I keep thinking about the massage I had in Sonoma a couple weeks ago during my Treat Yo’ Self weekend. It capped off what was a relaxing weekend of trying to just be with myself. One of the biggest a-ha moments came for me during that massage. For the first time, probably ever, someone paid attention to my stump, the part of my foot that remained after having it amputated when I was 4. Let me say that again, for the first time ever…ever, someone paid attention to it – outside of when it’s been looked at as part of a medical exam, or if something is wrong, or that leg is in pain, or when my nieces beg to look at it. You get the picture.
And it struck me so strongly, because I’d never really thought about it. I believe that having an amputation when you’re young makes it immensely easier. I grew up with it and learned how to do anything I wanted to with it. There was hilarity around it in high school, we used it for pranks, but because my leg is inside a prosthesis, I never paid attention to the part that is actually my body. To a large degree, that’s an ok thing. (Side note, I don’t want to leave anyone with the idea that my leg was a disability, or a hindrance to me. It really wasn’t, that’s not my point here.)
But…what’s lingered in my mind was the sense that I hadn’t just ignored it, that perhaps what I’d done is neglect it. Think about a part of yourself, a part that is different maybe, and imagine that you never did anything but routine care for it. Imagine if you did that with someone you love, your child, your spouse. They would wither. Fade. Shrink. They might even get angry, or sad.
Stay with me.
Imagine that part of you that is different, or that you don’t like. And you ignore it, you ignore you. It doesn’t go away. It’s part of you. To not like, not love, a part of you…it’s likely not just that part of you that starts to fade, to wither, it’s all of you. Sit with it for a minute. We read about loving ourselves, and I firmly believe in that. And I also know that’s something I’m still working on. Shoot, I about choke if I try to say that I love myself out loud…alone in my room. But it’s the goal.
How am I, or really, how are any of us, supposed to truly love ourselves if there are parts of us, in my case, an actual limb, that are ignored? That I sort of pretend isn’t there. I don’t hide it or deny it, I just roll on without caring for it as I would another part of myself. And what do you do with that?
I think what you do is something different. In my case, if I really do want to love myself, I need to love all of myself, good, different, bumpy, wrinkly…the whole enchilada. Even thinking about it makes me a little queasy, no joke. And maybe I’m thinking about it too much. I just need to do it. Right now it’s just thoughts in my head. Those are nothing if I don’t act.
Now I’m turning the mirror on you. What part of you do you hide, or ignore, or dislike? Whatever it is, it’s part of you. You can wish to change it, and maybe you can, but loving all the parts of you at the end of the day is so important. My heart was so sad to realize what I’d been doing, or rather, not doing. That part of me, my stump, my leg, it’s me. It’s Lisa. What I went through with it…that’s part of my story…part of what made me brave…it’s part of the authentic me. And you? You’re uniquely made with all the parts of you. Love them. Love you. And take that love and share it with others.