Summer of Love

Looking back on my blog history, I realize that it has been since March since I have written. For someone who was a consistent writer, this is a lifetime. For anyone who knows me, you know that this year has been a challenge, well, really the last three years have been a struggle, physically, emotionally, personally and professionally.

I have been doing a lot of reflection recently, looking at myself in ways that I haven't had the courage to do before. There have always been areas about myself that I have been less than thrilled about, physically as well as emotionally, and I have realized that it is time to move forward. It is time to shed some of the negative that I have dragged with me for years.

To give a bit of background...my mother (like the one that gave birth to me rather than the mom of my heart), who I have written about before, raised me with some unique beliefs about myself, my body, my emotional health. I am not looking for sympathy, no pity parties here, just giving background to help you understand.

"Sticks and Stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me." This, my friends, isn't true. We know that words are powerful, often cutting deep into our soul. My mother had a razor sharp tongue. She would compliment people on the street, telling women they were beautiful, men they were handsome, commenting on hair, dress, and so on. As complimentary as she could be to strangers, she could be brutal to her children. She was blunt and often embarrassing. My 5'4" mother would constantly comment that I should be proud of my height, she gave the play by play when I was going through puberty, sharing about my developing bust line or whatever else she felt she needed to share. Mostly she seemed unconcerned about how any of these things might impact me (or my brother later on.)

My mother was a beautiful woman. She was short, very curvy (in a way that men found very attractive), outgoing with a magnetic personality. In her youth, people were drawn to her. She would draw people in and then slowly devastate them. She was beautiful and toxic. She struggled with boundaries, and often flaunted her body in a way that made her feel free, but made me very uncomfortable. Her freedom caused me to have serious body image issues from the get go. I was tall and curvy. I outgrew my mother in 4th grade, which didn't help my own self-esteem.

I grew up with a distorted body image. I can't remember a time when I was entirely comfortable in my own skin. Over time, I learned that I had some of her personality traits. I, too, was outgoing, felt comfortable interacting with others. My fear has always been that I would turn out to be her. I have a cutting streak of sarcasm that can sometimes get away from me. I have had to apologize once or twice in my life. At the end of her life, my mom was weak and had gained a great deal of weight mostly from years of drug and alcohol abuse. Ironically, she was the kindest and most genuine during this time than she had ever been.

About five years ago, I went on a strict diet that had me lose fifty pounds. I thought I was happy but really I became a number watcher who became focused on the number on the scale rather than how I felt. The diet I was on was so strict, I lost sight of my purpose and my love for myself. It didn't matter how thin I got, I couldn't find joy. Needless to say, Javad's seizure and other events of the past two years and I find myself at the heaviest I have been. I am trying to find a seed of promise in all of the recent events.

So that brings me to now... I am starting with my hair. I know that may seem like a strange place to start but it seems the least risky and, frankly, the most flexible. Almost sixteen years ago, through a haircut after Javad was born, I found out my hair was pretty curly. I, never having had to deal with curly hair, was at a loss as to how to care for my hair. I am smarter now, after three hours of YouTube videos and searching out the proper products. This one step is the first. First my hair, then my body. I have changed my eating and (mostly) am doing a pretty darn good job. The biggest challenge I have is letting myself be. I have been my greatest critic and one that identifies all of my failings rather than honor the success I have had. This is where it begins. I truly understand that its a learning process that requires me to be happy with myself. This is the beginning, this is the end.

The Summer of Love...love for oneself, love for ones hair, love to watch love grow and blood.

We all grow from love that is abundant. This is what I want to provide, especially during, the Summer of Love.

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