Grace – USA

I’ve been disconnected.

I spent my first 25 (or more) years completely out of touch with myself and my body. I had no confidence, but I can’t really say I had poor self esteem or a poor body image. I had no sense of myself at all, and essentially no awareness of my body.

I wasn’t witnessed by my parents. They didn’t see me because they couldn’t. My mother’s severe depression and insecurity coupled with my father’s continuous anger and clinical narcissism demanded that I fill the role they needed for their apparent well-being. My role was to be perfect and well adjusted, and to focus on them. I needed to ignore and hide all my needs and emotions so that they could function. Since they couldn’t witness me, they weren’t able to reflect back to me the beautiful, imperfect, complete person that I was. I hid, and I lied, and I replaced the truth of my humanity with the appearance that I had a well-rounded grasp of every aspect of my life. Unfortunately, I hid all that I was from myself as well. I was unbelievably disconnected, unable to witness myself internally and completely disassociated from my body.

I grew up in South Florida so there was a lot of skin visible pretty much everywhere. I viewed it as vain and shallow, and while I was completely ignoring my body I was also priding myself on the fact that I was well adjusted enough not to participate in the objectification of women. I knew that societies’ standards of beauty were an unrealistic joke. However, I foolishly thought that even recognizing my body would somehow mimic the shallowness I wanted to avoid. I felt completely separate from my body. I sometimes found myself staring with confusion in a mirror, not really knowing who I was looking at. There was a sadness and longing there that I didn’t recognize as I just told myself that I was evolved enough to know that my real self had nothing to do with my body. Again, I wasn’t witnessing myself as human.

And then I met my husband. He taught me to love by seeing me… loving me… and allowing me the space to commit errors and be the complete, imperfect person that I am. Slowly (very slowly) I’ve learned that I’m human. Yes, my essence (our essence – the essence) is flawless love, but, I am also human. I am imperfect. I have flaws. I make mistakes all the time. I’m selfish and I hurt other people. And that’s amazing. It means I’m alive and I can understand other people. And while I’m alive as this imperfect, beautiful human – I have a body. As I’ve become more aware of myself, and my human nature, I’ve become more aware of my body. My senses are more alive. I see myself as beautiful and sexy, and sometimes as ugly and worn. I notice my physical imperfections and they feel normal. I feel like my body is mine. I’m beginning to see my image, and regardless of my assessment of that image, think “Yes, I am her. That body is me. I am that person.”

I am starting to connect.