In a world of images and role models that propagate a female ideal, Kendra is encouraging women to come together, embrace the reality of life’s full spectrum, and tell it like it is.
Following my recovery from a rather intense period of anxiety, I formed a closed Facebook group named ‘Sh#t Bits – for chicks who tell it like it is’. It’s a place for women to practise talking about the not so shiny bits of life: the bits that suck, the bits that shame us and churn our stomachs – the underbelly.
I, like many, was sick of the stream of messages to be buck up, slim down, be faster, think positive, earn more, look prettier. Sometimes what we need is a good debrief, to let it all hang out, cough it up, shed a tear, and have a little lay down.
I say ‘practise’ talking about the not so shiny bits. It is apparent that our society is primarily interested in the hero or heroine. She who goes faster, harder, thinks positively, meditates, and does push ups while breastfeeding and running a small country. We see her everywhere. We’re encouraged to be like her. Be better. Be more. Again and again hearing the message, “You can live on a boat or an island, under a palm tree with only your lap top, if you could just get it right.”
But sometimes, for mere mortals, life sucks. It blindsides us and no amount of positive thinking or spiritual bypassing is going to change that. As much as we may embrace taking the high road, elevating our vibration, visualising great things unfolding, it is just plain stupid and dangerous to deny the ‘dark side’ of our human experience.
Acknowledging the gritty bits, the sh#t bits, to hear and see them, is missing from the fabric of our society. Dare I say authentic ‘sharing’ – an overused word that often makes me cringe – is missing. The word is overused in language and the deed underused in reality. We are championed when things are travelling in an upward direction. But are told to save our exposure of a downhill slide for our psych session Thursday between 2:00 and 3:00pm. Thanks!
We’re still trying to look good and feel good when we’re left swimming in the mire, paddling madly, kicking hard. If we could lean into the truth, let it be there, completely, painfully, the hilarious joke is that it most often enables the pathway out to appear. Surrender; the old ‘look fear in the eye’ number really works.
We often have to manufacture opportunities to speak meaningfully, with vulnerability. Sometimes coffee with your nearest and dearest doesn’t provide enough time and space for the slow, revealing trickle of pain, confusion and overwhelm to emerge. There are few things worse than needing to shove a bleeding heart into your takeaway coffee cup so that you can get the bill and dash to work, pick up the kids or make the train.
Isn’t it true that for much of the time we’re somewhat exhausted and a bit anxious? We aren’t even aware for the most part that we’re wearing masks and keeping up appearances. We’re not aware that we are swimming in a slow warming pot. A shiny pot full of shiny, pretty, manufactured things. They claim our attention; it’s all we see and it starts to feel normal. And then what are we left with? Empty expectations of how life ‘should’ look, wrapped up, tucked in, messy threads trimmed. Worse, we are left in danger of rejecting ourselves, our inner most reality, our true humanity.
I want to reclaim the connection at life’s core and the vast, rich experience of being alive, warts and all.
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