Category: Motherhood (Page 1 of 2)

Dear Andi,

This morning, I began cleaning the top of the bookshelf that sits beside Jim’s favorite chair in our living room. He had loose papers with bagpipe notes on them, books on golf, an old bow for one day playing your grandfather’s cello and the book your dad made after you passed, Updates on Andi.

I have read this book before, just a month or two after moving in with Jim, back in 2011. I remember reading it in bed, and being moved to tears at the way you shared yourself with courage and honesty during the most difficult time of your life. It wasn’t just that the book was compiled after you died, and reading your words meant an unhappy ending was on the way. It was that you were so very human, thoughtful, compassionate and brave, at a time that could have been filled with fear and darkness. Also, you were a mother.

I read the book again, today, now 8 years after your father died, and 11 years after you died. You were 35 when you died, with an almost 3 year old and an almost 5 year old. I am 38 with a 5 year old and a 6 year old. Your loss is all too real to me, and it was much harder to read your email updates on your diagnosis, prognosis and continued treatment. I ached for your 4 year old daughter, my niece, because I have a daughter who is very much like her. I wept for your 2 year old son, my nephew, because my own son was once 2 and oblivious to his mother’s challenges and pain.

I so desperately wish that we could have known each other, and after reading your words, I am sure we would have been fast friends. I married your brother 4 years after you died, almost to the day, and I would have loved sharing family life with you.

I walked around my house for an hour after reading your father’s book filled with your words. I thought about good luck and bad luck, coincidences and everything having meaning. I thought about God and fate and life and death. And Andi, I thought a lot about you.

Because even in death, you came to me this morning, and you reminded me to have faith, to have gratitude and to turn toward the light, always and again. Since my chronic injuries and pain began, I have lived with so much fear and anger. I have resented and blamed God, my choices and most of all, myself. I have felt unforgivable, and I have believed myself incapable of healing. I have been a victim and a survivor and a martyr and a warrior. I sometimes get lost in these identities; in these roles. But you came to me this morning, and you delivered to me a very important message, which I do hear loud and clear:

Be filled with love.

I so often forget to be thankful for this life I have been given. I so often forget that death is inevitable, and that the present moment contains everything I need. I take for granted my existence. I take for granted my very real ability to still heal and to still grow. I forget to say thank you.

Thank you, Andi. I needed this reminder, and I’m certain you were determined to give it to me. Even though we never met, I feel your love around my family, and your compassion for my husband, your brother. We have had our challenges in our marriage, and it has been hard to see the forest through those burly and overgrown trees. You would tell me to have faith. You would tell me to listen to my intuition. You would remind me to be filled with love. You would encourage me to pour my anger and grief into God. You would tell me to love and to be loved.

I wish we could have met, but somehow, I believe we know each other. Thank you for loving my husband, and for having so much compassion and empathy for him (I am very aware that you definitely did). Thank you for being his little sister. Thank you for being kind and loving and generous. Thank you for Reagan and Luke. Thank you for Peter. Thank you for living a life that leaves the kind of marks behind that cannot be erased, that can never be covered over.

I will do a better job of watching over our family, and I thank you deeply for watching over mine. We are mothers, and you are my sister. I will take care of your brother, and I will make sure he takes very good care of me.

With love and faith,



In case you’re where I am this week, here is your Wednesday reminder that:

You do not have to prove anything to anyone at any point in time.

It is not your job to convince people that you are good or right or enough. It isn’t your work to change other people. There are some people who will never be killed by your kindness, and there are some battles that are better not fought in the first place.

We each have our lanes, and we’d do ourselves a favor if we chose to stay in them as often as possible. Especially when we’re feeling sensitive and vulnerable and affected by life.


You are no longer a child who needs to work hard to earn love and attention.
You are not an object who needs to dance and perform for her dinner and dreams.
You are not here for harmony ONLY, for smoothing the way, for rounding out edges and corners and other jagged places that you are a witness to.
You are allowed to be disliked.
You are here to tell the truth.
You are allowed to disrupt and even tear down anything that no longer serves you.
You are here to learn courage.
You are allowed to cause discomfort.
You are here for trying and mistakes and bumbling around a bit.
You are allowed to make bad choices along your way.
You are here to do whatever it is that you are called to do.

