Realizing the Divinity of My Body.
When I looked in the mirror, I cried. I cried because I know that one day I will have to say goodbye to this body.
After all of the hardships of my earlier years as a human, as a female here in our culture of the United States, I have finally come to really love my body.
My body has lived through having an eating disorder in high school in desperate hopes to look like those who were popular and successful, or at least those who got boyfriends.
My body has lived through alcohol, drugs, and close friends dying from overdoses from less than what I had done to myself. In my confusion, in my fight, in my fear, and then finally in my flight for life, my body remained here for me.
In my struggles for money, on the stages of topless bars, I showed this body bare for men who would pay money to see it. I danced and twirled and after a few years, I actually began to like my body. At times, I couldn’t believe this beautiful sultry body was mine in the mirror. This was the beginning of my entrance into freedom.,
The same years that I stripped and used illegal substances, and only came out at night, were also the years I took for deep exploration. I explored more than I ever would or could as a good citizen with a real job, good reputation and status in the world. I was in the unseen underworld because I was a person who was supposed to be ashamed of herself.
I explored deeply within myself into places I would have missed had I not had all the private time. That is a byproduct of being a junkie. It was here that I became a writer.
In my freedom, my mind and spirit drifted upon many topics considered to be too taboo to openly talk about. I ventured farther within the spiritual realm, farther in myself. It was here that I felt real solidity for the first time in myself. I found my voice, though she was hidden and quiet, and I knew she would have to be quiet and hidden for much longer. I was okay with this.
Back then, I was so happy to find me that I didn’t care if I had to hide out my entire life as long as I had my real thoughts, my real passions, my authentic realizations, and my zesty explorations.
From my place of happiness, I became less interested in how I looked, and more interested in my growing desires that came along with the unveiling of my spirit. I wanted to continue to thrive instead of simply survive. This led to becoming more aware of foods that made my body feel more alive. I felt high on life and needed less alcohol and drugs, and I enjoyed the workout I got through dancing at the topless bar.
I noticed that I began to truly enjoy the unique art of my dancing. I observed myself in the mirrors of the topless bar, and observed the effect I had on those watching. Suddenly they were really entranced by me. Before, I was just another girl on stage. I experienced my fierce essence coming through me out into life. I moved like a snake.
I witnessed what I know now to be the ancient feminine power within me coming out as signature movements, my nature. It was raw, real, sensual. It was me. I believe I claimed a stake for myself here. It was an initiation ceremony for my presence in the world, stemming from the power of my body and its publicly displayed alignment with my spirit. I didn’t look like I was merely hanging on in life anymore.
By the mastery of my body movements along with my new confidence, I looked like I owned life. I was growing more beautiful as I was becoming more myself.
At home, I was stunned by the image of my body in my full-length mirror. I couldn’t believe this was the same girl who was ashamed of her body, who never looked at it if she didn’t have to because it wasn’t as thin as society said girls should be in order to be correct.
I felt such gratitude and experienced such great splendor in fathoming over my heartbeat, my body cells, everything that has reacted so favorably to my rising spirit. I felt alive for the first time in my life. I had freed myself!
Then, this body went on later in years through two pregnancies and the delivery of two beautiful sons. My pregnancies were 10 years, and two deaths of significant others, apart.
After my first son, 17 years ago, my main concern was rushing to lose the weight. Though I had grown to love myself, I still kept the basic belief inside that being thin yielded power in the world, and being overweight meant that I would not have much of a chance to survive. I knew that I felt more powerful when I was thin because I had more body confidence too.
But this was only because I still believed what the world told me as a young woman. I still did not know that I could love myself even though I did not look like what society considered to be hot or sexy.
It was after my second child, 10 years later, the first time as a married woman, and the first time as a person who could stand in line at a drugstore in front of a police officer and not feel terrified, that I accepted myself on a new level. I still exercised every day and challenged myself, but did not push super hard.
I ate healthy foods, watching portion control to lose the baby weight, but this time the return to hot-body status was not nearly as important to me as it had been after my first pregnancy. I lost the weight to get my life energy back. I lost whatever weight would come off of me naturally by way of doing respectful things for my body to be healthier and for me to feel good again.
I wanted to feel comfortable and at ease when I moved, instead of dizzy and weighted down. What I looked like to anyone else was not a concern. I did not starve myself. I did not own scales.
I’ve continued to love my body. I am amazed at the miracle of it, of myself, and of my body’s and my resiliency and strength! I am blessed to live in a society where I am free to give my time and energy to what I want. I found, in this new age of rising feminine power, groups of women who support one another to continue to accept and learn to love ourselves as we are.
I am a Warrior Goddess! I have many Warrior Goddess sisters! The fire in my soul fuels me to continue the support and education of women, and help them remember their real power, their ancient birthright. I work to uncover this savior, this greatest and most forgotten treasure, one woman at a time. I write. I do workshops sometimes. Mostly I simply am the light of the truth.
