Thursday, January 5, 2012

On the walls of my heart... Image vs Truth

 ~ Jean Baptiste Massieu, translated from French ~  Artist Unknown ~
The other day a dear friend and I were emailing back and forth and the topic of self image came up.  It came up when she had sent out a request to friends to send her a video of ourselves to her to include in a major project she is working on.  As much as I would love to be included, everything inside of me was turning upside down and sideways at the thought of sending a vid of myself to anyone...much less be included in a big project that would be seen by thousands...millions!!!  It really stirred up some dust that had settled inside my heart!  Dust I forgot was there...only because I try not to notice it!  But dust being what it is... tends to sneak in places we weren't expecting to find it...then all the sudden...we SNEEZE!  I surely wasn't expecting to sneeze that day... but I'm so glad I did!

Did it make that day a bad day?  Absolutely NOT!  It was a precious reminder of some of the images, words, feelings that are still impressed on the walls of my heart!  I'm grateful for the reminder because now I can take action, to have grace on myself, and wash those walls...again!  I haven't always been a grateful, for years I've been angry, frustrated, irritated, envious, jealous... saturated with grief that things weren't different.  Saturated with to write that brings an amazing reality to some of the depth of pain I've allowed to reside within my heart..and spew out amongst those closest to me.  I apologize again to those who have been affected, thank you again for your grace with me.

What happened that day took me back to a snippet of a journal piece I wrote years ago about my self image.
"Hey Beautiful!" As I turned around I could see my tall slender friend, Kay, peering at me over the tops of the hundreds of other Jr. High students running from one class to another.  Her face beaming a huge smile, her aqua eyes locked right on... me.  There was no doubt she was talking to me, yet how could such a beautiful creature be calling me...beautiful?  And yet again...this same scenario repeated itself day after day.  I could hear her voice over all the clamoring, all the shouting, all the mumbles and jumbles of hundreds of students.  Was it true...or just a nice gesture?  I didn't spend much time then trying to figure that out, because those words sunk deep and touched a part of me that just needed to be touched....and for a half second or so... I believed them.
Me @ 15 hopelessly convinced I was fat in my size 5 jeans in high school

Even in Jr. High, at a ripe old age of 11-13, I had already convinced myself that the media was right, I was average, not so lovely, not so attractive and I would for sure, never be the cute popular girl in school.  This graffiti was splashed all over the walls of my tender heart and I believed it more and more everyday I woke up.  Even though I had friends, even had a few boyfriends...even though I was not overweight or deprived in anyway... I continued to compare myself with the hundreds of images I was confronted with on a daily basis that told me if I was not this or that or had this or that ...then I was hopelessly average, below par and would never have popularity, prosperity or success. (things that were stressed to me as important) I, like millions of others, was in serious trouble of losing my very appreciation of life as a vital human being.

I also account another memorable incident concerning my self image on my other blog, where I speak about how disappointed I was the day I realized and confessed in anger that I was mad that I ended up with hips just like my mom.  It's worth a read if you have the time... Selah Gay Art Blog

Without going into the whole story of my life...I will say I ended up marrying an amazing man who loved me, and still loves me, with his whole heart, despite my spiraling self worth.  Out of this beautiful marriage I have three incredible boys (men!) who all have a wonderful sense of self worth and caring. Miracles DO Happen!  Having said that, the years I spent from Jr. High on up have been a continuous spiral of destructive self-talk and depreciation of my self image.
My Friends...My Precious...My Comfort...Food!

Over all those years of raising kids and being a wife I continued to recycle my false beliefs, I made some new friends... food (namely sweets and chips), and they were a delightful and tasty comfort to my depressive thoughts.  They never talked back to me...they always seemed bring, what I considered to be, "joy" back into my day...and were seemingly a nice friend all in all.  But I didn't want to notice that they were actually a wolves in sheeps clothing.  The "joy" would hang around for a few hours...until... the crash.  But thats ok.. I can do it all over again...right?

The big lie that was carved into my now stony heart was:
This one bite won't hurt... It won't make a difference! 
 One bite after another I partook in... sometimes within minutes of the last time I ran over to that wall and read that lie back to myself so I could take another bite!  I knew it wasn't helping my weight but it's hard to kick out a "good friend" that's always been faithful and there when you need them.  It's hard to cull out the ones that may seem so right at the time...but are the exact ones that are holding you back from seeing the truth...