No part of your existence is tied to one thing you did or one thing you didn’t.
You can reinvent and reimagine and be reborn any time you are ready and willing.

It’s amazing how much you can do when you aren’t trying hard to PROVE.

So many things are not about you. You do not have to participate in every cycle of news media or politics or new information. You don’t have to know what you think or feel about anything until you know what you think or feel about it. You probably won’t feel very satisfied with a life spent trying to interpret copious mountains of changing information in hopes of clearly separating right from wrong. The internet is like cake-it’s so much better in moderation or even sometimes not at all.

You don’t have to prove yourself or your body or your heart or your soul. Those things were put here TO GUIDE YOU. You are Not God. Your essence is already inherently good and true and enough.

Do not be a dancing pony. What other people think about you has nothing to do with you. Allow people to show you who they are, and believe them when they do. We have all got our crosses to carry, and you will not be able to carry yours if you are lugging for others.

There is zero value in striving toward an existence that is imaginary and futuristic. You could put down and be here now with yourself as you are, and it could be blissfully enough, although painfully quiet. Maybe you would enjoy the quiet once you got used to it. You won’t know until you try.

So much of your life is about mystery and magic, but if you don’t exhale and open your eyes long enough, you’ll miss it. Leave the stimulation to the stimulators, and be the ball of love and energy that you are and just roll onward as you must.




When my parents divorced, I was 3 and my brother was 6. My father’s mother had passed away just a year before, in the midst of their separation and divorce proceedings. He packed up the antique furniture she’d left him, searched out a plot of land in a rural stretch of farmland near a wildlife refuge and built us a house with both his own hands and the hands of those he knew and trusted.

We grew our own vegetables and picked plums and pears from half a dozen fruit trees. We wandered the woods, threw rocks into untouched, bubbling creeks and discovered frozen ponds and fluffy, earthen moss on long walks through what felt like our very own hidden forests and secret clearings.

We had only one TV, and it was 13 inches tall with broken bunny ears and without cable. We didn’t have a dishwasher, a microwave or a VCR. We hung our clothes out to dry, stacked wood to burn in the fireplace and rode bikes for hours down empty roads.

We lived simply.

Sometimes, we hated it. We knew about the things we were missing in the dynamic, exciting and far more stimulating world. Our mom had two TVs, cable, a functioning dryer, a fancy stereo system and neighbors within steps from our front yard. We knew about microwaveable pizza and Kool-Aid, the freedom of a life without weeding and constant yard work and the sound of kids jumping rope or riding skateboards around busy streets until well past sundown. We felt like our lifestyle didn’t fit in or make sense in the context of the busy, noisy world we were somehow growing into.

By the time I made my way to college, I ended up in New York City. I chose noise and stimulation, diversity, constant change and a bustling, transient environment to make my home. My brother moved to California, beside the ocean, where he shared a tiny apartment with his girlfriend and a roommate and spent every free moment surfing or swimming in the Pacific.

Later, I moved home to that house built on my father’s broken heart, in a farmland made with good soil for growing our weary souls. After 5 years in the city, I longed for an open sky and the sound of frogs or crickets only. I wanted to heal my shrinking body and put my bare feet in the tall, green grass and remember the thing that had saved me before I could understand ever needing to be saved:


Be Here Now

When I was 19, I went to see a therapist for the first time. I was anxious and secretly consumed by a growing eating disorder. I knew I needed help, and I was hoping that a professional would put me on the “fast track” to healing and “being okay,” for once and for all.

18 years, 4 therapists, 1 semester off of college, 3 massive relapses, 4 major moves, 10 years of yoga practice, 2 children, 1 marriage, 2 hip surgeries, 9 million pages of journaling and 1 year on crutches later, it FINALLY occurred to me that there might not be a FAST track to the kind of healing I was looking for, after all (EX-hale).

Maybe what was “wrong” with me wasn’t ever cure-able, because NOTHING was ever wrong with me to begin with. Maybe, the problem wasn’t with ME, but in how I knew or didn’t know how to cope. Maybe I didn’t know how to cope because I hadn’t yet learned how to. Maybe it took me a long time, and maybe it takes a long time. Maybe I confused what was “wrong” with what hurt, and maybe what hurt wasn’t bad or wrong or a sign of the apocalypse. Maybe it just hurt, and maybe it hurt so much that I thought it implied death. Maybe I was confused and human and doing my very best, and not a problem to be solved or a situation to be improved.

