"Women always try to tame themselves as they get older, but the ones that look best are often a bit wilder. Thinking about age all the time is the biggest prison women can make for themselves." ~ Miuccia Prada
Do I feel beautiful?
I am pondering this question as I approach my 59th birthday. Why is this on my mind? Am I thinking about this because my big "6-0" is only a year away, or am I simply checking in with my inner self?
Perhaps it's a bit of both. We are all familiar with the phrase, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Well, I am beholding me... so I must be beautiful, right?
It occurred to me that the times when I feel most beautiful are also the times I feel strong and confident. When I am speaking my truth, being myself and banishing the critical voice I hear in my head (my SUMO) -- confidence is my middle name. For years, I would get into the wrestling ring with my Sumo. Sensing his overwhelming heaviness and the force of his criticism, I would collapse under myself. He didn't even have to lift a finger! This resulted in spending a great number of my pre-pubescent, teenage and adult years feeling inferior and insecure. Does this sound familiar?? Most days my Sumo's voice tries to convince me that I am fat, but thankfully, as the bell rings to end round 59, I'm able to laugh it off. No longer is he able to crush and beat down my joy, replacing it with self-doubt. When my husband tells me I look beautiful, I am now able to say, "Thank You" instead of "Really? You think so?" After 36 years together and listening to all of those "really's," he is startled but joyous over my new-found ability to accept a compliment!! This is a BIG change. We are both adjusting to the change... and I'm not talking about menopause!
I now realize that I am free to be me. Thank you, Marlo Thomas! I have released myself from my own prison (besides, horizontal stripes are not my favorite). The bars and walls which had surrounded me were invisible to others as I kept those quite difficult to detect, hiding behind the camouflage of an outgoing personality. Nonetheless, for many years I felt their limiting presence. Now, with no holds barred... life is way more fun!
Like a new romance, all of my senses are heightened. I love stronger, feel love deeper and enjoy more calm and tender moments. I understand that I can be strong and wise yet vulnerable and open. The natural curiosity of youth, my yearning to learn, is replenished. All these emotions combine and transform into feeling beautiful! It doesn't matter if I'm in my robe, in a short skirt, in leggings, in sweats or in an evening gown -- I am beautiful when I am free to be me!
Dancing this new dance of life helps me harness its power without taming its energy. I have "changed" the way I feel about myself by this simple yet profound change in perspective. It is lovely! I am playful again and ready to enjoy 59 and beyond. Who wants to join me?
If you've read my book or followed my blog, you know that I wish everyone a Happy Birthday all the time. It's at the end of each email I write, and I think it startles some people. "Why is she wishing me a happy birthday?" they wonder. The reason is that the most wonderful birthday party I have celebrated was for my friend, Marcia, as she stared down cancer and what was most certainly her last time blowing out the candles. I remember her beautiful smile, full of joy, as she left us with this wisdom, "Make every day your birthday." This took carpe diem to a new level! When achieved, each morning is filled with anticipation, and each evening fades into the satisfaction of a day well-lived. With much practice and working through a lot of days that felt more like a pity party, I have learned to live more days like it's my birthday. So, with that, and as I celebrate the wrap-up of my 59th year, I say to you,
Happy Birthday! It's time to party!
Remember, reaching out is IN. Suffering in silence is OUT!
Tell me: What limiting beliefs do you need to kick to the curb?
Free to be Me, a primer:
- One teenaged girl takes on Seventeen magazine and the industry's photo enhancement practices: To Be Real and Beautiful, by Vivian Diller, PhD, Huffington Post
- Stories of inspiration from Marlo Thomas: It Ain't Over 'Til it's Over, Huffington Post
- Need help defeating your Sumo? Check out: Limiting Beliefs: Are You Being Your Biggest Hurdle?, lifestoogood.net
- How sweet it is to be loved by you!, Dr. Robin on Oprah Radio
- Bullied Teen Who Got Facial Plastic Surgery Ready to Forgive Tormentors, But Won't Forget, ABCnews.go.com
About Ellen Dolgen
Ellen Dolgen is the author of Shmirshky: The Pursuit of Hormone Happiness -- a cut-to-the-chase book on perimenopause and menopause that's filled with crucial information, helpful guides, and hilarious and heartfelt stories. Known for her humor, compassion, and sassy personality, Ellen has appeared on numerous television and radio broadcasts, including: The Rachael Ray Show, The Doctors, Oprah Radio, Playboy Radio, "Tell Me More" on NPR, Doctor Radio, and dozens of other regional and national media outlets. Ellen is a regular guest on the popular radio show, "Broadminded," on Sirius XM Radio (Stars XM 107) and KSWB Fox 5 Morning News San Diego. When Ellen isn't promoting women's health and wellness, she's busy trying her best not to eat all the ice cream in the freezer.