Discover more from Oh My Heart
courage tucked in
good news inside you
For many years I worked with a photographer who made me feel like a professional model with the lens of artistic excellence I desired. Often in photo shoots, when I was fussing with how much of my lumps and bumps were exposed, this feisty photographer would shush me, indicating the magic 10% tuck, the trickery of photo editing - photoshop would make it all disappear. I believed this was standard practice, and secretly I might have enjoyed it. The ease of the special offer prompted my desire to keep doing this thing, even when it felt off. I was paying for it, and the "little extra" was a bonus. Right?
Only this year, I learned that this 10 % tuck procedure is not standard. For a decade, I showed up in pictures altered by the discrepancy of a bystander filtered through their lens. That was not true and not mine. It was easy to hand over my autonomy; even more infuriating, I believed lies and lying to myself. Throughout my life, there have been many ways my body experienced abuse, and I abused myself. But I did not consent to have photographs chopped up by photoshop, nor did I question it because questioning my motivation and understanding only barely stronger than my doubts about it were.
Sharing the raw, transparent, relatable stories of my life happens because of the phantom life that existed before I became the person I am now. I used to live a life where I agonized about keeping my body and personality tucked in. I wanted to ensure I was the most acceptable version of what a person could be. We live in a standardized world that wants us to make others more comfortable. I no longer wish to be the photoshopped version of myself. If I want it to be otherwise, I cannot be this without that somebody I was while I was becoming more me. I have worked on the complex stories that make me who I am today.
Healing cPTSD I realized that my life was a ghost ship I didn't board by choice or chance. We think we know what makes us insecure—our appearance, success —but it's something more. Writing gave me a new way to embrace and find the courage to be who I am. I can now embody all the negative traits I feared someone would see in me, so I don't have to spend much time and energy hiding them.
Thank you, dear reader, for your generosity in showing up and reading every week.
I no longer internally fret about showing myself and my body from any angle. It feels like an aching limb growing out of my heart and gloriously free. Smash the ♥️ if you feel it too.
We get to make it up to ourselves, so let's celebrate the beauty of what stories we want to live and love, then share the bejeezus out of it.
Join me! Share how you celebrate the beauty of what is in the comments below.
This past month I dove deep and started a winter journey of reading. Let's say it's called My Heaviest Book Club.
Here is the list:
Educated by Tara Westover Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties.
What My Bones Know by Stephanie Foo A searing memoir of reckoning and healing by acclaimed journalist Stephanie Foo, investigating the little-understood science behind complex PTSD and how it has shaped her life.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston(1937), Janie Crawford sets out to be her own person—no mean feat for a black woman in the '30s. Janie's quest for identity takes her through three marriages and into a journey back to her roots. Zora Neale Hurston gives detailed accounts of African American life in the South.
Sex Cult Nun by Faith Jones, Educated meets The Vow in this story of liberation and self-empowerment—an inspiring and crazier-than-fiction memoir of growing up in and breaking free from the Children of God, an oppressive, extremist religious cult.
Requeening: Poems by Amanda Moore, Beyond the productivity and excess, the sweetness and sting, Requeening brings together poems of motherhood and daughterhood, an evolving relationship of care and tending, responsibility and joy, dependence and deep love.
(Reviews and links provided by Goodreads)
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