I recently realized I’ve been living almost my entire life with an apparent deformity.
At least I thought I was.
A deformity is defined by being anything that you see as “not normal”. And for as long as I can remember, I have thought that my body — it’s shape, it’s size, it’s features — were NOT normal. Not for me. For as long as I can remember I have had the underlying thought that other bodies were “normal” and mine was most certainly NOT — that the shape and size and proportion of my body was some kind of a horrible mistake. A mistake that I must have made. A mistake that I would spend the next twenty-some years trying to correct…
to absolutely, positively, NO avail.
I vividly remember being 11 years old, and standing in front of my bedroom mirror, having just tried on my new bathing suit for the summer, and just LOATHING what I saw there. Just ripping myself to pieces, there in the privacy of my head. The round little belly, instead of the flat one, the inner thighs that should have plenty of space between them – but didn’t, the rosy-red inherited arm-rash, the awkward newly developing breasts — this was not ME in the mirror, this was not what I was supposed to look like, this was not the girl I knew myself to be — this was some kind of sadistic joke or something.
My body was “WRONG” to me, in every way, I had seen the pictures of “normal” in movies and magazines, and this was definitely not it. I felt as if this body was a cage I was trapped in. I was like a canary in a mine. I had to find a way out. I had to find a way to make it right — to fix this apparent “mistake” — and I suffered from that belief for the next 20 years.
I won’t go into the laundry list of failed diet and exercise regimens, creams and lotions, pills and promises. I won’t go into the 12 year stint with Anorexia and Bulimia, or the occasional binge-drinking episode I would use to try to escape the pain of all of this. For I don’t have to tell you the pain of believing you are not normal in some way, that you are not “okay” or ENOUGH as you are, you already know that pain — we ALL know that pain, far too well. Maybe it was your hair, or your nose, or your eyes, or your hands or your arms, or your skin — it doesn’t matter what your particular vice was, it’s all the same pain. We deal with it in different ways, but it’s all the same pain.
My body struggles in this life, were my gift. Each of us is given a different outstanding “challenge” in our life, and they are all designed to bring us HOME. They are designed to push the button of that pain, until we wake up to what we are believing — and therefor WAKE UP to who we REALLY are. When I first started looking at this, I was astounded to have a memory of being 5 years old and coming back to Kindergarten after having had the stomach flu for a couple days, and the teacher saying “oh poor thing she looks like she’s lost weight”, and I remember feeling pleased about hearing that. This was shocking to me, if you looked at pictures of me when I was 5 – you would see a skinny kid, a quote “very normal” looking little girl. But BELIEF is everything, and on some level I had already begun to believe that I was somehow flawed, and that being thinner was the way to fix it. And of course, it wasn’t.
So what is your life’s gift? What is that one thing that you have spent your entire life believing is “not normal” for you? I know there are MANY things we believe this about, and in fact, if you are like me — nearly everything. Nothing that I ever DID, or WAS, was good enough — but which is the one thing you’ve struggled with the most? Start there.
This is a BELIEF, a thought-form that wants to be SEEN, and KNOWN, and REALIZED — that’s all. Nothing more… nothing less. When we believe we are “not normal”, we are living with a deformity. We look at someone whom society has labeled as having a “real deformity” such as a missing arm or leg and we cringe in pain and sympathy, and that is because we KNOW what it is to live with a deformity. We know what it is to be crippled by a belief about how our body should be, when it ISN’T. We are crippled INSIDE. I have seen some people with what society calls “real deformities” who are some of the freest people I have ever seen. Because they knew they either had to accept the unchangeable, or live the rest of their life in sadness and hiding. And so they faced their worst nightmare, and they found out they were really whole and beautiful, all the while — just as they ARE.
When I questioned my belief that my body is “not normal” — even just “not normal” for ME — I saw what an absolute lie that was. That my body has been a bigger or smaller version of the SAME friggin’ shape, since I was 12 years old. That no matter HOW little I ate, or HOW much I exercised, my belly was always more round, than flat. My inner-thighs were always closer together, not farther apart. And I am telling you people, I gave it my all. I could subsist on nothing more than cucumber slices and do hot yoga till my hair falls out, and all that would happen is you’d see a girl with bony calves and fore-arms and a roundish belly and some roundish inner thighs. That’s me. That’s “normal” for this body called Sunni.
When I first saw this I laughed out loud! I’ve kicked and screamed and gone down fighting, and my body stays true to its nature. True to its “normal”. And the ONLY problem that has EVER existed with it — was my THINKING, about it. I’ve put it through the absolute ringer, and my body has stayed true to itself, all the while. I realized my body always HAS been “normal” — not normal for you, or for the girl down the street, or for the girl on the movies or magazines, but for ME. My body was “normal” for ME. I just hadn’t noticed before. My story about it, overrode the truth of it.
I stood there opposing reality, and reality is LIFE. So when I oppose reality — I oppose Life. And Life is what we ARE. We oppose the precious Life force that we are, and we wonder why it hurts so much?!
So I’m not living with a deformity anymore. I’m living with the perfect reality of MY “normal”. I’m living with the reality that my “normal” could change at any time, I notice things are constantly changing in this world, and that nothing ever stays the same — including my body. It’s younger, it’s older, it’s smaller, it’s bigger, it’s smooth, it’s not smooth, it is what it IS.
But my FREEDOM is NOW, or never. And so my body is always perfectly “normal” for NOW. If I want pain and shame, I can think it’s not normal. If I want to get myself “stuck” in a very hurtful place, I can go on believing it’s not normal — OR — I can take another look. And another, and another, and just keep right on looking, until I’m free.
I invite you to question your beliefs about your “normal”, and find out what’s really true for you, beyond every story of what you “should” be.
This is the coming home to ourselves, that we truly desire. What would be possible for you without the ball and chain of this belief? Even if it’s only peace… wouldn’t that be worth it? To be totally comfortable in your own skin? It would be a revelation! And a revolution… because when we feel the need to fix and hide our own “flaws”, we teach others to fix and hide their flaws. But when we love and embrace our whole-selves, we teach, and give permission, for them to do the very same thing.
This is why they say “it all begins with you”, because it DOES. It really, positively,
“Normal and Not-Normal” are just another name for “Good and Bad”, “Right and Wrong” — concepts used to separate. What do we find in the absence of separation? Love. The absolute fullness and astounding joy of life. Love for ourselves, love for others, love for the whole apparent dichotomy of it, because out beyond every concept that separates, is unconditional Love.
It’s where we’ve come from, and it’s where we’re returning.
We meet in the middle.
I’ll see you there.