I try to hide my dismay and discomfort from my husband who's watching the videos over my shoulder. I announce that I need to change my top for the next round of filming. I run to my closet and pull out a long-sleeved pale grey top that I know will cover my arms. I put it on feeling temporary relief, at least now a part of me I don't want seen will be covered up.
We go outside to shoot the second round. The top looks and feels ridiculous in the summer heat. And then I ask myself, "What's wrong with me, what am I doing?"
I've always been proud of my authentic approach to life and for the self-acceptance I’ve worked so hard through the years to attain. Where did it go? Why am I hiding myself this way, as if no one would notice if I wore long sleeves? Wow, here was a big test for me, challenging my very sense of myself. I’ve got to be who I am, that’s just me.
When my mom offered me a "nose job" when I was 14 I turned it down. When a Hollywood agent told me she would only work with me if I had my nose fixed, I considered it for a day but said no. And now here I am the result of my choices not to alter my appearance. I know if I don’t make peace with myself I will be miserable. I will erase all the work I’ve done to raise my self-esteem as a woman.
I go back to the closet and put the blue top back on. I'm going to show my skin, I can't let myself care if people notice my wrinkles and sags. I see older women around me as beautiful so I can a least extend that same non-judgment to myself. My husband is aware of what I'm going through, he knows me well. He's unfazed by my abrupt change of clothes. I can't pretend to him that I look any different than I do.
So here I am writing this to remind myself what is truly important and also to challenge those of you who judge yourselves too harshly. The Course in Miracles tells us that we are not our bodies and when we identify too much with the body we lose touch with who we truly are; which is spirit. I'm happy now to see the video on my website, to know that whatever people think or say about it (why didn't she cover up that neck!) is not my business. In fact, through this all, I've come to a deeper sense of self-esteem and self-acceptance. You could say I've confronted my vanity and sent it on its way.