An Overly Small Shirt and Creating a Space for Peace

This is my second blog post on my new site, and I've really been wrestling with the subject  and whether to write about it or not. It's very personal to me. I even feel a little anxious writing about it. AND I feel strongly that if I'm going to put myself out there as a musician, a songwriter, and make worthwhile music I MUST be authentic and be myself. This blog may set the tone for the rest of my career and even my life. So here it goes . . .
A few days back I posted a pic of myself wearing a Barnaby Bright shirt. It was a hot day; a t-shirt kind of day. I was looking through my shirts, and I saw my Barnaby Bright shirt and thought, "I'm gonna wear this shirt and post a picture of me in it online." The thing is, though, the shirt is WAY too small. It's a small. It may even be a female small. But I got it during one of their  shows at Rockwood when they threw out a free shirt. The guys behind us were being really loud, and it was not the ideal show experience. So, I thought of the shirt as a hard won trophy for being a dedicated fan of the band! So I wanted to share it with everyone the proud fan that I was. Seriously, if you don't do anything else, go and check out their music: BarnabyBright. You'll thank me. I promise you.
Well, when I posted this picture I got some comments that touched a nerve. I since deleted the posts all over the internet for a number of reasons: I wasn't liking the comments, I wasn't feeling very good about myself, and I really didn't know how to handle the situation any other way. The people that commented are my friends and some of them very good friends. I don't think they were trying to be malicious or "hating" on me. I think they were just poking fun. But I started to hate my body type all over again. It was like being in junior high, high school, college . . . alright, there hasn't been a lot of times I've thought about my body in a positive light. I've never thought of myself as attractive or handsome. I've often felt too skinny, but then been upset when the only weight I might gain would be my gut and the surrounding spaces. I have worked out before and never really saw a change. Maybe, I didn't work out hard enough. Always a possibility. (Note to self to write a blog on procrastinating and failing to follow through) But I think the issue goes deeper than that. It's feeling ugly. It's feeling unattractive. It's feeling undesirable. It's the belief that deep down you're not good enough; that you're not wanted.
Now, I recognize that people will say things like, "Looks aren't everything," "You have so many things to offer people that they will find attractive," "You shouldn't let people get to you like that," "You have a wife and she loves you and thinks of you as attractive and desirable." (that one is true, so thanks, Love!) Yes, I know these things. I also know that if I said that to some of my friends, they'd want to shoot my face off. :-P
The point is that we desire beauty and want ourselves to be thought of as beautiful and desirable. I could go to the gym again, start buying the protein shakes, give it a second try (or fourth . . . fifth . . . who's counting). That's fine. There's nothing wrong with that. The question is, will I ever reach a point where I say, "Yes! Now I can love my body, and I feel good about how I look."
I read this great blog post entitled, "The 'After' Myth." In it, the author, Lisa Durant, described how she had reached her After and yet, was still struggling to "REcover" herself and "DIscover" herself. "I could not bear to post here about the beautiful things one can gain in life by learning to love yourself while, in the background, hating myself so hard while the weight melted off. Progressing on the outside while regressing internally." I'm not actively trying to gain or lose weight right now. But I could SO relate to the journey and struggle this woman was having. How many times have I looked at the mirror, at my own face, and hated what I see?
If you've come this far in reading, I wish I could say that I'm going to have a snappy conclusion, a sudden epiphany, an insightful paragraph that will bring home how to get past this sense of "being ugly." Unfortunately, I don't have a snappy conclusion. I'm still on the journey myself. I think it starts by trying to talk about it; bringing it out into the open. I also know there's a lot of baggage that needs to be sorted through and unloaded in order to start ridding myself of these many mistaken beliefs about myself. I can do that on my own time and not necessarily have to hash it out with everyone here.
BUT (and this is a big but!) I'm committed to creating a space for peace around this and all issues in this blog and in my music. What is that? I'm not really sure. :-\
It's something that I continue to discover, and I know it has to do with expression and fulfillment. It's not a peace that is sterility; that fears objections and must quash opposition often violently in order to maintain perceived serenity. It's a peace that has to come through dialogue, through relationship, a willingness to get messy and hash out what must be hashed out in order to find something on the other side that shows that we have more in common than different. I'm willing to hash out what I must with myself in order to find that peace, and there's a peace even in knowing I'm committed to it. As Lisa Durant so insightfully states: "There is no After – happily ever or otherwise. There is only today. Just today – During." There is peace even as I continue to work toward it; During.

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