I’ve written before about how the different aspects of our wellness are interconnected and interdependent. Each aspect of wellness affects all the others. When one aspect suffers, all are affected. When one thrives, all are affected. The most obvious example is the way physical wellness affects emotional wellness. Physical wellness also affects all the other aspects of wellness; it’s just that the emotional effect is generally the one we notice first. It’s the same with all of the others. Financial/occupational wellness, mental wellness, social wellness, emotional wellness and so on; they all respond. Our whole being is affected by our individual wellness practices (or lack thereof) and it responds as a whole.
Last week I published a public and photographic apology to my legs for some unkind comments and thoughts I had about them. It wasn’t a one-and-done activity. I kept at it with multiple images even after my initial post, which produced the image above and the image below. It’s not just that I’m sorry. I’d dearly love to change my behavior toward my body to the point I wouldn’t hurt her verbally any more than I’d verbally hurt my spouse or loved ones. At least not deliberately, right? I definitely wouldn’t say the things I said about my legs to anyone I love or like or respect or to whom I want to be kind. And if I did, a quick “I’m sorry” certainly wouldn’t feel like enough to reconcile that hurt.
Reconcile that hurt.
Reconcile that hurt.
Reconciliation requires me to confront my behavior, acknowledge it, understand it, and change it. During a reconciliation speech or discussion I want to look the other party in the eyes. I want to speak to face to face. In this case, face to legs. Behold them straight on, as in a mirror. But I can’t. During one of my minimalist purges I got rid of the one full-length mirror I owned. It was free-standing, like a piece of furniture, so I gave it away in favor of having more space. I figured I’d replace it some day with a wall-mounted mirror but in the throes of a Spending Fast it wasn’t considered essential spending. So no full-length mirror for months and months now. I’ve just learned to live without one. No big deal, or so I thought.
This might be a stretch but I wondered if one of the reasons it might have been so easy to lash out at my legs is that I can’t see them. I mean, I can look down and see them just fine but I can’t see them from any other perspective unless I photograph them or catch my reflection in something shiny. Hence the multiple apology photos. If you’ve been following me longer than a week you know how much language matters to me. How much language matters in general.
Looking down on my legs shouldn’t be the only way I look at my legs, and certainly not for an apology and/or reconciliation. So I tried standing on a stool in front of the other mirrors in my home. Mirrors high up on bathroom walls, not even low enough to see my waist, much less my legs. So I dragged a stool into the bathroom and tried a face-to-face heart-to-heart. I could see enough of my legs to look them in the eyes, which I reckoned to be the knee area, but halfway through my heart-felt amend-ment, amending, making of amends, I stopped. Now the rest of me was missing from the mirror — my heart, hands, eyes, face — all the things I use to communicate.
Reconcile that hurt to my whole body WITH my whole body.
Whole body. Body as a whole. Whole being. Wholeness. Wellness. My intentions were good but I can’t confront the damage I’ve done to my body as a whole by regarding it in fragments. Even if my target was my legs, I hurt all of me with my callous remarks because all me is affected when one part hurts, heals, or thrives. I know this. I write this. Now how was I going to practice this? You guessed it. I hopped off my stool and high-tailed it across town to buy a cheap-ass full-length mirror I could hook over a door. For $15 smackers I could finally face me. All of me.
Although I haven’t posted them in a while, take a look at the next frag to be pulled on this week’s calendar/planner page. You can see it if you lean in: Tender. This is exactly how I would treat someone I’d hurt. Tenderly. With tenderness. I’d give them my full attention and the benefit of my full regard. No fragmented restoration. No piece-meal healing. Full on. Straight on. Right on. All of me loving all of you, as the song goes. Or all of me, as I go.