine education...but it was a shift.
I cautiously approached the new feelings, this new perspective. Many of which challenged how I let my inside be shown on the outside.
I didn't want to cause waves with my looks, I wanted to be accepted, and I wanted to dress in ways that were "appropriate as a mother". I still don't know what that last one means but I made sure I was following that impossible standard.
As I changed, I felt a little more free. A little more beautiful...and finally it was not because I was being told by someone else.
Then in January of 2017, I got my dreads.
I went from ensuring that I fit in, in conservative hippie clothes (whatever that means)...to busting out a FULL head of dreadlocks.
There was no way I would blend in now. There was no way that I was being "appropriate for a mother".
And it felt so fucking good.
As the year progressed, what started out as a cautious approach to change became me running up buck ass naked to a public swimming pool and jumping off the diving board spread eagle (figuratively speaking).
And I felt fucking beautiful.
But then....I felt bad about it. I felt bad that I felt beautiful. So I told myself (in my subconscious) that I wasn't. The reflection in the mirror went back to the ugly girl I remembered growing up.
And it stayed that way.
And then I felt like a failure for feeling that way. Like somehow I wasn't able to stick with the affirmations of "I am beautiful" to change my mindset...so I was a failure.
Then came my complex PTSD discovery. While things like that can feel heavy, for me, it was freeing. I now had a reason why I was struggling...which meant I had a way to change it. Complex PTSD is different than PTSD by the exposure. PTSD can come from a single traumatic event, like a IED during a convoy or rape, but complex PTSD is when the exposure is for years. Its a complicated discovery and those with complex PTSD (from evil parents) can also have instances of single traumatic events (like a sexual assault).
Because I don't trust therapists (because of my childhood) and we don't use pharmaceuticals, I knew I would be working with alternative practitioners and techniques on my own. Over the course of the year, I worked with flower essences (from a practitioner and eventually studied to become one myself), Reiki, meditation, and sexual healing (from learning about TRUE consent to sensate focus). I worked intensely on my hormones and diet.
Then, like the apple changing color in The Giver, I would glimpse in the mirror and see a fucking radiant goddess staring back at me. I stood taller. I was happier.
Then, it went away.
Feeling like I failure again, I set my feet in place and went hard.
ALL my skin care products got flower essences mixed in them. I created a new blend of flower essences for my water. I pushed myself into the woods. I danced, I worked on sensate focus with myself (just stage 1).
Sure enough, one day, there she was. Raven. Standing tall in her 5'7" beautiful glory. This time, she stayed.
I struggle, of course, feeling okay with feeling beautiful. I really don't know what it is about our society that tells women that we shouldn't feel beautiful but its pervasive. Perhaps its really just related to the patriarchy...
Strong independent women are called bitches. Women who say they are beautiful, are called vain, narcissistic, or conceited. We are taught (not consciously) that we are not to really accept compliments with a thank you but to brush them off as a lie. Anything that can take the feeling of strength or power away from a women who believes in herself will be said.
So naturally, we cower away from feeling those things.
But my watching this transformation happen, I feel happier. I feel stronger. I feel heard. I feel like a better mom. I feel sexier. I feel powerful. I feel lunar. I feel peace. I feel whole. I feel well.
Because I am.
Blogging and business guidelines tells me that this is where I offer services or products related to this post. After all, many of the techniques I used to help myself....I have now trained in. Not for $$ but because I have seen so much good that I want more people to be able to experience that. But that wasn't the purpose of this post. I do offer Reiki, I do offer flower essence consults....so if you feel like you want to explore that, let me know.