With pretty much everything I do, I ask what the lesson is, how does it relate to my wellness, or bring harmony to the proverbial wheel of life. The Wellness Wheel is the wheel of life, how we choose to interact with all the different aspects, what risks we’re willing to take, which values we engage from.
I had a friend ask me why I had to keep digging up my past and essentially torture myself with painful memories, why couldn’t I just let it go and go on living? I couldn’t believe I was being asked that.
What is life if you’re not engaged in introspection? I’ve been given this life and this body and this mind to be able to reflect and gain perspective, and to heal not only my wounds but the generational wounds that have been passed down to me and through me to my own kids.
This isn’t some self-victimization. This is my responsibility to the life I’ve been given. And I will ask it every day, what is the lesson, the experience, the opportunity to give my soul the human experience it came into being to have.
This series is a personal reflection that doesn’t fit neatly into one slice of the Wellness Wheel, but in many. I touch on breath, meaning, sensing/feeling, and self-responsibility and love. As you read these, I ask that you reflect on your own experiences. How do you relate? What curiosity is coming to mind? How do you explore yourself in similar and different ways?
Share with me your own reflections. I want to know your journey and share in the experience of looking at yourself, bare and in the flesh with no filter.
I’m one of those people who has a knack for a lot of things without trying too hard, and contrarily a deeply rooted sense of insecurity. It never mattered how good I was at something; the wind would blow a negative comment my way and I’d shatter.
As a child, I don’t remember exactly when, but I learned that my value in this world was based either in knowledge and “goodness”, or through the sexual objectification of my body.
I learned to push down the curiosities, the fire; and that the lusciousness of living were “devilish” desires.
When those winds of criticism blew, I would default to what I learned was the easiest way to be accepted. Detaching from the body is simple, to identify “me” as my body instead of my soul, which as a child I identified as my mind and heart.
Shakti Gawain says, “Every time you don’t follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness.”
That inner guidance was shamed for existing until I got sick enough that I realized I was living for all the wrong reasons.
I was almost 40 years old and the doctor looked at me and said, “I see it all the time. Women your age feeling terrible and all the tests come back with high normals. You’re on the verge of something and just one accident or challenge will send you over the brink.”
I went on my way and turned my life upside down. It was literally killing me, and I didn’t have the tools to sort it out. A “nuclear bomb,” as my ex-husband put it, to my life.
Choices from this kind of place aren’t always pretty. The “lessons” tend to get bigger than if you simply sort them out where you are. Life has the ability to make it as obvious as possible.
I judge myself for not listening to that inner voice that told me to be alone. Be with the pain, the grief, the seemingly unending tears. “Find music, find art, find a way to dance and play and rediscover joy,” the voice would say in the quiet of the morning.
It has been a long road to heal the emotional wounds enough to start listening again. At this point, I hear her whispering more often.
It was about seven months ago that I looked more deeply at the boudoir photographer’s website that I follow on Facebook. Her work is so beautiful. These women are gorgeous. Confidence pours out of the pictures.
I wanted that confidence.
She had an application to be a model for new props, and as I do sometimes, I went for it.
We scheduled three months out. Yes, Bronwyn is that good.
I promised myself that I would diet and exercise. I would do everything I knew to get that perfect body to be photographed in this way.
I have no excuse other than the voice telling me, “You’re beautiful. Round, soft, Mom-bod, and all.”
2020 was the promised land of wireless-bras or no bra at all. A time for the comfiest clothes possible.
I had to go shopping for lingerie. Lingerie that would fit this soft body.
I’m a 38DDD and there aren’t many pieces of lingerie that fit and convey the modern idea of what is sensual. Body positivity isn’t a norm for a trillion-dollar industry that wants you to feel like you always need to be better.
The search commenced.
Riiippppp! Yup. There went the seam as I moved. Glad I didn’t bend over.
Snap! And there went the strings holding the front of a teddy together, right in my face. (I actually wish I got that one on video. I was giggling with shock as the image of a superhero who’s breasts are her superpower blasted my brain.)
Feeling defeated, I began questioning why I was doing this.
I have very much chosen to be single. It’s not for some man. Or woman, to be honest.
Aren’t I just digging into the old belief that to be valued I need to objectify my body??
Is boudoir an objectification of one’s body?
This is a careful edge to play on. It can be confidence and it can be objectification. It’s all in how you choose to approach it.
How am I approaching it? It’s time to heal these fears and outdated beliefs.
On a call with a friend, I shared my fears with her. She is the embodiment of a goddess. She’s curvy, real, fearless, flowing. Her words impacted me.
Just because we’ve been taught that lace and silk, push-up bras, and boned corsets are vanities screaming to be paid attention to, doesn’t mean that I need to identify with that.
I challenged myself to get out of the brain of a massage therapist or the traumatized brain from my youth. I’m not touching to heal or to feel the tissue. I’m touching to feel touch to be open to curiosity and exploration. Touch of the past has been the application of an emotionally neutral technique on a massage table, a quick way to pleasure a partner, or something un-holy if applied by me, for me, for pleasure.
The only healthy touch I really knew in my heart was holding my babies or the hug of a friend. It was time to grow beyond those.
What does it feel like to have lace or silk on my skin?
What does it feel like to feel satin ties tracing down my back, the air on my bare shoulders?
I went out and got linen sheets. Wow. That’s a whole different blog post, but it’s important because I learned a new layer of sensation that wasn’t sexualized or “shameful.” I was beginning to replace the beliefs I was taught.
I recently learned a new way to phrase the thoughts that reinforce my beliefs. Now, every day I read to myself the following sentence:
“When I look at my reflection, I feel awe because my amazing body carries the celebrations and scars of life wholly, and for that I’m grateful.”
I’m carrying that into my boudoir session.
I’m getting out all of the pieces I got months ago for the session that ended up having to be rescheduled. (Yes, #2020strikesagain). Trying them on again makes me nervous.
I’ll tell you how that goes in the next post. I might get that video going just in case we all need a fit of giggles to dispel the creeping insecurities.
Emily Kamala, MA, RMT, CHWC is a Freelance Copywriter and Wellness Coach with over 20 years in the Wellness Industry. Drawing from her practitioner experiences, she’s able to coach you into the heart of your life and business and put it into words that compel and connect to your audience. Her coaching has been called “heartfelt and fully present, empowering one to see themselves.” Visit her website at www.ConsciousLivingLLC.com for more examples of how you can work together. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram