This whole Body Gratitude project I've challenged myself with has gotten mixed reviews. Some people are clearly sick of my posts. Some are motivated by them. A few want the "old Cassidy" back who posted nothing but snark and sarcasm. Others have admitted that, while they don't feel strong enough to participate, they appreciate the concept of this exercise in changing our internal dialogue.
I wanted to quit on Friday. The news of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre in Newtown, CT had me reeling. What kind of bullshit project was I promoting when there are REAL issues out there? Real tragedies much greater than feeling shitty about yourself for 30 years. My life is good. My family is with me, safe and healthy, and I am blessed. Who cares if I don't feel beautiful?
A couple of people reminded me that I was making a difference to them. One suggested that if maybe the world was full of people that had learned to love themselves a little more we wouldn't have these kinds of horrific things happen. I'm not crazy enough to think what I'm doing is as grandiose as all of that. This is a small thing, meant to help me and a few friends go into 2013 with a new mind-set. But what convinced me to continue on was the news that the 13 year old daughter of one of my friends was inspired to write her own body gratitude in her journal. In a short amount of time her list was already up to 12. 12!! It was excruciating for me to get that far. She is absolutely amazing.
Can you imagine having the chance to go back in time and say wonderful, beautiful things to your 13 year old self? What difference could that have made to my 38 year old self now?
I turned 13 in the Summer of 1987. It was right before I started 8th grade at a brand new school (again). I was terrified at the thought of trying to make new friends for the third time. Of trying to fit in. I was chubby and pimply. I didn't have all the name brand clothes. I had a raging crush on a guy about 5 years older than me who only thought of me as his best friend's little niece. And I was really good at not being nice to myself in my own head.
We got our first CD player that year. The Princess Bride was released. Married with Children and 21 Jump Street started that year. The top songs in 1987 included George Michael's "Faith", U2's "With or Without You", Bon Jovi's "Livin' On a Prayer". (Don't even get me started on the huge Janet Jackson phase I went through when "Control" came out. I rocked the hell out of my boom box that year.)
In 1987 the cost of a gallon of gas was only $0.89 and a pound of bacon was only $1.80. I mention the bacon not because I had any concept of the price of bacon that year but because I don't think I have yet mentioned bacon in my blog and I have been remiss. Bacon is good.
The age of 13 is heavily on my mind today.
Just six days ago I wrote about my feelings of never belonging and of disconnect with family. Less than twenty-four hours ago I mentioned in my Facebook status that I wish I could go back to my 13 year old self and tell her that she was beautiful. 13 seems like such a pivotal age to me.
This morning I woke up to a friend request from a half-sister in Germany I've never met. We share the same father, whom I have also never met. We talked a little on Facebook. She's gorgeous and looks so much older than she is. And I can already tell she's fierce. I'm old enough to be her mother and my inner-mom has already decided that if I had a daughter that looked like that I would lock her away.
This young girl took it upon herself to reach out to a 38 year old woman, not knowing how I would respond. She took the first steps that I may never have taken, fearing I would overstep my bounds or open up a can of worms I wasn't ready for. She seems fearless and confident and apparently has more balls right now than I do at my age.
I'm reeling again today.