Last week I set out to film a new video for my book “It’s Never Too Late To Marry.” My husband and I were going to set up at the back of the house around 7 AM before it got too hot — seeing how it’s summer in Phoenix.
He was behind the camera helping me focus. We did quite a few takes and it seemed to me that all was going well. I remembered what I wanted to say and thankfully no planes flew overhead to spoil the sound. When we finished the first round I went inside to look at the videos on my computer to see how I was doing.
I grabbed my cup of decaf and settled in to watch. I was not prepared for what I saw. Let me be honest here, seeing myself on screen, filmed in bright daylight was a shock. There was no hiding it, I’m not the 35 year old woman I imagine in my mind, I could see that I’m definitely 65. A healthy 65; but when did all these changes happen to my body?
You’d think that looking at myself in the mirror everyday would have prepared me for what I saw, but somehow when I’m telling myself “Hello beautiful” in the bathroom mirror every morning I don’t see what I’m seeing now. I figure it’s because watching yourself on computer puts you in a more objective position from which to observe.
Suddenly I’m embarrassed that my husband has seen this too. Then the thought of you my followers and clients seeing me this way makes me cringe. All I see are the arms that are no longer toned, the lines at the neck and oh my, those hands! Suddenly every little fault was in high focus and I was shaken. I chastised myself for wearing a top that showed so much skin. I didn’t think. I wore it because I love the color and it’s perfect in the Arizona heat. But let’s face it, I should have known better.
I try to hide my dismay and discomfort from my husband who’s watching the videos over my shoulder. I announce that I need to change my top for the next round of filming. I run to my closet and pull out a long-sleeved pale grey top that I know will cover my arms. I put it on feeling temporary relief, at least now a part of me I don’t want seen will be covered up.
We go outside to shoot the second round. The top looks and feels ridiculous in the summer heat. And then I ask myself, “What’s wrong with me, what am I doing?”
I’ve always been proud of my authentic approach to life and for the self-acceptance I’ve worked so hard through the years to attain. Where’d it go? Why am I hiding myself this way, as if no one would notice if I wore long sleeves.
Wow, here was a big test for me, challenging my very sense of myself. I’ve got to be who I am, that’s just me.
When my mom offered me a “nose job” when I was 14 I turned it down. When a Hollywood agent told me she would only work with me if I had my nose fixed I considered it for a day but said no.
And now here I am the result of my choices not to alter my appearance.
I know if I don’t make peace with myself I will be miserable. I will erase all the work I’ve done to raise my self-esteem as a woman.
I go back to the closet and put the blue top back on. I’m going to show my skin, I can’t let myself care if people notice my wrinkles and sags. I see the older women around me as beautiful so I can a least extend that same non-judgment to myself.
My husband is aware of what I’m going through, he knows me well. He is unfazed by my abrupt change of clothes. I can’t pretend to him that I look any different than I do, so why bother. So here I am writing this to remind myself what is truly important and also to challenge those of you who judge yourselves too harshly. A Course in Miracles tells us that we are not our bodies and when we identify too much with the body we lose touch with who we truly are; which is spirit.
I’m happy now to see the video on my website, to know that whatever people think or say about it (why didn’t she cover up that neck!) is not my business.
In fact through this all I’ve come to a deeper sense of self-esteem and self-acceptance. You could say I’ve confronted my vanity and sent it on its way.
You can view the finished video HERE