Women! What are your birthmarks? What are you trying to hide from the world that God made perfect and beautiful? Where do all of these emotions go when you don’t have the language to talk to your birthmarks? Emotions like confusion or sadness or anger or hate?
They get buried in our bodies and they harm our immune systems and we live in states of freeze or depression, as was the case for most of my teenage and 20 something years. Gabor Mate in The Myth of Normal gives study upon study that shows the relationship between stuffing emotions (especially in women who aren’t supposed to express “bad” or interrupting emotions) and cancer or auto-immune diseases.
When I began using my journal as a sounding board and as a really cheap therapist, I realized I could say on the page what I couldn’t say out loud in the home. Poetry was my human voice and I became of interest to myself (idea adapted from Elizabeth Alexander’s poetry). I could take a compassionate gaze at a girl becoming woman who hated herself 💕
I pulled out old school photos and wrote self-portrait poems. I looked closely at my face in the photos, at my posture, where my hands were resting. I imagined what she must have been feeling, what she was holding back, what she was too choked up to speak about.
This helped me love her, even when she couldn’t love herself in those moments of fear and self-loathing.
This helped me see her, even when she hadn’t been seen or validated before.
These poems began my journey of learning how to mother myself as an adult.