Living life without believing that truth can lead to a lot of self inflicted sorrow!  I'm living proof...and thank God I'm still living to be able to tell my story!  Over those years I became a yo yo dieter...losing it all...gaining it back plus some...over and over again...many times never being able to get past the first good intentioned month of dieting.  This has wrecked havoc on my God given body...the precious temple that houses my beautiful spirit.  I've been rushed to the hospital twice with heart rates over 200, the last one was up to 256 beats a minute.  I knew then that if I didn't get a grip of my eating habits I was playing roulette with my life.  But, I continued to spin the wheel...I just couldn't let go
By the time they took my ekg my rate had gone DOWN to 216!

Its so interesting how the whole recycling false beliefs game works...You would think that if you know your life may end at any time because of your obesity you would hop right on that Get Er Done wagon...but instead you look in the mirror, don't like the image, so you eat, then you hate what you've done, so you eat some more, then you wallow, then you ignore the mirror, then you try to convince yourself it doesn't matter, but you know it does, so you eat and grow and expand and so on and so can be a vicious cycle, like an unrelenting hurricane! A cycle not easily broken, especially if you don't believe you are a vital, beautiful being that is worthy of living a healthy and fulfilling life!
Perhaps this is why I was so driven to paint a hurricane! 

So yes, I have struggled and am still working on washing those walls...ridding them of those embedded lies...some days are better than others. I've made the choice to make changes in my lifestyle.  Some of you have already seen on FaceBook I'm dropping the pounds.   I know this is an important part of my overall health and well being ...but I also know...who I am is vital and beautiful with or without the weight. Who I am lives within this human body but is not representative of the body itself.  Who I am is pure light, a created being, and an image of my Creator.  My purpose is to live this life I've been given as fully as I possibly can and in a continual process of creativity.  My life IS what I expect it to be.. therefore if I'm not happy with the life I am living... only I can change that!

We live the live we expect to live. 
Therefore if we are not happy with our life, 
we need only change our expectations!  ~ sg ~

I'm so grateful for the day I saw the dust... I don't want it to settle.  I want it exposed...I want the sheeps clothing to be ripped off the wolf... I want to look into my own eyes and see the truth...receive it into my heart...and let it shine for others to see it too.

Just the other day, I was putting a little eye makeup on, which I don't wear very often, so I was full face and close up to the mirror. (especially since I can't see without my readers!)  And for a split second...I saw her...and she was beautiful, kind and full of life...and I believe it!
She is me...


  1. Anonymous1/05/2012

    What an inspiration you are! xxx

  2. ok selah! u r so inspiring!! your artwork, your words.

    i can't get over your playlist! EXACTLY like mine... i mean.. imogene heap, jem..they!!, dancing in the moonlight is one of my favorite songs of all time!!!. lily allen...i mean are you sure you weren't in my itunes account?!!! hahaaa i'm cracking up.

    so nice to have met u.

    linda cardina

  3. Hey beautiful! I'm SO happy you are discovering what I already knew about you! Just like those flowers you paint so beautifully, you are blossoming dear friend! Love your smile, love your heart, love you darlin' Selah girl <3 xxx Carpe Diem!

  4. I love this, it could be my story, for in many ways my life is a parallel to yours. I will definitely be returning to visit. Jeanette directed me here. xx

  5. wow can i just say I am so proud to know you and call you friend for not only are you beautiful on the outside but on the inside too, your words and pictures not only inspire but give hope.
    Love you lisa xxx

  6. Thank you all for your amazingly kind comments! Linda - thats pretty funny about the music! I look forward to getting to know you and Persephone more too! Thank you again.. my faithful friends! xoxoxo! Selah <3

  7. Hey there amazingly brave and beautiful lady, I don't know you...... but I do. Thankyou for sharing the gratitude and light x

  8. Dear Incredible, Real , Beautiful, Loveable, Worthy, Kind, Caring and Gifted Selah,
    As I sit here writing on your blog wall my face is awash with tears. Healing tears I hope, as you have made me SNEEZE and all those terrible and overpowering beliefs and emotions starting rolling over me like a huge wave pushing me down, and further down to the bottom of the ocean, where starving for oxygen I felt I should surely expire and then this light reached down through the depths and a voice said "you are not alone" suddenly I wanted to push on through your extremely moving post that so resonated with me in the walls of my heart, to read of your journey up to the surface where life restoring lung filling gulps of air await.. I was not disappointed. You made me look at myself and the ever beckoning call of those so called friends on a plate or in a bag lol, Your writings touched me and helped me to clean off some of that dust and every day that I get to chat to you and get to know you better I cherish our friendship more and more on FB. Thank you for sharing such an incredibly personal part of your life and making me think, SNEEZE and give me hope dear, sweet Selah.
    Your friend always Julz xoxoxo

  9. Thanks for sharing such an incredible and inspiring story Selah! I too, am on a weight loss journey after years of yo-yo dieting. Wishing you continued success on your deserve it, you are such a bright and talented soul!! xo