How do I Look?


This is one of those posts that sort of came over me suddenly. I can't explain what is happening lately or what this writing process has become, an "out of body" experience really. Words flow through me, I don't even think - whatever will be is what comes out at the end. At times this process can feel like a release and at others it feels as if I've been drained. I wonder which it will be tonight ... 

For a long while I've felt a shedding of some sort. A shedding of ideas, previous truths, attachments and expectations. Much like my writing this process can either be liberating and feel good, or sometimes its like a bandage getting ripped off and I really feel the after burn. This particular experience wasn't either. I had a set of ideas and thoughts about myself, about my physical appearance that were there one day and seemed to vanish without warning the next. 

I think it must have begun when I lived in Bhutan. I honestly had this idea that I was a "bigger" or "heavier" girl or at least not at an ideal weight. I had spent years trying to get to what I believed was an ideal weight, believing it would make me happier. After moving to Bhutan and living among locals who looked so drastically different, I was naturally always the centre of attention. I'm not saying this because it was something I enjoyed or something that added value to my self worth - but rather was just part of this process. I was constantly told I was beautiful and "oh madam, you are so thin" and "madam, your skin is so beautiful and white". I think perhaps it started slowly breaking apart the years of being bombarded with the opposite through western media. Or maybe it was just seeing how different "beauty ideals" looked around the world, making it clear that they were just created by us and didn't actually mean anything. 

I used to believe that my self worth was based on how I looked on the outside, and that I had to meet certain standards based on society. I used to scrutinise features and plan out ways to change things about my physical body because I believed it would add value to me as a person. I used to worry about numbers on scales or sizes on clothing items, or buying a clothing item that had a label that cost more than its worth. I suppose once I realised all of these things are man made ideas, my belief in their importance vanished. 

Don't get me wrong - I respect my body, I feed it healthy nourishing foods when I can and move it because it feels good, and because I want to have energy to complete tasks that are important to me. But the focus has shifted from what was once an obsession to be "healthy" because I saw it as a means to get to a certain weight, to look like something else. I think this was the biggest eye opening thought for me: I can't help the way I look. Yes, I can choose to be at a healthy weight by eating nourishing foods. But things like having a "big mouth" or "thick legs" are out of my control. I was born this way. Now, I have this feeling, that its amazing that I even exist. That my lungs work and my heart pumps - it is a magnificent existence. Literally a miracle. I never look at a flower or tree or the ocean or animal and think that its ugly. Granted, these things can get sick and look less visually appealing because they are dying but when they are healthy there's never a feeling that it should change. Why do we think this about ourselves? I never look at a tree and think its fat or ugly - why do we do this to ourselves? I guess its the ego coming into play.

I no longer feel the need to look in the mirror or wear "fashionable" clothing. I used to think women who didn't shave were extreme in their beliefs, but recently the realisation has come over me that hair grows everywhere naturally but I've been brainwashed into believing I'm "beautiful" only when I am without hair in certain places. Its almost laughable when you really think about it. I mean, yes, I brush my hair and wash my body and have clean, quality clothing thats going to last a while - but not for others validation, but because it is respecting myself and the earth (I respect the earth and nature by not consuming more than I need - by buying clothing and more than necessary). I do what feels good, simply because it feels better than not feeling good. Its pleasant when I smell clean as opposed to when I haven't washed in a few days. Its that simple. The idea of make up is long gone and even products like cleanser and moisturiser are no longer things that I need to think about or spend time on - my skin no longer needs it. Many things no longer serve their purpose. 

This is by no means a judgement to anyone who chooses to diet or wear make up or do anything - but rather just an insight into my experience. A seed as such to make you question the things we do. I think a lot of the time we do things mindlessly because its what has always been done by the people before us - but really, question every little thing you do to see if it serves you. 

I feel like I can't see outside physical beauty anymore. Or rather, I just see everything as beautiful. The good, the bad, the ugly are all in beautiful harmony. I notice health, like wow that person is radiating energy and life - but I think everyone is a beautiful manifestation. If you choose to label it like that. I don't see race or age or labels any longer really. While I was in South Africa a while ago someone asked me about another person, referencing their race, and I honestly couldn't answer because I didn't know. It came as a shock that I didn't notice this about an other - it didn't define them, or play a part of relevance any longer for me. As I write this, tears are streaming down my face, because it is such a beautiful thing to not have these labels to define others or myself any longer. Even being beautiful or ugly is no longer a factor in my mind. I simply use it as a reference to make understanding easier. 

I think I can explain it like this: I am neither beautiful or ugly, I just am. And so are you. 


PS. This was a release post in the end after all.