As Geneen Roth says, we aren’t problems to be fixed, after all. To say that there is something wrong with right where we are and just who we are is to refuse our lives, and THAT is a kind of spiritual suicide. There is no button that any one of us can press that will instantly make our lives feel better. If our lives don’t feel so good, that begs questioning, courage and maybe change. But it does not mean it’s the end. And it does not mean we’ve done something wrong. It doesn’t mean we’re bad or make sloppy choices or do stupid things. It means we’re alive. It means that we feel. It means that life isn’t about doing it all right or getting somewhere really comfortable or finally being free from challenge.

If we take ourselves off the treadmills and the tight ropes and stop stuffing ourselves into too tight quarters or closets or jackets and let ourselves EXIST, even momentarily, we might see that we’re just right. We’re perfectly alive. We’ve got skin on our bones that cover our organs that are working for us AND WE DIDN’T EVEN HAVE TO DO ANYTHING FOR ANY OF THAT. Except to be born.

Maybe we don’t know what will happen. Maybe we don’t know if we’ll ever feel better. Maybe we don’t know if our plans will ever come together, if we’ll ever truly heal or if we’re even getting anywhere from all of the moving around we’re doing. So, the most sensible thing to do is to be in the moment we’re in. Feeling our cells bobbing around inside our bodies, giving us a whole life to lead and follow. Trusting ourselves enough to feel whatever arises and trusting ourselves to let go when it’s time. We don’t know everything, but we can sense a lot of things, and that’s worth noticing. We know, in our hearts, that what the world doesn’t need is another woman striving endlessly and desperately to fix herself. The world needs deep compassion, radical love, acceptance and courage that comes from showing up as our WHOLE selves with our WIDE hearts and without apology.

We can stop working on getting somewhere and do something revolutionary. We can stop searching for the fast track, the quick fix or the long suffering road of self improvement, and we can look around at WHO WE ALREADY ARE when we aren’t trying so hard to be something or somewhere else. As Ram Dass once wrote, we can “be here now.”

Give Yourself Permission

Raising my kids is the number one most important thing that I do in my life. Showing up for them is easy; showing up for them without my own childhood baggage and tired, old habits is less…easy. When they were born, I promised them I would give them a perfect life. That I wouldn’t repeat history with them. That I would be the mother to them that I’d always wanted for me.

Then, they became toddlers, and…it got a lot harder to keep my promises.

The longer I’m a parent, the more I know that to show up for my kids wholeheartedly means giving myself permission to be imperfect and inexperienced. The more I set out to teach them to value their sensitivity, feel their feelings and show up, even when it hurts, the more I have to give myself permission to do all of the same things. When I want to stop history from repeating itself, I have to start by giving myself permission to look at my past with a tender heart and a gentle touch.

I can’t become less anxious by crossing all the things, closing my eyes and hoping for good luck. I won’t be the mother my kids need until I allow myself to be the woman that I already am. Flaws, pocks, marks and all.

After all, a whole person isn’t a perfect person. A whole person has sticky spots, spiky places and closed off corners that feel impossible to crawl into. A whole person has jagged edges and round corners, times of struggle and times of ease.

In other words, we don’t teach our kids to embrace their whole selves by being anything else than a person who embraces her whole self.

What I Leave Behind

Listen, I know last year was a doozy. I know few people who aren’t reeling from one event or another, whether it be political or personal. It’s just been A YEAR for gut checks and reality checks and bounced checks, and I know I have spent many days on my knees asking for relief.


As this year is finally coming to a calendar close, I feel different. I feel grateful. I feel trusting. I feel worthy. I feel capable. I don’t feel bowled over by the challenges and the work ahead. The idea of what I face as a person, as a woman, as a mother, as a member of my community, my state, my country and my world-it doesn’t feel too big for me. I feel sized just right to take on what comes.

That’s because 2016 gave me many things, including and especially my WHOLE SELF. I am not a fragment awaiting completion. I am not a victim awaiting a savior. I can be annihilated and still do things. I can be unable to do things and still be enough. I am not intimidated by harsh reality. In fact, I am driven directly toward it. Last year, I asked 2016 to bring it on, without realizing how unprepared I was to face hard things. I had to work hard, and 2016 gave me that opportunity. Thank goodness!

