The Dressing Room As Guru
The other night, I received a lesson about self-image and identity in – of all places – a dressing room.
I was at one of my usual haunts in Santa Fe: Body. Body is a combination organic café/yoga studio/spa and boutique. My friend, Lauren, is the owner and one of the most powerful and inspired women I know.
I was trying on some clothes in the boutique for an upcoming event and Lauren, as usual, was helping me put an outfit together. I was complaining to her that I was feeling dumpy and out of sorts. I felt pressure to get an outfit because of the event I had to go to; I was not feeling the inspired joy of being able to purchase something new and beautiful, because my self-image was suffering and I couldn’t access my identity as an empowered woman and speaker!
Now please let me pause a moment so I do not risk of sounding like an entitled, spoiled, overly privileged narcissist.
“Oh, poor me. I gained five pounds. I can’t get my Santa Fucking Fe Green Juice while I’m traveling to the east coast. I have to eat burgers and sandwiches and I’m getting fat.”
First world problems, much?
A caveat…but not an apology:
I know, I do know. And no, I don’t take it for granted. I am grateful every single day. I’ve had a lot of money ups and downs in my life and I have been scary, scary broke, more than once. And…. this is still a window into my current humanity. It’s also about playing the spiritual matrix. And, ultimately, it’s about creating more abundance, for ourselves and others.
Self-Image and Identity When Life Gets “In the Way”
I’ve been traveling quite a bit, directing shows and trainings all over the place and on a lot of planes. For me, this has always been an area of vulnerability.
When I’m in Santa Fe, I have my routine down. Most every morning, I have a green juice and cashews/fruit. For lunch and dinner, it is easy for me to get a salad and some healthy protein at Whole Foods or dozens of restaurants in my hometown. I’m spoiled. I know it. And, eating like this is a big part of my own self-care. It contributes to my ability to juggle as many balls in the air as I do, creatively, professionally and personally. It mirrors my best self-image back to me, and I like that healthy identity because it is my best identity.
But, during the past two months, while on five separate work related trips, I had a crazy schedule with story coaching clients during the day and rehearsals for solo shows that I was directing in the evening. My carefully controlled schedule went straight to hell. It’s been a period of eating in airports, at crappy diners, and in motel morning buffets….In other words, barely a green juice or kale salad in sight. As a result, self-image tanking.
So back to Body, and my friend, Lauren who was dressing me.
Tanya: “Well, I feel fat and I feel out of sorts. Everything looks awful tonight.”
Lauren: “You know you’re not seeing yourself, right?”
Tanya: “I know that. I’ve probably gained five pounds, but I feel like it’s fifty.”
Tanya: “You know. When it comes to clothes, I just always felt it wasn’t important. But as I’ve been upping my brand, I’ve been trying to live into a new look. Also, at fifty-one, jeans and black tee shirts every day seem really blah.”
Lauren: “They are blah. Here’s the deal Tanya, it’s all about playing the matrix. It ALL matters.”
Tanya (interest peaked): “Elaborate, please.”
Lauren: “Look at the amazing life you live. Look at all you do and all your creativity. You put so much attention into your clients, your relationships, your daughter, your work….why not your image?”
Tanya: “So much emphasis was put on it in the family I came from that I guess I rebelled (there’s that rebel again). It seemed shallow.”
Lauren: “It ALL matters. See…it can seem shallow, but it’s not. Every thing we’re embodying, every choice we’re making, all attention we’re giving to ourselves and others sends out the signal to The Universe of who we see ourselves as. And, that is what it will reflect back to us.”
Holy shit. I knew in that moment that she was right.
Time to embrace my inner Jessica Rabbit and dress who I feel myself to be on the inside. Time to stop being at war with my body, and its ups and downs, whether I’m able to indulge my organic control freak or surrender to a month of Reuben’s and French toast (hey, at least they were tasty!)
- What do you want?
- How do you want to live?
- Become that person.
- Do the work.
- Dress the part.
- Respect yourself and all others, but take no shit.
- If not now, when, then when?
It’s a holistic universe. There is nothing not connected to anything: our body, our creativity, our belief systems, our trauma, our wounds, our power, our choices of lovers, our relationships, our money, our homes, our self-image, our identity, our attitudes and emotions…and yes, even our fashion choices. Who are we choosing to be? What do we want more of?
IT ALL MATTERS….
For the love of story,