How many of you mindlessly scroll through social media….. yeah me too! As you are scrolling through the back to school and vacation photos you come across a quote that resonates with you. It’s words leap to life as you read them and you pause to let out an audible gasp. And if you are me that gasp is followed by “shit, that just hit me in all the feels!!!”
Yesterday was a day like that. I read the first sentence of the quote multiple times to ensure I comprehended its meaning. Comprehension was achieved and I saved the quote to my phone. A lot of quotes live on my phone, they serve as reminders that others have journeyed on this road before me and they came out wiser than before.
Now I know you are wondering “AJ what the heck is this profound sentence that you found? I want to know!” Well friend the sentence was this……
“You will be in your own skin longer than you will be anywhere else”
You will be in your own skin longer than you will be anywhere else. Those words, those simple words spoke a truth to my soul. A truth that everyone needs to hear. We get so fixated on our homes and are constantly comparing our décor to Karen’s down the lane. We become obsessed with HGTV, the DIY network, and magazine layouts that we forget that our house/apartment/condo/trailer, or wherever you choose to call home is not our true dwelling.
Our body is our dwelling. Your body is your unique home. A house can be copied and replicated a million times over. Yes the decor will be differ in each one but the bones are still the same. Now your body, your bones are unique to you. No one else can have your body, that is unless you are a multiple. In which if you are a multiple God may have made you identical, yet your souls are uniquely yours and yours alone. No two souls are a like, no two minds are a like and no two hearts will beat the same. Our body is our unique one and only home.
The quote goes on to say:
“Make it more than a battleground of insecurities, more than a perpetual game of capture the self love flag. Make it a place where you let deserving lovers rest, a place of deep belly laughs and cleansing cries. Make a home there in your skin. And let it’s inherent mystery bewilder onlookers. Be amazed with yourself.”
Those words are profound and they spoke to me in away no words have ever spoken before. Those words resonated with my insecure self. I know what you are thinking…. “You? You AJ are insecure?” Its true I just like you struggle with insecurity on the daily. I once let a man define my worth and in his eyes I was nothing. His voice like the darkness creeps in and his words knock the confidence I built to the ground. The last thing he said to me when I left was “you will never make it on your own and you’ll never find love, no one will love someone like you.” Those very words became my fuel and the battle had just begun.
Learning to love myself as I am was the hardest lesson I ever had to learn. Learning to live on my own, with my own thoughts and feeling was the second hardest lesson. If I couldn’t be alone with the person I was, then how could I be alone with someone else. I attached my self worth to being wanted, this lead to a hoe phase. That’s all right you can clutch your pearls and no need to adjust the volume… I did say “hoe phase….” I had to learn that my body is mine and mine alone. That being wanted for my wit is more important than….. ya know…… we’re gonna keep this PG-13 today. I had to learn that not everyone is worthy of coming home.
“Make it a place where you let deserving lovers rest…” Your body is your sacred space and only you get to decided who rests against the softness of your curves. No one and I mean no one, I don’t care if it’s a man or a woman, but no one should tell you what to do with your body. No one should force you to do things that you do not want to do. It was in Ms. Emily’s tiny office that I came to terms with the fact that my ex-husband had sexually abused me…. Until that moment I never thought of it as abuse. It was a shame that I carried with me. A dark secret that I tried to scrub away as I cried under the stream of the scolding hot shower. During my hoe phase I thought if I slept with enough men I could delete the memories. The memories didn’t get deleted, they lurked in the background and would chose inopportune times to rear their head.
Cleansing cries? I am no stranger to cleansing cries. The first time I cried in therapy Ms. Emily took my hand sat next to me and said nothing…. And that was the best thing anyone had done for me. She didn’t try to make it better by telling me her therapist wisdom. She let me sit in my tears, she let me have this cleansing moment that allowed me to drop the shame and healed my soul. Spousal abuse comes in many forms and sadly I know three of those forms. Mental, emotional, and sexual abuse will always be apart of my story. And my story is more than those three things, they are just a chapter and not the book.
“Make a home there in your skin.” Home is what I built one therapy session at a time. In those walls I gained the skills to cope with the past and the tools to maintain work/life balance. On Tuesdays at 5PM I got even when the ex husbands words lost their power. I was able to look in the mirror. Full length, just me and my fully naked self. I studied myself with care and as I turned in the mirror I thought “damn you are one badass bitch…” Badass is right. I had taken back my body from the man who had taken so much from me and built a home in my own skin. A home that he would never be allowed to rest against again.
If 27 year old AJ could see me now she’d be in awe of how far we’ve come. She’d love the fact that we conquered self doubt and learned how to love ourself first and others second. She’d be happy to know that yes we did find love not once but twice and that adventures were plenty. But mostly she’d be proud to know that we learned how to be happy on our own skin. Because their is no better place to make a home than in our own skin.