Now, I have more work to do, but I’m in better fighting shape. I know what I am bringing to the table, and I know that I have so much still to learn. So, I’m stepping into the new year filled with curiosity and anchored in trust that life will show me the way (it always does!).

There are a few things I need to leave behind in 2016, though. Because they no longer fit my life. When I put Whole Mira back together this year, a few pieces just didn’t make sense anymore. They stuck out or looked wrong or just weren’t part of my makeup anymore. Today, it’s a good day to say thank you, and buy-bye. Because what I do not need, I will not lug behind me. Not anymore.

You know what I’m leaving behind in 2016?

Toxic people. Listen, I have worked way too hard to be dragged down by those who haven’t done their work. The best way I can lift others up, is by focusing on my work, and I can’t focus on my work when I’m bogged down with baggage that doesn’t belong to me. I’m going to stand for you by refusing to shrink or whittle or wilt to make anyone feel more comfortable or more secure. I’m going to be brave for you by continuing to rise up with my voice and speak the truth. No matter what.

Self-Doubt. Okay, so I’m not going to be able to wave a wand and magically eliminate self-doubt from my life, but I am leaving behind it’s control over me. I’m saying GOOD RIDDANCE to self-doubt riding shotgun in my life. Like I’ve said before, the voice inside me told me I have work to do, and I can’t do this work if I’m always giving up on it because I think I can’t. I have no idea how things will turn out, and I know that sometimes, I will fail. I have to stick to the voice, at all costs, and that means that self-doubt can come, but its power stays behind.

The Drive to Harmonize. Guys, I am an empath, and that means that I FEEL deeply. I pick up on the people around me. I feel you guys so hard, and I don’t want to change a thing about that. What I do want to change is my tendency to exploit my own empathy for the sake of making everyone feel better. It is not my job to make you feel better. I want WHOLE YOU, but I’ll never give you the chance to get there if I’m lining all of our interactions in velvet and cashmere. The stakes are too high in our world, and I HAVE WORK TO DO. I need to stare back at things that don’t FEEL GOOD, like the REAL WORLD (including, misogyny, systemic racism, patriarchy, poverty and war), and then I need to tell the truth.

Worry About What Other People Think. Oh, darlings. I care so much about the people in my life, and every one of you. But, I can’t sit around worrying about what or how you think I am. Your ideas are your own, and they have nothing to do with me. They aren’t my business. They aren’t my work! You see, I am WHOLE MIRA. You are WHOLE YOU. I get to write my story, and you get to write yours. Isn’t that wonderful? Liberating? Frightening? But, so special and magical and original? We’re up to creating, you and I. I am leaving your story to you, and I thank you for leaving my story with me.

Placing My Value Outside. 2016 gets to keep the last pieces of me that thought I wasn’t enough, UNLESS. That I wasn’t worth it, UNTIL. I was waiting in vain until this year, babies! The train had already pulled into the station, and I was right here. All along! Hot damn! Hello, 2017. I am ENOUGH.

I am lighter this way, and I can go distances this way, and I was meant for distances, so I know this is the way.




The Next Right Thing

Oh, friends. I started to write you yesterday and today about the stress and the pace of the holidays. The way the spending always gives me the heebee jeebies. How tired I am. How so very overwhelmed this time of year can often feel for me.

But, as I wrote and I kvetched and complained, something else showed up for me. And, it was this:

I am just really struggling, right now.

I really want to walk. I want my feet and my legs to work right. I want to get up and go. I want to stand up and move. The demands of the holidays are one big, fat reminder of how limited I am. Of how crippled I feel. I am myself, but I don’t move like me. I know something bigger is at play here, but I tell you what: I can’t see it right now.

I can’t see it at all, today.

What I can see is everything that I really want to create in my life. I can see it CRYSTAL CLEAR. And, being benched and riding the sidelines with that vision just dangling in front of me, HURTS. I keep telling myself to be patient. I keep willing myself to have faith. I keep touching the wounded place with my gentlest touch. But, today, I can also see that I have a long way to go.

