At forty-one and hovering at my heaviest, I took my shirt off in an exercise class for the first time the other day. I think I'd always been waiting for some level of thinness or abs or permission before I did that, but I was feeling strong and more fully me that day in my head, so I thought why the fuck not. Also, hot yoga is 102 degrees and clothing feels like additional punishment, AND there was a woman very much taller and more sausage-shaped than myself in just her sports bras and shorts, not giving two fucks about anything past her mat, so I thanked her silently for the blessing and flung my t-shirt at the wall. I've always left my shirt on because I feared offending people with my too muchness or not enoughness or immodesty or whatnot. I'm learning that the rules might actually just be shame, and shame can be ignored.
Fear of not being right enough and of failing some mysterious someone has also interfered with my work as an writer. I sit and stew over pitching editors, I re-read social media posts, pieces, and emails forty times before hitting send, not so much for typos (I still fucking miss those guys) but because I'm not sure I'm allowed to be saying what I'm saying, or asking for what I'm asking. I worry that I'm not the authority or I have no right...even if I'm just writing about my life and my perceptions. It's like I'm looking for someone to guide me, to grant me permission to be me and to live my life and express myself through my art. Eck. Over it. Lately I've been forcing myself to JUST HIT SEND. I am what I am, I have what I have, I can do what I can do, and my fear of imperfection and rejection is not going to stop me from trying. I want to be me without the editorial voice making it so much harde to live in my sweaty skin, to communicate my words to people, to be me. I want to be confident in who I am enough to be free to BE me. It's a work in progress, and I'm learning that the less I self-loath and fear being imperfect, the more gracious I am to others- as I love me, I love my people more easily.
So, here's to throwing shirts and fears to the wind and letting our entire sloppy, satisfying selves just be. Alone and together. Cheers!