On Valentine’s Day my man took me to a masquerade ball event. Everyone was dressed to the nines. All wore masks. In fact, they were required.
There were performance artists, burlesque dancers, a jester, and a mysterious writer who would throughout the evening call couples upstairs to chat with her.
It was all very secretive.
And, aside from the burlesque dancers, I wore the least amount of clothing in the crowd.
It felt both risky and powerful, sexy and unnerving, but mostly, it felt liberating to embody someone completely distinct from my day to day.
When I was a little girl living in Chile, my grandmother came to visit from England. She was in mourning as my grandfather had passed. With her, she brought handmade presents: Red satin tutus for my sister and I, and a butterfly costume for my little sister.
It was so like my grandmother to create something of beauty out of the ashes of her darkness….
I can still remember the feeling of satin against my skin, the power inherent in red, the spaciousness of the tulle, my transformation into a prima ballerina.
We put on a show for her. I recall feeling so loved, so seen, so free.
As a young adult woman I put away those childish costumes in favor of more sensible, acceptable clothing. Clothing that fit in. Clothing that got things done. Clothing that rendered me invisible. Clothing that hid my growing disgust with my body. Clothing that concealed my shame.
Using clothing as a shield became so pervasive that by my late 20’s I’d grown accustomed to wearing nothing less than a large t-shirt over my one-piece when going to the beach or even while swimming in the water (and I was a size 4 at the time.) This pattern continued well into my 40’s.
When I allowed myself to, I would imagine the fun of having a costume trunk, but would shut the lid on the idea the moment it entered my mind…. I needed an excuse to wear a costume. I needed an event to attend. I needed a logical, reasonable reason…
Still, a part of me longed to play, longed to be somebody else, longed to express herself with color, fabric, make-up, shoes, wigs…
Where had the tutu wearing, free-spirited Me disappeared to?
Over the last few years, as I shifted and changed, as I let go of the parts of me that were constricted and concerned with what others thought, my clothing and my expression did also. It began with tiny steps: with my undergarments. This, Sisters, was a change no one could see. But it transformed the way I felt, the way I walked. It affected my mood.
I held a secret no one knew.
As my confidence grew, the fun I had with lingerie began to spill to the outside – and my style gained “flavor.” I played with layers, color, textures. I had photo shoots taken with fabric in the water and shots covered solely in mud. I dressed as a Goddess for a women’s event. On warm days I brought hand-held fans… I began to see my body and my frame as a place to create, to express. A place for art.
A few years back, a girlfriend gifted me a white tutu skirt. I was delighted. It reminded me of the tutu I had from my childhood. I chose to wear it to a new year’s eve party just because.
It was the tutu that drew my man’s attention to me that night, he tells me.
Four months later we went on our first date.
But back to Valentine’s Day…
This year, I pushed my own expression envelope. Wearing a latex catsuit, gloves and thigh-high boots framed by a long black blazer to the masquerade event was both edgy and incredibly thrilling.
In fact I landed an opportunity to do a photo shoot the moment I walked into the place…
This is the power inherent in owning every face you own.
I will be honest, there are still days where it I am still challenged by negative thoughts about my aging body, but I have lots of tools to wiggle myself free of them. Frankly, those days are more the exception than the rule.
Yet I cannot tell you the joy in being able to let my freak flag fly, to be loved wholly for it and to have the honor to teach women how to own every delicious part of themselves without reserve so they, too, can get their mojo back.
Your Soulwork for this week is to share, in the comments below, an experience where you lost your mojo. Be honest.
Recognize that the road to Love is circuitous, riddled with swamps and potholes. In transparently and vulnerably owning every facet of who you are, you begin your journey home to your worth so that you may open up to the DEEP SOULFUL LOVE you’ve always desired.
Listen, dear one, as I have sounded it out for your pleasure…
P.S. While this material doesn’t cost you a cent, it came from my heart. All I ask is that you share this post with at least three friends. Fair trade, right? xoxo Joëlle
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