A couple years ago, right after the divorce, Max and I were watching the rain slog against the windows in the kitchen and I noticed that a tree in our yard was flowering for the first time. I said to Max, “Look, that tree has flowers. It never had flowers before. It’s right by the lemon tree that has lemons for the first time!” Max said, “I think this is going to be the summer of our redemption.”
When you are alone, again, after being with someone for many, many years, your first thought is to find something to fill in the gaps, the empty spaces. Online dating. Ex-high school boyfriends. Dog rescue. Wine. Texting your friends at midnight. Paint nights. New tattoos. Vacations that max out your credit cards. If you have been here, you already know. You tried to fill what you thought was a void, until you realized. There wasn’t a void. There was space. And the space was freedom. Paradigm shift.
As my paradigm was shifting and I realized that it had indeed been my summer of redemption, I gained girlfriends. That’s right. GIRL friends. Like you had in high school but who are oh-so-necessary when you need love and compassion and healing. Divorce is when you realize that the love you get from your girlfriends is going to keep you afloat. The best life preservers in the middle of your self-initiated drowning pool.
One of the best things I did for myself was to fork out some cash for a boudoir shoot, on the advice of my girlfriends. If you don’t know what that is, look it up. I spent an afternoon getting my hair and makeup done, and getting some seriously sexy photos done of myself that few people will ever see. But it was completely worth it. The photographer, an amazingly beautiful woman named Kim MacDonald, asked me, “What are the five parts of your body that you think are beautiful?” I was stumped. She said, “Your hands, your eyes, you can do this.” And I couldn’t fucking name them. I could not name five things about myself that I thought were beautiful.
That is my point. My girlfriends could tell me five beautiful physical attributes about myself. And I could tell you five things that I find beautiful about every one of them. But I could not tell you what was beautiful about me. That’s fucked up. We are so damn hard on ourselves; we don’t give ourselves the attention we so desperately seek from someone else. That empty space you’re trying to fill? Fill it with finding what is beautiful about yourself. That’s a great place to start.
One of my best friends would tell me, when I was wallowing and feeling insignificant and insecure (and still do), “I Got You.” I hope you have the summer of your redemption. I hope you find five things about your body, yourself, that are beautiful. I bet it’s the curve of your belly. Your bodacious thighs. Your smile. The laugh lines at the edge of your eyes. Your brilliant, amazing, huge, heart. I hope you find your own beautiful self and then get out there and kick some ass. I Got You.