Somehow, I really need to bridge that gap. Today. Because, I have searched myself, and I have determined that there are a variety of ways to deal with my current emotional and physical state, and none of them feel as right as this:

I need to give myself the gift of knowing what I know. Right now, that means knowing my goals. Even if I don’t know how the hell I am going to get there. Somehow, if this vision is what I can see through the clouds, then THIS is what I will focus on right now. Even if it hurts and feels like a promise I don’t know how to keep.

Either way, I have learned that there are days when I can only do the next right thing, and today is that day. Telling you what I want to create for my life, what I see for myself, is the only right thing:

I want to walk in the sand beside the ocean.

I want to swim in the ocean.

I want to play with my kids in a green field.

I want to walk for 30 minutes without stopping.

I want to write about what I want to write about.

I want to volunteer for the Up Center and Planned Parenthood.

I want to pick up my daughter.

I want to run with my son.

I want to ride bikes with my children.

I want to pay off my hospital bill.

I want to get rid of my couch (okay, maybe burn it, but that seems dramatic, so I will stay medium on that).

I want to wear sandals.

I want strong legs.

I want comfortable feet.

I want more than all of the baby steps that I have been living on. You know I have supreme gratitude for my health and the health of my children and our family. I know I am LUCKY. I also know that I see more. Reconciling  those two feelings can feel like an awkward battle between two well-meaning friends that really just want some kind of goddamn harmony. So, I say, maybe harmony tomorrow. For today, a struggle.

I gave a dear friend advice the other night, and it seems relevant for me, today:

“You don’t have to feel better, right now. You just have to keep moving.”

Thanks for moving with me, gang. Needed that.



Kindness Sunday

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” -Mother Teresa.

I’m keeping it short and sweet today, so I’m going to leave you with this quote and this very brief nugget, of my own:

Please, in your walks through life this week, remember how incredibly connected you are. To everyone. The good guys and bad guys and in between guys. The people who need you, the people who scare you, and the people who love you.

It’s cliche, but still worth mentioning that we really, truly are in this life factory together. Even when we’re millions of miles apart and can’t agree on what kind of bread to make our sandwiches with. I mean, it feels like we are so separate, because we’ve evolved into these complicated existences that pull us away from the earth, away from one another and away from the truth.

I am working over here to try to figure out how to have compassion for people who, on the surface, appear to lack compassion. I am working on forgiving those who appear to offer no forgiveness to anyone, unless they look and think the same. I am working on forgiving the worst in this world I belong to, because it has started to hit me that I can’t cherry pick when it comes to compassion and forgiveness. I can’t decide that some people deserve it and others don’t. I’m not here telling you that I’ve gone and decided to snuggle up to homicidal maniacs or that I’m feeling cuddly about terrorists or angry, violent abusers. BUT. I’m also not going to contribute to the dividing of more lines. I’m not going to put my own two cents into the bank of us versus them.

What I’m saying is: Even the people who scare me, or disappoint me or disgust me-EVEN THOSE PEOPLE-they share something with me, and it’s something so vital and so necessary to my existence. It’s this planet. It’s humanity. I have to learn to see past what is obvious in EVERYONE. Even the Donald Trumps of the world.

That’s not easy, but that is the rock I must get under in order to find peace.

I’m not telling you to shove down your feelings of grief, anger, resentment or betrayal, heavens no. I’m just asking you to hold those things in the same hands that you use to hold the idea that beneath every person’s skin lies a beating heart, built to do the exact same thing as yours and mine: LOVE.




Do Less, Sister

This week is kicking my ass. I’m busy with my day job, the kids, my husband’s work schedule, doctor’s appointments and our house. I feel like I’m spinning, and at the end of every day, I want to literally unplug my brain and have someone or something else do the work.

Multi-tasking used to be my special super hero strength, a quality in myself that I considered to be a true reflection of my ability to be and do all things! Before having kids, I was PROUD to run like a wild chicken through my life. I was too busy to sit down for long, too necessary to the many balls always spinning in the air. I liked going fast and relying on my instincts, most of the time.

After having kids, I straight up LIVE to do one thing at a time. I want to stand still and stir my damn stir fry. I want to read a few pages in my book without getting up every 2 minutes for milk or snacks or tears, etc. When I start juggling, I have an actual physical response that I cannot ignore, and I find that I have to stop, drop and put down, or else. I have to choose one thing to be with, and put everything else aside for later.

