Feeling totally exposed even in my own private company

As I sat up in bed, immediately upon waking this morning, I had a sudden urge to grab my phone and take a photo of myself looking in huge mirrored doors of the built in wardrobe that flanks one side of the room.

This isn't a photo for likes or comments, but a representation of how it has shaped me over the last few months, the difference that having a huge mirrored surface opposite the doorway of the bedroom has made in my life.

jo mirror body 2.jpg

For context, I moved into this house in January. It's an eight month house sit for the parents of one of my best friends. It's coming to and end quite soon.

I remember the very first evening I was here. Getting undressed and ready for bed and suddenly seeing my naked body lit up in front of the mirror in the yellowy light of the ceiling lamp.

I remember at the time, I froze momentarily then slightly recoiled. Feeling totally exposed even in my own private company.

I wasn't used to seeing my own body in its 'wholeness' and it caught me by surprise.

That in itself fascinated me. The fact that I'm so used to seeing parts of myself. Fragments at a time. Abstract. In small mirrors in the bedroom or in the bathroom, or when looking down as myself, a distorted world view.

Yet I’d so rarely had the chance to appreciate my full form.

Looking at photos of our whole selves is different, we're posed and poised. Viewed rom a distance on a small on a screen. Clothed.

But here I was. Full on, full out. Unprepared and unposed in all my naked glory, standing opposite myself. Looking myself in the eye. There was no hiding even though that urge rose within me.

The next evening when it happened again. I noticed my resistance. I noticed the surprise. I noticed the feelings of uncertainty and unfamiliarity with my own body. Unfamiliar with the body I'm so used to, the body that I have lived in for 36 years, yet I just never really 'see'.

In all its completeness.

So I got curious. I started turning around in front of the mirror. Looking at myself from as many angles as possible. The light changing and creating pattern and shape rippling over me. Twisting, tensing, flexing, looking at the curves, the folds and muscle tone and observing the wonder of the musculoskeletal system that makes the human form.

What magic!

It became quite a fun game. Creating a sense of familiarity and connection with myself, and in doing so a sense of compassion. And slowly but surely a deeper sense of self love.

Self love.

Not that I'd ever really hated my body, not at all. I simply hadn't ever really appreciated it because I'd never seen it, not really, not like this. I’d been so disconnected from my wholeness. I had no idea what I was missing.

But every single night and every single morning as I got undressed, I had the chance to observe my body in it's naked glory. Those moments became such a celebration. A private moment of connection and respect.

As the days and the weeks and months passed during my time in this house, I learned to celebrate the glory, the fullness and the completeness of my body in a way I'd never previously had an opportunity to, in a way that I'd never even seen as necessary.

I can honesty say it has been a beautiful journey.

So, this morning, when I woke up and sat on the edge of my bed, I suddenly had the spontaneous urge to grab my phone and take a photo. Not for likes, but to record this moment. Record how I feel to be in acceptance and celebration, in fascination and curiosity and at one with my body.

This beautiful, powerful body.

As I shot this photo, I had literally just woken up seconds before. My hair isn't brushed. I have an old T shirt and knickers on. Nothing else. I have bruises on my knees where I fell over. The bed isn't made. The room isn't particularly tidy.

But none of that matters.

Because this isn't for likes. This isn't an ego trip.

This is showing up as me in the moment. The spontaneous, raw, vulnerable, unfiltered beauty of me.

A celebration and a call to love in seeing ourselves. Fully.

Because I want you to see yourself. Fully.

I want you to find a huge mirrored wardrobe of your own and stand naked, to look yourself in the eye and truly see and celebrate the depth and fullness of who you are, because it's glorious. Truly and utterly glorious.

And it might take a while to get comfortable with that. That's ok. Stay with it. Lean into those feelings. Because with repeated exposure and a sense of curiosity, it will come. I promise.

I didn't realise before that I didn't love my body but it's simply because I never truly gave myself a chance to.

I'm giving myself that chance today.