What Gaze Do You See Yourself Through?
Have you noticed all the ads about weigh loss? To be honest, I hadn’t- until someone pointed it out to me. And then I got curious- how had I not been noticing? (I’m seeing the ads everywhere now! I even saw one for pet’s last night!)
I thought about it awhile, and… keep reading.
There are mirrors on the way to the bathtub/shower. From either door (the bathroom has two entrances), I pass by a mirror that holds in it a reflection of my body, lower thigh level and up.
Since I’ve lived in this house: I have slowed down to view myself in these mirrors, checking out my “fit-ness”; I have rushed past them, in avoidance; I have paused in front of them, checking out this area, and that area.
This past year I watched myself be more willing to slow down, and to stop to look- to really witness what I was seeing, what I might normally avoid, what I might normally have an aversion to. In particular, witnessing my softness: my rounded belly, my soft breasts, my full ass, my spacious thighs. I have been an athlete since my young years and have often taken pride in my body being angled, hard, flat in some places and muscular in others. This current body of mine is not that body.
Witnessing my softness has come with a variety of responses.
At first, I witnessed the habitual learned dance of trying to alter what I was seeing: pull in / tighten my stomach, pull back my shoulders. As if I could manipulate my body back to a previous self, a previous state. I noticed my breath holding itself as I tried to change my body’s appearance to match what my mind (which has been informed by the dominant oppressive narrative of this culture) told me it should look like, and to what it has looked like in the past. To what I thought the gaze of others would want, have wanted.
Slowly, slowly, my witnessing started to shift. I started to see through eyes that were not laden with the burdens of the oppressive dominant narrative that judges, critiques, and shames. I stopped seeing through an objectifying gaze, of what X person might see, and started to see my own body through my own gaze of curiosity, simpleness, acceptance, “what is-ness.” I started to see my own body through the gaze of Love.
This past year I learned to have satisfaction in my softening body. This year I actually experienced pleasure in letting my gaze linger on my soft belly. I was surprised to hear myself think, “Ohhhh, look at the softness. Look! at how my belly is free to just be just as she is. Look!”
As I gazed, I saw a belly unencumbered by the dominant oppressive narrative- maybe for the first time in my life.
What I have discovered this year, during a time that is laden with capitalistic opportunism, is that loving my own softness, my own curves, my own flesh, my own body’s existence has acted as sort of nullifier of sorts to all the ads that are out right now about weight- has relinquished them powerless, even invisible.
Exploring the oppressive dominant narrative is powerful, and freeing. Way more freeing than weight loss.
Our Exploration is filling… check it out and contact me asap if interested.
To read more about the dominant narrative, do a search on the main blog page under “dominant narrative”.