A girl is born into the world. Her eyes full of wonder, her limbs eager to move and find coordination to navigate the world all around her. Her mind, oh her mind. A place of endless imagination and beauty. A place of fortitude, intelligence beyond what others will ever give her credit for, courage, philosophical questions that seem endless. A body that she will know as home. A body that she will see as fierce and capable. A body that as the years go on will be torn down, ripped apart piece by piece. A body that will be sexualized and on the same hand wont ever be sexy enough to be worth anything. A body that will know starvation and even as the pangs of hunger ripple through every part of its being will continue to say no, I must fit into a mold they desire. Those same eyes will become dimmer, dreams will feel out of touch. Her A+ will still not be as good as his B. The dance she choreographs, that she pours her feelings into will be made fun of or worse yet because she moves her hips to the rhythms, she will become a whore.
This is a love story. One that I had no idea would be the catalyst for The Vibrant Love. One that I did not even realize until I was dancing in a shirt and panties laughing completely at ease within my own skin. One of the most important love stories we will all ever know... is the love affair with ourselves.
Awakened. The light seeped through the windows like golden honey. Dripping slowly, sweetly onto porcelain flesh. The light found the scars, it illuminated them from the shadows. The desire to run back into the darkness ceased and my body collapsed, bathing in the warmth I had hidden from for my whole existence.
Years of looking for love outside of myself. Years of seeking validation from others who were quick to find my scars and pick them until they were once again open wounds. Lifetimes of telling my body it was ugly, broken and unworthy.
The journey of falling in love with this body I inhabit, this mind I imagine with and this heart I give with is one that began at birth. I dare say that my own love story is not very different from so many other women. I was raised by women. Women who showed up for me. Women who were hardened by the life they had lead making their voices heard, being both mother, father, nurturer and provider. There was conflicting voices in my household and at times they were so loud my own was suffocated. I became quiet. I retreated inside parts of me that were unhealthy. Places where fear and insecurity fed on my desire to be held. And then I thought I found a place of solace. Movement that could transform me and whisk me away into the very core of my dreams.
Have you ever felt your skin tingle with the beauty of a song? Goosebumps. A chill down the spine. My body responded to music like an old lover who I had missed for a millennia. I always wanted to dance. To get utterly lost in composition. Fluid movements, spins, leaps and more than anything I wanted to float on the very tip of my toes as if I had sprouted my very own set of wings. Dance became my life alongside horses. It became who I was. This was both a blessing and a curse. With a female body, dance quickly became both a home for my soul, and a place of deep self hatred. A catalyst for the struggles to come.
Life has an unusual way of happening around you. You can be moving, transitioning like we all do and at the same time feel completely still. Stuck in quick sand and yet smiling because that is what we are expected to do. I loved myself then. In the quick sand. I stopped smiling. I allowed myself to be scared. I allowed myself to grieve. I allowed myself to doubt my own worth. And by doing that something lit up within me. I began to see and know my flaws intimately, but I also discovered a heart that deeply cared for people, a body that could follow beats and ride a horse galloping, a mind that could devour literature and write poetry about breathing.
I found that it was OK to be composed both of lightness and darkness. It was perfectly human to have a tummy that never seemed to become etched and defined. Not all people have long incredible limbs. But there was beauty in what I was given. There was grace in what my body had endured with illness, sexual assault and injuries from moving my body and experiencing life. My hair would always be wild and untamed, my eyes will always have too many lines on the side when I smile, I will always have shorter limbs and wider hips. My mind will always overthink and need to escape into fantasy. My heart will break at the sight of so many things, and yearn to be able to do more, see more, love more. I will always be broken and whole. Content and wanting. Fulfilled and endlessly curious.
This was the beginning of all the love stories I would have in my life. The one with myself. The one that is going to be ever changing as the years pass by. Moments of strength and security and moments of complete torment and fear. In learning to love myself I learned to truly love others. For all that they are and all they are not. For all that they excel at and all that they struggle with. This is where my infatuation with love took flight. When I began to see broken pieces and instead of wanting to put them back together, I realized I simply wanted to hold their hand and ask how they broke. And then kiss each broken piece until it glowed with radiant life. There is power in vulnerability. In letting your guards down, in laying it all bare and knowing that some wont want to stay. The only question at the end of the day should be... do you want to stay? With yourself? Do you want to hold yourself at the end of a long day and tell yourself that tomorrow will be better? Do you want to love your body even when its ailing? If you would care for others when they are ill, please always love and care for yourself in the same way. The love you have for yourself will translate to how you love others and the way in which we love is the beginning and end of all things.
And so our love story begins. Love stories that will hopefully allow you to see the LOVE within YOU.