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Delight sits behind the bars of our consciousness.  The bars created by rules, dogma, judgments and instructions from familial connections and other communities.  The constant etch and drip on our bones that inform us, at a young age, of how to act and interact.

My favorite movies, which I can watch over and over again, are those where middle aged women have escaped into some idyllic landscape to discover themselves without the input of the society they grew up in:  Shirley Valentine, Under the Tuscan Sun, Faraway.  I love them.  But my life, here on the Gulf Islands, is idyllic.  What is it that my psyche is voyeuristically escaping as I watch these films?  Is it the old rules that still raise their voices when I’m still and quiet, getting ready for sleep, or walking by myself with only my own thoughts for company?

Very early on in the life of my shop, I had a lovely lady stop in.  At the time, the line of clothing ended at XL.  I tried to explain to her that the XL was very generous, but she said, no, she needed a bigger size.  She wouldn’t even try.  I thought about that after she left.  I wondered who had told her she could only try on plus sizes.  A few hours later she came back, tried on the jacket, and said, “My mother told me I needed to wear bigger sizes.”  The jacket fit and she was a lovely customer for years.

I’m a mother, so I’ll never really blame mothers.  In the process of our own personal growth, we place all sorts of expectations and stories on our children.  I’m not sure there is a child alive who has not been affected by their upbringing, which is exactly my point.  Why, as adults, do we hold onto this cell-deep belief system about ourselves and our place in the world?  Why is it so hard to let go of the ways we think about ourselves and, by reflecting ourselves off others, our judgements of them as well?

I often hear self derogatory talk in my shop.  I notice it, because that was me for years.  The amount of female self castigation I hear has cured me.  Well mostly.  Why do we call the flesh that has followed gravity at the back of our arms bat wings instead of angel wings?  Or perhaps we should not call it anything at all, just gracefully accept the act of eldering?  Why do we call ourselves things like disgusting?  And why are we always too this or too that?  My hair too thin, my face too small or too big?  My hands to fat or too boney?  Personally, I’m working on being nice to my dear neck. 

My grand daughter, 10, says “I like my body, Gramma.”  She’s very matter of fact.  That’s what I want.  To wipe away the indoctrination of society and years.  “I like my body.”  “I like my body.”  “I like my body.”

Delight sits there, waiting for the prison cells of our minds to open wide the doors, the prison that keeps us endlessly ruminating with the preoccupation of fault finding with ourselves.  As I age, there is so much more room for Delight.  I get her out from behind those bars.  She breathes in a great lungful of fresh air, stretches and looks around.  “Goodness, I’ve been in there for some long years.” 

Looking at me with clear, honest eyes she says, “Thanks for letting me out.  Can I stay?”