I’m no longer a happy multi-tasker, is what I’m saying. I’m no longer a joyful juggler, is what I am telling you. I am infinitely more happy when I am taking my time and taking one step and then another (and maybe stopping there, because let’s face it-being mediocre feels GOOD).

Since I prefer to walk through life without hyperventilating once a day, I am learning that I have to, HAVE TO stay very connected to my precise priorities. At every moment. Because then, it is easy to see that so many things can so easily be put down, and I can swiftly return to being the day-to-day under-performer that I am perfectly happy being. I finally, truly do prefer to focus on what matters rather than on a whole bunch of stuff that doesn’t. Who knew?!

Here are my priorities, in no particular order:

  • My children
  • Myself
  • My marriage
  • My family
  • My work
  • My sleep
  • My health
  • My writing
  • My friendships

So, this isn’t rocket science, but it usually helps me to see that I don’t need to obsess or worry or even doubt anything I am up to. I just need to decide if it fits into the particular priority that I am focusing on at that one specific time, and if it doesn’t? BYE, FELICIA.

I’m officially putting all thoughts about things related to being a homeowner ON THE BACKBURNER for the rest of the day. I am officially putting facebook, the internet and emails ON THE BACKBURNER for the rest of the day. I am officially putting all thoughts about my calendar, christmas shopping and the kids’ schedules ON THE BACKBURNER for the rest of the day.

Doing less and not even sad about it. Bam!




When I was a small girl, I loved playing outside. I was athletic and loved to climb trees and run fast with my brother. I liked to ride my bike and wander in the woods and jump rope and hula hoop. I liked to dive underneath waves and dance in the sand and search the seashore for mysterious shells or washed up jellyfish.

I also loved to read. I loved to write. I loved to sing and laugh and play pretend. I loved magic, I loved making things and I cherished my broad and mysterious imagination. I was a precocious child, a fast learner, an early reader.

Also, by the time I was 3 years old, I was told that I was “pretty.” And, that I was “cute.” These kinds of comments meant almost nothing to me as a small child, other than to irritate me (I didn’t want to be called cute! Who do you think you are that you get to call me pretty!). I was a strong girl with my own thoughts and ideas, and I didn’t like adults trying to tell me ANYTHING, at that age (certainly, not SILLY things like “cute” and “pretty”).

In first grade, a boy who sat behind me in class told me that he could see down the back of my shirt and down my pants (he could not), and that he could see my body. This made me uncomfortable, but I was too young to understand much about what he was doing, other than that he was trying to demonstrate some kind of power over me. I didn’t feel threatened, but I did feel angry, and I felt something else: NOTICED. Not for who I was, but for my body. I didn’t think I liked being noticed like this, but I was busy running, jumping, playing and being a brave little girl, so I ignored him (as I was instructed to do), and I didn’t pay him any mind.

Years later, my body began to change. I grew strong, big, muscular legs that led into wide hips. I didn’t notice my body developing, until a few kids at school began to call me thunder thighs. At first, I didn’t know whether to be hurt or to laugh. I wasn’t aware that my legs were wrong or bad or different or too big or too strong. They were my legs. They did things for me. I appreciated that. Period. Now, I wondered if something wasn’t quite right with my body. I didn’t mind my legs, when I thought about it, but I wasn’t sure about these comments and what they implied. Something started to feel not quite right. But, I kept running, jumping and playing, and I tried not to pay it any mind.

A year later, while shopping for a bathing suit, my mother commented on my developing, pre-pubescent body. I was almost 11, and my body was changing fast. I had entered that awkward stage of female development when things start growing in strange places and at unfortunate times. My butt and legs were strong and thick, while my chest and stomach remained flat. My face had filled out, my hair was suddenly frizzy and I realized I wasn’t the same “pretty little girl” I used to be.

I needed to work on my weight, my mother told me. I had to watch it, she reminded me. Up until then, I hadn’t thought much about my weight, or my body, and I certainly hadn’t been “watching it.” I knew something was terribly wrong in this equation, but I mistook the “wrong” thing as being ME.

