I have been struggling inside lately about my changing, aging, outside self. I don’t want to, I am even a little ashamed that this struggle takes so much out of me. It doesn’t merit the attention, and there is nothing I could add to the discussion about my outer self that isn’t already overly present in our societal psyche. I wish I could ball these thoughts up and heave them into the garbage – I wish I could pull this insecurity out of myself and chop it up into a thousand tiny pieces and throw them into the air like confetti – I wish … But I can’t, I haven’t, I don’t yet know how to begin. I have written about it before, I have tried to excise this self-perpetuated belief out, out, out of my heart and head.

But I am beginning to see that it isn’t a case of simple removal – the feelings, the thoughts, the repetitive tape in my head remain despite my efforts because I have nothing to put in its place. Without a better something to take up the space where my negative thinking occurs, with nothing to push them aside, they are free to grow and continue and be.

I am therefore on a journey to find out new truths about myself – even my outside self. Truths which I believe can only be found not given. I am reconstructing the mirror I use to view myself, or I am trying to at present, there is a long journey ahead.

What does any of this have to do with dance you ask? Well – earlier this year I wrote a piece called Dance Lessons, about my rediscovery of what dancing means to my spirit, it was a small piece of my mirror – it reflected back to me – joy.

But before I found joy – I was confronted by a truth, one of those truths which goes in through your head via your heart then travels all the way down into your feet in one great wave – your blood knows, your cells know … you know. It isn’t exactly a pleasant feeling, more like a cold brace of water across your face.

Once again my husband, son, and I were excitedly sitting in our seats awaiting the moment the girls stepped out on stage and the music queued up. I await this moment every year, while I wait I feel my heart grow inside my body pushing up and aside everything else – I can feel it pound through my ribs. My heart pushes up further into my neck – I fear talking in case it should fly out.

Then it happens – they walk on stage and my eyes are already wet, I can feel my breath held deep inside.

They dance – and it takes my entire strength to not fall down weeping for the sheer beauty of it. I gasp – my heart cries out and I gasp. They are so beautiful – it flows down their arms and to the point of their toes, it surrounds them, emanates from their very beings. I dance my eyes between all three of my beautiful girls. I am undone.

After the spring performance this year, I was as always a wreck, weak in the limbs from the strength of feeling wrung out of me. So full of pride and astonishment over another stunning dance performance – but also a sense that there was something deeper in my well of feelings than the overwhelmed heart of a proud mother. I was mourning.

I could see so clearly how lovely my daughters were, how beauty was infused into them and yet … somewhere inside I mourned for beauty in me.

I couldn’t see it – I couldn’t find it. I could see where it might be found, where it might be seen by others but I, myself, could not put a finger on a place which spoke of beauty in my own self. Just a longing … and so I mourned while I celebrated. The two-sided coin of joy and sorrow.

But then came that cold water upside my face –

But I made you. I made you – you are MY creation. Don’t you sulk and hang your puppy dog eyes at me. I made you – fearfully and wonderfully – I made you.

Like any child – I looked at my feet.

I weep when I watch my girls dance on stage – as a mother I see them, I see all of them, and it fills me with so strong a feeling, I gasp to breathe. I am fully aware of their beauty – all entwined in the bodies and limbs and hearts and smiles. I see it.

Just as my Father, my creator … sees me dance about through this life. And all the while, I have been fooling myself into believing the lie that beauty is a tangible product, a secure outer shell of a thing.

I am on a journey to dance free of this lie – to twirl and spin and rejoice in knowing what his beauty looks like in me. There may be stumbles, bruises, and frustration along the way – I will need to stretch, and practice, practice, practice until the knowledge is down into my bones. I will need to accept I won’t be great at it right away and the process will take patience and persistence. But there is a beauty in that too … and all the while I need to remember He is watching. Proud and weepy and maybe, just, maybe He gasps a little too.

The #wholemama word this week is: Dance   Follow me over to Overflow to read more stories from lovely #wholemama storytellers.