*WARNING! This post may cause you to look at yourself with different eyes.
This has been a year that can be best described as an awakening for me. Single since the beginning of the year. I have been on a journey of self-love. If you’ve never been a part of the online dating world, let me tell you….it is a brutal, shallow, strange place. It’s basically catalog shopping for a partner. You have a set amount of space to attempt to attract the attention of someone who checks your wish list. You have a set amount of photos to upload. You get instructions such as “upload pics of yourself doing things you like!” “Show yourself smiling and having fun!” I have a love/hate relationship with it. I love it because I met my two last boyfriends online and I hate it because, well, it’s a shithole.
It’s a place where books are literally judged by their covers. Where we all set the bar ridiculously high and then scoff when no one meets those standards. I do it. Everyone does. It’s been my experience that if I don’t climb mountains, wear a size 10, or live within the city limits, then I get overlooked, ignored, politely rejected, or flat-out blocked.
A few months ago, I had just had enough. Between the lack of decent, available men in my area, and all of the rejection, I was beaten down. I felt ugly and undesirable and fed up. I cancelled my online accounts (because you can’t have just one on one site), and gave up on ever finding anyone for me.
I’ve never really been one to honk my own horn about my physical appearance. I can look appreciatingly at certain parts of myself from time to time, but its hit and miss. I love a good selfie, but it takes a good 20-30 tries before I get one that I’m ok with and think, “yeah, that’s not bad”. But one day, after a conversation with a friend, I went home and really looked at myself…yes, I need to lose a bunch of weight. Yes, those are laugh lines around my eyes. Yes, if I miss a hair appointment, my grey roots show up. But also….
I have great legs. My cleavage never ceases to impress even me. My eyes are one of my best features. Because I try not to miss hair appointments, my hair is pretty kick ass.
I decided to up my selfie game. To look at myself through appreciative eyes. Through thought out poses and lighting. Let me tell you. I rocked it.
I now have a following of almost 2000 people. I shit you not!! I’m a 46-year-old sexy woman. I’ve come to realize – and embrace – that I’m so much more than the pre-fab box that the dating websites put me in. That took a lot. A. Lot. For me to get to this point.
I think that so many of us live secret lives – either in our heads, or in real life. The communities we live in, our families, our coworkers, and even our friends and spouses all have us in a framework that suits a certain part of us…or them. I have spent most of my life hiding this part of me. The She part. The sensual part. Why is that part of us so shamed? So frowned upon? So taboo?
I know so many married men and women who have watched that part of themselves die. Who live secret lives so that they can feel alive again. Feel desired. Wanted. Whole.
And that’s just it….to feel whole. They all say the same thing to me when I ask them, “I just miss feeling like a desired man/woman”. For whatever reason, we shut off that side of us. It’s heartbreaking, and far too common.
So, here I am. Embracing that side of me. I am loving it. It has opened a whole new dialog between my daughters and I. I tell them of the importance of being a strong female presence. That it’s ok to want to look good. That being sexy is not akin to being a whore/slut/tramp. That there is tremendous strength and power in owning that part of ourselves. That self-love and appreciation is not only ok, but it is necessary to being whole.
So what does this have to do with you? I encourage you to look at yourselves. What parts, if any, have you hidden away? Is there a vixen inside dying to come out? A badass? Women, are you as She as you were when you first met your men? Men, check in with your He, when was the last time you let him out? We are fluid, exciting creations. Embrace all that comes with that! Don't be ashamed, don't let anyone put out your fire. If they do, you come to me and I'll embrace it right along with you and add a few logs to make it burn.
I have created a new online dating profile and it is VERY different than any of the ones before. My standards are even higher than before, because I deserve it and will never settle. But in the meantime, I’m quite busy and content being the fierce, sensual woman that I always was, but kept hidden away.