My daughter, Giovanna, and me

A friend of mine that I don’t see as much as I’d like just asked me how I’m doing. I told him, “I’m real right now.” It feels good to say that and to feel it. I have a lot going on in my life and telling people “good” just doesn’t cut it. I’m divorcing a man I’ve known since I was 12 and have lived with more than half my life. It takes courage to make this choice. Courage because staying has been comfortable. But it hasn’t been real. Real has been elusive much of my life as I’ve worked so hard to be all things to all people, to tell people what they want to hear out of a need to be liked and to feel safe.

I am carving out a new life for myself and letting go of what I wish were true. Rather than seeking approval or the need to be “right”, I am honoring my choices and those of others. I am finding the courage I need to face being a social leper because couples don’t always know how to “be” with a single mother and some women hold their husbands a little tighter when an attractive, openly sexual woman becomes “available”. It takes courage to face the conflict that arises as we honor the truth of who we are and make authentic choices rather than conventional ones.

We are three-dimensional beings made of shadow and light. I have learned to stop ignoring or denying the shadow in pursuit of the light. I want to honor my wholeness and, as in this untouched photograph, I want to look at myself and feel comfortable in my own, beautiful, 39 year-old skin. There was a time I would have felt shy about posting this picture because Giovanna’s alabaster skin is a sharp contrast to mine. But these days I want to see, as in the Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi, the inherent beauty in imperfection. I want to be real. And I am.

There is beauty in truth.

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