Most of all, this is about playful attention, and how it can bring us back to ourselves. And we’ll get there.
First, a confession. The last few weeks I’ve been cruel to myself. Recoiling when I see my body in mirrors or window reflections. Caught up in the empty pit that is not-enoughness. The pinball angst of feeling too weird for the normal people and too normal for the weird people. Too cuddly for the edgy people. And too edgy for the cuddlers. Too lightweight to be literary. Too literary to be lightweight.
Scrolling through Facebook and stepping right into the teeth of the comparison trap.
Letting categories and dichotomies slice me into bits. Sinking into the fear and loneliness of I Don’t Belong Anywhere. The anxiousness of not knowing what to do with the disparate pieces of me. Wishing, as I have so often, to be one of the The Hip. Longing to be adored in popular culture or adored by the underground. Wanting to be anything other than I am so I can fit somewhere. Feeling embarrassed that I want to be adored by anyone, that I can’t just relax, that I’m wasting my time on any of this.
Working myself into a shitty little frenzy until I say: Enough. I need relief; I need to reset. So I return to something I love about myself: I know how to play.
It’s as easy for me to play as it is for me to self-destruct and self-desecrate, except that playing comes naturally to me, and the rest of that garbage is learned. Learned attitude, behavior, assumptions.
In playing, I return to myself, as nature intended. The self that exists not as compared with others, but rooted in its own radiance. In playing with the words swirling around in my head—hip and edge among them—I played my way into this:
My hip is not edgy. It’s full and round and aches once a month before I bleed.
My hip is not edgy. It doesn’t cut into space. It curves, it expands, it fills, it cushions.
My hip is not edgy. It does not fit into skinny jeans or shock you to attention. It’s the awe to your shock. Gives you something to run your hand over, unimpeded in wonder and savor and a celebration of soft.
My hip is not edgy. It doesn’t strike an Icelandic death metal noise that makes your whole body cringe, nor is it easy listening. It’s world music. Globe music. A blend of what cannot be cornered.
Nobody puts my hip in the corner.
My hip is not edgy. It will not be belted or spanxed or reprimanded. It’s a rose hip. The fruit of a flower that steeps sweet and red. Your source of Vitamin See What Incomparable Gifts Are There.
My hip is not edgy. But. It is on the edge of a breakthrough, like a round little girl running through an open door with dirt on her hands and a smile on her face and the spark in her left eye that tells you she doesn’t need a map, she already found the treasure, and she’ll find it again and again, without intellectual, without elite, without popular, classical or cult classic. Without trendy. Without the adoration of any camp.
My hip is not edgy. It cannot be contained.
That feels much better.
So back to where I started and what this is really about. Your FHP activity for this week, should you choose to accept it: playfully attend to the hip that is yours.
You might worship at the altar of your own exquisite imperfection. Bring fruits and flowers and honey. Tuck handwritten intercessions into the rocks at the base, trusting that the divine being that is you will find a way to answer them, will be compassionate and generous.
As in literally build an altar for yourself this week. Choose a space in the place where you live, and fill it with things that you love.
Or build a symbolic altar, each day leaving yourself love notes, or saying or doing something kind, like placing your hand on the belly you keep trying to squish into a more attractive form. Or both hands on the heart you bully into getting over it, whatever it is, when really you just need to move through, with gentle kindness.
Stop desecrating yourself.
Allow your process, your loves and loathings. Allow your skills. Allow yourself not to be skilled at everything. Allow, allow, allow.
Then, add an “h.”
Declare it an All Hallows Eve for You. Hallow, make sacred, bless, and adore exactly what you bring to the table. Know that this benevolence will transfer.
When I take time to adore myself, it’s easy to walk right through the fog of jealousy, envy, and hatred, and to smile at the sight of the range of hills and mountains and sacred mounds before me, not one like the other—all the beautiful hips.