beauty · grief · love · recovery · self-care

Savage Beauty

(if you haven’t read it, you may want to glance at
yesterday’s blog for continuity
)

(p.s. I have to say, I love the double meaning of “savage” as the colloquial for totally awesome)
So, guess what? I went back “down” today to find out who
that woman in the other penguin habitat was. Yesterday on my way out, I’d
assumed it was Depression, because of the scene around her.
On the lower left end of the enclosure, a woman stood, her
back to me. She stood on what looked like the dangerous rocky shore near a
nasty storm-driven sea. Above, the sky/wall dripped in large blackness. She
wore a tattered dress, and her hair, too, was wild and matted.
Yesterday, I simply backed away from this woman, partly
because it was time to leave (the drumming on the tape indicates when it’s time
to return), and partly because her anger or darkness scared the shit out of me,
and I wasn’t ready to investigate further.
But, it wasn’t sitting right with me since then that she was
Depression. It just didn’t make sense to me. I thought maybe perhaps she was
Loneliness, but I wasn’t sure; I just knew that whoever she was, she was mad as
hell, and wasn’t going to take kindly to me yet. So, I began to think that
whoever she is, perhaps she herself isn’t a “negative” emotion, maybe she’s
just surrounded by that.
Turns out, my curiosity, despite my fear to explore further,
took me back. I listened to the tape of the shamanic drumming again this morning, and
went to go check it out. And, as you might have guessed from the title, indeed,
she was not Depression – she is Beauty.
I have a lot of mixed … experience when it comes to
honoring, holding, acknowledging, or accepting my own beauty. I am not
surprised at how impersonable she is, or how raging, fuming dark and mad she
is. For me, since the (first set of) braces came off, the contacts replaced
glasses, and I got my first set of make-up near the age of 15, suddenly, I
became visible. The ugly glasses, the frizzy hair, the gawky tall figure, these
started to fade, and suddenly, people – boys – saw me.
I have used my anger at this “suddenness” for quite some
time — why didn’t you see me before? Is this all you want from me? I have had this interpretation reinforced by my own behavior, and by the behavior of
others. I have wielded my beauty as a double-edged sword, slicing those who
acknowledged it, and thus slicing myself.
I didn’t trust anyone to see me for who I was, and because
now all they saw (so I inferred) was my outside, I spent very little effort or
time discovering who I was on the inside. At the formative middle-teen years,
this was a tragic oversight.
It now meant that my beauty was a Siren song. I would lure
you in, and crash you upon the rocks. I didn’t care how you felt, or felt about
me. I wanted you to know that my visage was all you would get, and when we were
both done using it, I was done using you – on to the next.
I know this pattern of mine is not unique, but it has
dictated my behavior and thought for a long time.
When I was outside her exhibit today, I didn’t go in. Her
anger frightened me, and I still don’t know how to hold or approach her/it/my
beauty. Mostly, I hide it. Because of the pain inflicted from self and others
in reaction to how I look, I’ve decided it’s best to turn away from it – to
turn it down. It comes out occasionally, but it is rare.
And surely, there’s not much I can do to “turn it off”
altogether. I am who I am, and p.s. I am grateful for it. I know this is a gift
I’ve unrightly used. However, I can hide it, minimize it, hunch over it, and
protect it, I suppose. Which I have done, for a while now.
A few months back, I wrote about wearing this fabulous new
skirt to class, and later to a party. I wrote that I felt “embarrassed” or
something like it. I suppose, I can see now, I felt that duality of
defensive, and brazen – offensive. I don’t yet know how to just let it be. To
understand that my beauty is not to be wielded at all. It just is.
The lack of humility – of “rightsizedness” – I have around
it. It’s just another aspect of me, like my humor, or my intelligence. Which,
both, I will admit, I do much the same hiding of.
Rather you make your own inferences and be wrong about me,
than to show you who I truly am, and have you judge me.
The problem with the beauty thing is that I was/am
defensive/insecure even when you judge me positively. Because of the trauma that has come as a result of
being an attractive woman, and largely in my development, a drunken attractive
woman, the idea of showing you how I look or can look feels like a dangerous
risk.
After standing outside her “cage” for a little while, and
asking what I should be doing, I remembered a suggested question we can ask
when in meditations like these. How does she feel about you? How do you feel
about her?
I feel mistrusting of her; she feels betrayed by me. Great
relationship, eh?
So, in the end, I left. But I get it. I don’t trust my
beauty because it has brought me physical, mental, and emotional pain. She
feels betrayed by me because I haven’t used her rightly, and have then locked
her up.
She’s mad as hell – and she’s not going to take it anymore.
That said, I believe some kind of reconciliation will need
to happen – an understanding – before we can both move forward. It’s not like,
just let her out. She’s too pissed, and I’m too wary. So, what can I do? I can
slowly begin to shed my hiding. I can slowly, and safely, begin to reintegrate
those items in my wardrobe which make me uncomfortable, and attract attention.
Not like booty shorts, but like “nice” things. Pretty things. Things that make
me feel beautiful. This won’t be a
hurling of myself off a cliff into a different way of being; this will be a
slow dance toward intimacy and trust.
Which sounds like a great way to support myself as I look to
build that with others. 

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