Now, years later, in my forties, I am becoming a Yoga instructor because Yoga has been instrumental in my staying connected with myself. I’ve seen how reclaiming my life each time is more about mind, body, spirit, life energy flow, and the desire to live a long and fulfilling life. I also love to build my fire inside with Inferno Hot Pilates, as well as running, hiking, and dancing. Exercise makes me feel more alive.
The need to be thin to survive is gone, along with many other cruel and unfortunately common beliefs held by too many young women right here in our society.
Though times have changed for the better since I was a teen, I know that the basic belief is still there that hammers into the minds of girls desperate to find their ways the way I was. The belief that if they are thin, and if they look the way others say is sexy, then they will have success, and if they don’t, they will have to settle for some lesser life in some scary-feeling dark mystery tunnel we call the future.
It looks pretty bleak to them. So, they go the other route, quickly. That bleak mystery place in the future is where everyone that she trusts says she ought to go, to school to major in something even though she doesn’t have a true clue of what she wants to do yet. She is told that just some job where she can get her foot in the door will be the best that she can do.
She is told that if she is smart, she will spend all her time under someone else’s management trying to please them, trying to move her way up, and exploring ideas of the ones who have become successful. She is never shown or told that if she spends her time exploring herself, then she will find what she needs to do. She is never told that her own ideas could ever be valid.
She is shown that some simple and mundane life, doing what others say she she should do, will be best. She is told not to rock the boat, to hide anything that appears to be different from others, especially others who run the show. She is treated like she is not nearly old enough to be able to trust herself.
She is told that her natural urges, and her anger, are just part of a fantasy that young women who are a bit troubled possess, and that when she gets older, things will be better because those crazy ideas will have died. She is trained not to believe her feelings or thoughts, but to ignore them.
She is told to look the other way if she catches a woman enjoying herself sexually on TV or somewhere, or at least chalk it up to fiction. She is told that personal sexual fulfillment is not a reality. She is told that life will be too full of work to concentrate on anything as selfish as her personal enjoyment.
She is told that only those kind of women out there living carelessly on death’s edge would be seen or known as sexually liberated. She catches the false truth that she should be non-sexual to be considered a decent girl.
She is shown that decent girls are the only ones who truly have a chance of making it in the world, and that any other kind of woman will soon be rejected by the people who run the world, who will give her her jobs, her opportunities, and the men who may want to marry her.
She is told that it will always be better to follow rules and leaders of the packs, and that this would be the only way to ensure proper and safe standing in the world, be accepted, and yes, survive.
I made it out to freedom through all of this and more. This body of mine has been through war! She is here still running, heart pumping, being an amazingly loyal, beautiful, instrument through which my spirit thrives nicely within these days. She gives me increased pleasure all the time. Because I honor her, and listen to her needs, she honors me by being the best operating, best feeling body ever. She looks amazing.
She loves the exercise, nutrition, rest, love, and trust that I finally give her. She yields to me this house that I live in, that I carry myself through life within, the precisely right one for me. I’m in love with her, and would never wish her to be anything other than what she is now.
Now when I look in the mirror, I see me smiling ear to ear. I have spiritual exploration time with myself, exploring how much fun and how much pleasure I can have, and I don’t disappoint! I am at home in my body, and at 43 years old, I feel like I found her in my prime because I feel absolutely incredible compared to the way I felt in my twenties. How fortunate can one be? I’m living it!
A few weeks ago, I had an emotional experience with my body. I feel like I’ve reached a milestone in life, and the marker I felt in my soul was sweeter than honey. I will never forget.
After a run on the beach, a surrendering dip in the ocean, and a mind deep in fascinating discovery from a great book, I rested. My body, mind, and spirit content and happy, I decided to pack it up for the evening. I walked into my bedroom in my vacation rental condo and saw myself in the floor-length mirror.
I observed my vitality, the peacefulness in my eyes, my well-conditioned self-decidedly tattooed body, and how well my bathing suit fit this glorious 145 pound, 5’2″ body. The glow from my happiness and strong life force made me look twinkly with magic all over with the energy of freedom. I cried. I cried because I know that I am my spirit, and that one day I will have to leave.
I will have to say goodbye to this body that I love so much, and that I’ve found freedom within in this lifetime. I cry with gratitude for where I am now. I cry remembering the journey it took to get here. I cry because I am so beautiful. I cry because I realize that I am divine here and now in this body, and this is the only time that I will have this life in this body right here, right now.
Here and now is where I will remain until the inevitable goodbye.
Leahanne Woods Smith was raised in Mooresville, NC, where she still lives. She has been a caretaker for the elderly for 16 years. She is a mom of two beautiful sons. She is a thriver in life by way of increasing her life force energy through exercise and unconditional self-love. She puts life into the world with her writings and just by being herself in the world as much as possible.