That day was a turning point in my life. All the things I liked and loved began to shrink down beside this newfound idea that something was wrong, and that something was definitely my body, and my body was definitely ME. The girl I was became secondary to the girl I looked like. Mira on the inside became the runner up to Mira on the outside. While Mira on the inside was a brave, bold and clever girl, Mira on the outside was lumpy, frumpy and unfortunate looking. Too big. Too much. Too often.

My thunder thighs were now very bad news. People were looking at my body, and they were noticing it. People were noticing my body, and acting like my body was their business. This didn’t seem right, but then, an entire world of messaging was backing them up, so who was I to disagree? Magazines aimed directly at me (Teen Magazine, Seventeen Magazine) told me to pay a lot of attention to my weight, diet, hair, makeup, clothes and boys. Good looking girls grew into good looking women, and good looking women were rewarded on television, on the news and in life! In every direction I looked, there was an image of a woman and accompanying commentary to let me know what was right, wrong, good or bad.

Over time, I lost total and complete interest in the best parts of me, because if I didn’t look right, who cares? Why run, jump and play when the world wanted me to sit still and look pretty. Why stand tall when the world wanted to me to shrink down in size? I heard people tell me that a woman could do anything, but that was usually after they’d told me what to wear, eat and say while doing it.

By the time I got to college, I’d surrendered to the idea that if I didn’t look perfect, I would never have a life and never be happy and never be anyone worth anything. Something was wrong, and something had to change, and that “something” was me. I exercised constantly. I developed an eating disorder. I grew depressed. I struggled to have a social life. I was exhausted, I was broken and I didn’t even know what the hell I was doing anymore. I got so caught up in working on my outside, that I starved my inside, and lost all sense of who I was. I had changed outside Mira, but nothing was better. In fact, everything hurt and everything was wrong.

One day, when I was 23, I came home from work and wandered into my bathroom. I stood in that tiny room and caught my own eye in the mirror. For the first time in a long time, I realized that I didn’t recognize myself. Who was this person, I wondered? Where is Mira? Inside Mira? Outside Mira? Where is the girl who loves to climb trees and wander the woods and swim in the ocean and dance in the rain? Where is the girl who likes books and words and thoughts and ideas? Where is the girl who loves to run, jump and play?

I had turned into one of those one-dimensional images I’d seen in so many magazines, and I was empty. I was breathing, but I wasn’t ALIVE. I was entirely made up of activities designed to rid me of unwanted, exterior characteristics that meant NOTHING to me. I looked back at this face I was wearing, and I stared, through tears, for a long time. Finally, I looked at her, and I told her:

I am coming for you. I am right here, and I am coming, and I will bring you home.

And, for the next 10 years, that is exactly what I did. Along the way, I learned that I had been setup to fail from the very beginning. Because I am a woman. My very first memories include frequent commentary on my looks. Before I learned to read, I was “pretty.” I was still playing with Barbies, and boys were remarking on my body parts and discussing the size of my thighs. I was entering puberty, and the world (including those close to me) was waiting and ready to pounce on my vulnerability and innocence. Ready to show me what I was supposed to be. Ready to tell me what it needed from me. Ready to lead me far, far away from myself and into the arms of a prepackaged world designed to keep me small, powerless, quiet and dependent.

It took me 10 years to untangle myself from that briar patch, and now that I am out of it, it is my absolute responsibility to do my part to burn the damn thing down. Now that I know who I am, I can never stop telling the world, since the world worked very hard for a very long time to shut me up.

I tell you, I love being a woman, but not because it’s easy or because the world has paved a safe and nurturing road for me.

I love being a woman, because I’m so powerful that entire institutions and political parties want to keep me down (they’re scared of me!). I love being a woman, because I’m so big, entire continents want to try to keep me small (they’re afraid of me!). I’m so loud, that entire religions want to keep me quiet (they don’t know what I’ll say!). I’m so beautiful, so colorful and so vibrant that whole cultures want to change the way I look (because, I will blind them with this beautiful way I was made!)

Girl, woman, lady, friend. Don’t you ever, ever believe that you have to be anything but WHO YOU ARE. Big, small, wide, tall, thin, fat, loud, proud, quiet, bold, white, black, brown, yellow, red, PRECISE. You.

Go run, jump and play.

Go find yourself. Go. Bring yourself home.

Your body is your own. You never have to leave it again.





Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén