This is a thyroid. Notice how it is shaped like a butterfly. A butterfly is a symbol of transformation. It has lived a life as caterpillar then wound itself tightly into a cocoon and rested, then broke free, morphing itself with incredible amounts of energy, though it looked as if it was doing nothing but lying dormant for a long time, and then one day it stretched its wings and broke free of its confines; expanding itself to its full capacity with its peacock blue and vibrant orange magnificent wingspan, lifting off, fluttering on the currents of wind, landing on whatever pretty flowers or far flung limbs, high mountains or glassy lakes it likes.
Notice too that this organ is located on the throat, where the voice, the epitome of expression emits itself. Where we sing from and speak from, where we make ourselves heard from. Where we choose or not, to say what we have to say and where we allow our thoughts to come out from inside ourselves to be broadcast into the world; to be criticized or praised. We scream from here, we laugh from here, we hum a tune from here and when we do this place in our throat vibrates in a way that makes our souls heal from pain, sorrow and grief in a transformative way that is miraculous and holy. When we are infants the sounds we make are primal crying, cooing and laughing. Through our lives we cry from here; guttural sobs, whimpers, gasps of fear, whimpers of humiliation, all of it passes through this space. Every sound of emotion we have for our entire lives, really, passes through this space in our bodies. Every sound we hold back stops here. Notice too that when we are sad or “fighting back tears” this is the exact place that we get “choked up” or experience a “lump in our throat.” The breath of life, water, food, all nourishment passes here. All swallowing. The thyroid is a miraculous and symbolic part of our body. When it goes too slow, we are holding something back.
It was my alarm that my weight was climbing drastically fast that made me march into the doctors office and demand that my thyroid, which had been a minor problem before, be tested again. Alarm isn’t really the right word: FURY is the one. It turns out I have hypothyroidism. My thyroid is running slow. It is sluggish. Blocked. Not expressing itself quickly enough. The thyroid gland largely controls the hormones of your endocrine system. It also effects your blood sugar system, your brain chemistry, your energy levels, your ability to control your body temperature, your circulation, your ability to think with clarity, your ability to sleep, your metabolism.
Essentially your thyroid controls your emotions.
What interests me about my hypothyroidism is the message my body has for me here, right now. If you’ve read the work of Louise Hay or Dr. Christiane Northrup you too know that the mind, body and spirit are intensely connected, that when the body is out of whack or malfunctioning it is sending you a message, “Hey you, listen to me, I have something important to tell you from your deep, wise Spirit, from the Universe. If you don’t listen, you will get sicker. If you listen and act, you will heal.”
In Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life for thyroid: Humiliation. Belief: I never get to do what I want. Affirmation: I move beyond old limitations and now allow myself to express freely and creativity. Hypothyroid: Giving up. Feeling hopelessly stifled. Affirmation: I create a new life with new rules that totally support me.
In Northrup’s Women’s Body’s, Women’s Wisdom she points out that the thyroid has to do with one’s will, are you begin too willful or overly compliant? It is a fifth-chakra issue and hypothyroidism often has to do with women who often have difficulty speaking up for themselves, holding their own point of view, may have overly soft voices, and have difficulty making themselves heard.
This is what I know about my hypothyroidism: My thyroid is tell me “Hey Tracee, there is something you’re not saying that you need to say. You’re afraid. Say it anyway. Or you will be sick from not expressing it. From not saying it.”
My purpose on this Earth is to write; to express; to create with words; to create change with the power of my words. It is my Super Power. There are things that I alone was put on this Earth to say. No one else can say them in the way that I can say them and they MUST be said. When I say them, I am freed. I am the butterfly. When I don’t I have confined in the cocoon, stifled, restricted. I want to be the vibrant blue and orange butterfly!
Finish the book!
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I have to confess that my passions have pretty much been fueled by anger since my tumultuous adolescence. Anger about gender inequity in general. Anger about horrible, awful, violent, terrible things that men have done to me in the past. Anger about how men treat women in general. Anger about motherhood discrimination in the workplace. Anger about the cultural consumption of girls. Anger about all the millions of legitimately awful things there are to be angry about in the world.
Then I realized there really was no end in sight. I realized that horrible, awful things kept happening despite my being angry about them. I realized that my anger was, in fact, having no. impact. at. all. Terrible things were going to continue whether I was furious and incensed or not.
The real impact was on me. The anger was exhausting me. It was taking a toll on my mind, body and soul. This is the shit that eventually gives you cancer. It was impacting my personal relationships. It was having a serious impact on my personal growth as a human being. One can’t expect to run on fumes and anger forever and still expect their heart and soul to expand. Not if they ever want to achieve some sort of happiness, peace of mind and spiritual growth anyway.
So, I worked on letting it go.
Sounds easier than it is. It’s really kind of hard. Takes a lot of practice. Takes a lot of telling the “ego” to shut up. Takes a lot of sucking it up where previously you would have put your dukes up and opened your mouth.
Then a funny thing happened. The anger faded and what I found in its place was a lot of pain. Some really dark, ugly, excruciating pain that all that anger had been covering up. Pain that had been undealt with. I tried a lot of things to make the pain go away for my own sake. Who wants to feel all that pain? No wonder I had adopted all that lovely, wonderful, beautiful, delicious anger. It felt a hell of a lot better than the deep dark never-ending pit of pain and a vast amount of sheer terror to boot.
I saw therapists and holistic healers and psychiatrists and spiritual healers and had Mormon Missionaries come give me a laying on of hands blessing and tried EMDR and Neuro-Emotional Technique and several medications and started smoking again and drank too much beer to try to stop that awful fucking pain and quell the ever-expanding terror. It was mental and emotion and so physical that I wanted to unzip my body and set my soul free.
Then all the right people showed up here and there to help me figure out how to heal the pain and let it go. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a place like this, but I was on my knees telling God that I would accept whatever help he sent me in whatever form it came in. And he did. And I did. It came in the form of my Mothers, other members of my family and people from various episodes of my past messaging me on Facebook and strangers reaching out to me over the vast Internet, relating their own struggles, texts from dear friends, prayers from many near and far, neighbors checking in on me and dragging me out of the house for walks and forcing myself to get up everyday put one foot in front of the other, go to the gym, do some work, going on vacations and telling myself, “this too shall pass.” (Thank you to everyone, I am so grateful!)
Finally, the pain started to ebb, I let it go.
The strangest things have taken the pain and terror’s place. An odd sort of blank slate, an empty page. Unpredictable emotions. Where before I would have been able to predict with some accuracy how a situation might make me feel, now I am surprised by out-of-the-blue, unexpected emotions. Some good. Some bad. Surprising. Where before I thought I knew with some clarity, “This is what I want and I know this will make me happy.” Now I’m sort of wondering, “What will make me happy? What exactly do I want now, as I pass into this new phase of my life as my youngest child goes off to school?”
A blank page is an interesting thing, it’s a mixed bag. It’s intimidating because all the work is ahead of you, and as a writer, there is always a little insecurity whispering in the back of your mind, “what if it’s terrible?” It’s hard to describe how vulnerable a writer is, we put our whole self into our work and then we put it out there for anyone and everyone to love or hate, criticize, critique, form an opinion about. It’s like being naked in the Junior High Cafeteria during lunch time. Yet, something inexplicably beautiful and awful still compels us to do it anyway. Then there are the questions: What do I want to say? Where should this go? How should I begin? What is my lede? What will grab the reader? How will I meet my word count? Can I get it done before the kids get out of school? Will anyone care enough to read it? How should I structure it? Do I really want to put myself out there like this? Do I have the nerve to say this?
My life feels like a blank page right now. Will I continue on this path that I have been plugging away at for five years? Despite the frustration I have felt about it? Despite the odds against it? Will I keep putting my new, more vulnerable self out there? Will I have the guts to do it without the anger as my protective shield? Or will I veer right or left and take an entirely new path? One that’s been waiting for me the whole time, but I never would have seen it had I not let it go?
I don’t know. For now, it feels right to sit in front of the blank page and get in the place of quiet creativity and try to feel that gift of inspiration, for lack of a better word, that inner silence before the surge of knowing that comes right before my fingers start flying and I know, I just know, what word, what sentence, what paragraph comes next.
One of the best things I do for my kids is write them a book for their fifth birthday. I wrote one for Ainsley when she turned five, Ainsley, Perfect You and this week I gave Zack his, Incredible Zacktastic.
I want them to know who they are, where they came from and also, who I want them to be. I don’t want all the media they ingest to be from outside sources – television, internet games, cell phones and the Wii. I want to have some control over their media and I want them to know who they are, not who the media tells them to be. I feel like these books help carry them through childhood, builds their identities and makes them feel important.
Ainsley has had her book for four-and-a-half years now and we pull it out and read it when something scary or hard is happening. Bullying, friend trouble, first days of school, first trip away from home come to mind. When she gets critical of herself, I ask her, Wait, have you forgotten who you are? Should we read the book to remember?
I really feel it’s helped her appreciate her positive attributes, skills and talents. It’s a book – it’s authoritative. It carries weight.
Every person, not just every child, wants to know things like, Where did I come from? Where do I fit in? Who am I? Who am I supposed to be? Am I loved? Am I good enough? What should I do with my life? Am I awesome? What do people expect of me? Writing a book for your kids gives you an opportunity to answer those questions from your perspective.
Nearly every online photo company will allow you to write your kids their own books for $35-$50. Buy several, they make fantastic Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gifts for the grandparents. Also, buy one for yourself. You’re not going to want to let your kids walk out the door with them when they leave home.
If you, or your daughter, have a difficult time connecting to a little self-love and self-care you might sign up for the Self-Love Kit or take two of the Self-Love Dares.
If your confused and think self-love has something to do with masturbation, read the Self Love Manifesta.
Why would anyone start a self-love movement as their mission? Christine Arylo, you might remember her from the book she wrote, Choosing Me Before We, tells you why, right here. It’s pretty self-less.
Which is the beautifully juxtaposed thing. Self-Love isn’t Selfish, it’s the kindest thing we can do for others. Take care of you so you can take care of them. If we all did that, well, there’d just be a lot more love on this here planet. This here planet is in need of some love. Start in the one, single, solitary person you have complete autonomy over – YOU. It is where you are most powerful.
(Yeah, yeah, how dare they call a size 8 “plus-sized” – but in modeleeze, we’re all a plus size and you gotta start somewhere.) The Editor addresses this issue here: On the C.L.: Are You Ready to Start a Body Image Revolution? Oh, Wait–You Already Did!
Here’s a mini-lesson in Capitalism: Glamour runs a photo of one of us. We feel good about seeing someone like us – instead of the usual size zero model – so we go to the site and answer a survey telling them how much we love it. They pair up with Dove, also a company which has tuned into our being disgusted with being marketed to in the traditional size four impossible kind-of-way, who agrees to sponsor a feature story with larger models.
Then we see 7 women, a whole group, who look . . . REAL.
Beautiful. Lovely. Interesting. Exotic. Glamourous. Stunning. Good Enough.
And we go, “Hey I like this. I want to see more of this. Those women DO look like me and they are obviously hot, so maybe I am hot. I feel a little better about myself now.”
Okay, so here’s the capitalism part: when you go to Glamour Magazine and you answer the Glamour/Dove survey that will pop up, and leave a comment expressing how much you enjoy this type of story and this version of advertising for beauty products . . .
They realize they can sell more magazines and soap with this approach – so they do more of it. T
They make more money. We feel better about our selves.
Capitalism is somewhat like training a toddler. We should make it simple for companies to market to us, women and girls.
If you sexualize my daughter on your T-shirt Abercrombie/Holister: then we should let their company drown and refuse to shop there for anything. Mother Boycott.
But, if you make me and my daughter feel great about who we really are – as opposed to pressuring us to meet some famished ideal we can never achieve – then we will buy your magazines, shampoo and deodorant and recommend them to our friends.
This is how we spark an advertising and marketing Revolution.