show your hair

please wait here until you are useful, thank you

My grandmother told me,
“Never hide your green hair –
They can see it anyway.”
Angeles Arrien

There are stories I have told myself for years: That I am not good enough – That I am not worth listening to – That I don’t get it (and everyone else does) – That I am a fraud – I am weird looking – My ankles are too fat and my legs are unshapely – I am not at all glamorous and I hate wearing heels, so I must be a freak – My hair is too fine and not curly enough – I am fat – I am ashamed of my body – of my actions – of my failure to save another because I wasn’t brave enough to speak.

And, for [too] many years the question I most often asked myself was “What is wrong with me?”.
And, for [too] many years I answered it with many things; none of them an answer filled with love, only with more pain.

You are not alone,
wondering who will be convicted of the crime
of insisting you keep loading your grief
into the chamber of your shame.
You are not weak just because your heart feels so heavy.
I have never met a heavy heart
that wasn’t a phone booth with a red cape inside.
Some people will never understand
the kind of superpower it takes
for some people to just walk outside.
Andrea Gibson, (from The Nutritionist)

There were days when the stories I told myself were so damaging that the thought of getting out of bed was too much, let alone getting dressed or taking a walk outside.

Somewhere between my wild, untamed girlhood and now, I lost a very important conversation with myself:

One in which I understood that it’s not the things that happen to me that matter, it’s all the stories I have told myself afterwards – I have punished myself through various means for failing to live up to some perfection that I can’t name or understand.

I’m certain that some of you will agree with me when I say…
… it’s easy to write about how the stories we tell ourselves are important, so to be careful what they are,
… and it’s easy to speak the words,
… but to truly believe them on a cellular level… that is where the magic happens.

I have been too close to the stories to see that they are ONLY stories.

Deepak Chopra, in one of his books, says when we look at our bodies now, they are a physical manifestation of the things we have told ourselves in the past. And, if we want to know what our bodies will look like in the future, we need to examine the stories we tell ourselves now.

I realise, as I read through what I have written above, that trying to hide from the world by over-eating and drinking and ending up in an overweight body was a hilarious plan. How on earth getting bigger equates to hiding is something I now find funny. At the time I made that decision it must have been the best plan I could come up with.

In this realisation, and writing these words, I burst into laughter, then the tears start; I am glad I find my realisation so funny now, and I’m sad to have wasted so much time trying to hide that way.

And I can feel a deep wound begin to heal.

+++

The words of Byron Katie present themselves in my mind frequently. She gently asks

Who would you be without your story?

Who would I be without the story that I’m not good enough,
that I don’t belong here,
that I’m not worth listening to so I might as well keep quiet?

Who would I be if I emerged, every day, from my phone booth wearing my red cape and showing my green hair?

It seems that, despite all of the various punishments and shame, some part of me has the wisdom to look underneath all the bullshit stories I tell myself – the ones made from the pain of past experiences. Somehow some part of me knows that I am not broken…

There is nothing to ‘fix’, nothing to do.
I just have to BE.
That my BEing is enough
and it is beautiful.

Who would you be without your story?

+++

the body stories badgeAs part of her amazing new site & business launch, my friend Sas is sharing an ebook called the body stories.

I was deeply honoured to be invited to share some of my body story, along with many, many others.

Maybe a story contained within it will speak deeply to you, where you are in your body story.

This ebook is her gift to you and you can download it from here

17 thoughts on “show your hair

  1. This is powerful stuff.

    I stopped reading half way through so that I could write down those two beautiful lines:

    I have never met a heavy heart
    that wasn’t a phone booth with a red cape inside.

    Then I kept reading your thoughtful words and was so deeply moved.
    This is the best post I have read in a long long time.

    Thank you. So much. The issues we are facing may be different, but I think that feeling of not being *good enough* is universal. Sadly. I want to stop believing the stories I tell myself.

  2. Ah….yes. A familiar story. Thank you for sharing yours. You are awesome and beautiful. And I hope you’ll come visit us in 2013. x

  3. so beautiful, leonie. this post and its words…you and your heart.
    these are words so many of us need to hear.
    burst forth from that phone booth with red cape flying, with green hair flowing.
    the world needs you.

  4. powerful and beautiful Leonie….as a recoverer from a horrific eating disorder, your words were like dipping into old videotapes of my past. yes I have a story, and only recently I have found the resolve to write about it…I don’t know where it will lead, but it’s a start…Thanks for this…
    much love
    xo

  5. i know these stories and i live them, with a different expression, but i swallow shame and guilt too… may our world begin to change the stories in our cells and each of us remember our magnificence… arohanui <3

  6. Thank you for this beautiful, transparent, courageous post, dear Leonie. I, too, have spent WAAAAAAYYYYY to much time & energy in the not-g00d-enough/shame club. Your post is an inspiration to find my red cape & my green hair and create a new love story to myself and the world!

  7. Love it Leonie – soooo true that you have to get it on a cellular level. We are good enough and we do deserve :-)

    Love Mind Power as well – if you’ve never read it (and used it) I can highly recommend!

    Noticed the other day asking myself the question “what’s wrong with me” and I could actually look at it in surprise and say “where have you been, haven’t seen you in a long while” – and send it back on it’s way again 😀

  8. Thank you for this post, Leonie. It hits the proverbial nail on the head. The conversations we have with ourselves are the most painful shit we will ever hear in our lives.

    My body certainly carries the scars of what I told myself as a result of what happened to me, curious to see how I will change in years to come since I have started (and am getting better) and having good chats with myself about myself.

  9. the litany of shit that i’ve told myself (and believed) is the huge bag of lies i will not impart on my daughter.

    i love you for your honesty and for sharing the beauty and light that is you. xoxoxo

  10. I never know what to write when I read things that hit a cord so deep with me, nothing seems like the right thing to say as you’ve said it all so beautifully, thank you

  11. my heart is bursting with love for you and your ‘green hair’.
    your courage to share this pain out loud is profound.
    your BEing is so beautiful.
    my only wish is for you to cellularise the shit of this knowledge.
    love you xxx

  12. My darling friend. Your words here quench a dry thirst inside of me. I am beginning to apply the same kind of self love in my life. There’s no telling who I could be without my story, but I am willing to find out.
    Sending you love – You are so worthy. xoxoxox

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