I almost didn’t do chemo because I was afraid of how I would look. I almost chose to pursue many high-risk surgeries (in addition to the surgery that removed my breasts) because I was afraid of how potential partners would feel if I were flat. I’d love to sit here and say “do you know how f***ed up that is?” Because in hindsight, it sounds f***ed up. It sounds ridiculous.
But those feelings were so real, and so raw, and so much more than they appeared: they had masked a deeply held belief that I, Leisse Wilcox, was unlovable. That the loss of the “most feminine” parts of me would equate to final confirmation of that deeply held (subconscious) belief that I was not enough of my own, and my value, my worth, my desirability, my attractiveness, and yes, my lovability – was all conditional on something external to me.
This is at the heart of the conversation we’re having about body positivity: self-acceptance. That at any weight, shape, size, scar, and anything in between, we must accept and love ourselves deeply. Without condition.
Every single woman who is using her voice, her platform, her megaphone to normalize women’s’ bodies is moving us further in this direction. Each of us deserves to love and be loved. Each of us is worthy of our deepest desires, and has a specific purpose to fulfill while we’re here figuring it all out.
You really are enough as you are. You really do have everything you need inside you right now. You really are connected to every person on this planet – even if you don’t know them, and even if you don’t like them very much.
You are more than the sum of your parts. So trust your dopeness.
Your femininity is an energy that is yours to cultivate and develop, and your beauty is a beam of confidence and truth that shines from within.
It is that simple, it is that complicated. My experience with cancer unmasked that deep truth for me, and allowed me to stop shaming how I felt, and instead empowered me to NAME how I felt. And when I named it, and figured out THAT was what I’d been unwittingly carrying around all this time, I was finally able to let it go.
I talk to women for a living. I have a front-row seat to all of the things people are feeling, learning how to process those feelings in a healthy way, and let them be a part of their lives, without defining their lives. And I have to tell you, I am taken – over and over again – by the fact that we all think we are ALONE in this process.
We all think we’re the only one who feels this way, the only one who wonders, the only one who’s scared, the only one who is unsure of being different.
The secret? We’re all the same. We’re all having this very unique experience from the events in our lives that shape us, but the feelings, the process, the waking up from life is ALL the same. Every feeling we have is just an invitation to explore where it comes from – and it’s incredibly valuable feedback as to what it is we truly believe at our core, and what we’re hanging onto / being held back by without even knowing it.
You are more than “what has happened to you.” You are more than a series of adjectives based on measurable physical features. You are more than an expectation falsely set up by any number of industries that only stand to benefit from you hating yourself and feeling like “as soon as I get X, THEN I will be happy.”
You’re more than all of this. You’re a soul with a purpose and a set of values, here to experience expansion, growth, and love. And the paradox is that sometimes, in order to experience expansion, growth, and love, you need to go through all the counterparts and come out on the other side, alive to tell the tale. It’s not sexy, it’s not dramatic, it’s a quiet truth of what this is all about, and we are seldom encouraged to call it out for what it is.
Allow yourself to let go of one singular identity or attribute you’ve been hanging onto for so long, and feel the freedom just to be yourself, exactly as you are, exactly as YOU want to be.
On this week’s episode of To Call Myself Beloved, I’m going deep on exactly this. Join me. I would love for you to subscribe, rate, and review too, or share a photo of you listening, for your chance to be featured on my Instagram page.