Embracing My Shadow

Embracing My Shadow & dressing up as her as I learn more about myself - DivineMrsDiva.com


Hello and Happy December to all of you!  I'm really excited about today's post because it is something a little different.  I've been working on more creative shoots that have a deeper meaning beyond just showing you my outfit.  Pushing myself in that way has been fun and challenging.  Today's post is the first of three I have already shot, so I'm hoping the holiday season will be slower and more conducive to me getting the last shoot edited.

I've been spending a lot of time this year fostering my personal spiritual practice, learning about myself more, and working to heal parts of me that have been strictly surviving for far too long.  Part of that process includes shadow work, which was the inspiration for this post and photoshoot.  



Embracing My Shadow & dressing up as her as I learn more about myself - DivineMrsDiva.com
Moon & Sun Off Shoulder Tee - Torrid   /   Strappy Bralette - Torrid
Purple Plaid Pleated Skirt - Hot Topic   /   Knit Moto Jacket - Catherines
Fishnet Tights - Snag Tights   /   Burgundy Combat Boots - Torrid
Crescent Moon Iridescent Earrings - Erin Etc.


What is Shadow Work?

Shadow work involves getting in touch with parts of yourself that you've repressed.  This shadow personality can consist of things about you that you have been shamed or judged for, parts that feel the most hurt, unloved, or misunderstood, the parts that have been rejected by society or those close to you.  Emotions like anger, jealousy, rage, shame, guilt, etc. can be suppressed to the point you just put on a fake smile and pretend that those emotions aren't there.  Many people repress these emotions due to trauma and abuse.  Shadow work is about recognizing these parts of ourselves, finding out why they are there, and taking ownership of them instead of rejecting or denying that part of you.  This work can bring you more clarity, calmness, understanding, greater compassion, healing, sanity, and a sense of wholeness in being more fully who you are.



Embracing My Shadow & dressing up as her as I learn more about myself - DivineMrsDiva.com
Embracing My Shadow & dressing up as her as I learn more about myself - DivineMrsDiva.com


Doing the Work

Part of that work for me has been in starting my podcast, believe it or not.  Even though I am working to accept my strong opinions and how they aren't always the most popular thing, I still get incredibly nervous whenever we record a new episode.  Growing up I wasn't allowed to have an opinion.  When I would finally talk myself into speaking up, I was quickly told how wrong and stupid I was, and usually punished with a beating (they called them "spankings" but those are different), being slapped, being grounded, etc.  I was told that my job was to shut up and do as I was told whether I wanted to or not, that my opinion didn't matter because I was a child and a female.  And so, I learned to never speak up and to just go along with what everyone else wanted.  I wasn't allowed to have needs or set boundaries.  I wasn't allowed to be in control of anything involving me.  I was told who to be, then made fun of or punished for it.

Hailey Hates Everything is an exercise in speaking up, in having an opinion, in being more authentically me because I'm showing sides of me that I haven't shown many people.  And while it is a podcast about things I don't like, my husband and I try hard to make it funny and entertaining.  We have fun making it, so I do hope you have fun listening to it.

I'm high on each episode because I enjoy marijuana, something I have felt tremendous shame for.  I was very scared to tell anyone, even my own friends, that I enjoy weed.  I started taking it about a year after my cancer diagnosis to help with my anxiety.  It helps a lot, but I grew up in a family/time/part of the country where it is seen as one of the worst things you can do and a gateway drug to Satan taking over your life.  *Insert eye roll* because those same people don't have a problem with racism, homophobia, alcoholism, or spousal and child abuse.   

In shorter episodes, I have talked more about my anxiety and depression, which feels very liberating.  Those are aspects of myself that I have long felt tremendous guilt and shame for because they were never addressed or treated with compassion.  As a kid, I was constantly made fun of, mostly by my mother, for being "too sad" and "too negative" and "too sensitive", among many other things.  I was the only one capable of saving my own life when the abuse became so overwhelming that I thought killing myself was the only way out.

Even starting this blog was a way for me to empower myself, to feel good enough, and seen in a way I never was as I child, to celebrate my fat body despite all the years I was told how ugly I was and how I would be dead by the time I was 18.  Just being able to normalize fat bodies to myself and feel confident in mine is a huge step for me, and a step that would have taken far longer if it wasn't for this blog and all the other fat bloggers out there that helped me see that along the way.



Embracing My Shadow & dressing up as her as I learn more about myself - DivineMrsDiva.com
Embracing My Shadow & dressing up as her as I learn more about myself - DivineMrsDiva.com



Embracing My Shadow

This brings us to today's post...

The idea of dressing as my Shadow Self, or how I thought she would present herself to me, was an idea that came to me as I was journaling a few months ago.  At first, I wasn't sure what that would look like, so I spent some time thinking on what I thought my Shadow Self would be.

Most of my trauma and abuse occurred in my pre-teens and teens, so I have always felt stuck in that time in a lot of ways.  My growth has been slower because I have been in survival mode since the mid-90s, so it seemed best to start there as I figured out who the Shadow Me would be. Many of my fears revolve around not being good enough, being unlovable and powerless, being abandoned and rejected, being too vulnerable and trusting, a mountain of grief, fear, and shame, repressing my sexual energy, and even having needs or desires at all.  And I wondered a bit about who I would be if those feelings had been integrated a long time ago.

I don't really see her as "bad", but rather all the things I wasn't allowed to be.  She's angry and sad and lonely.  She's opinionated and passionate and sexy.  She gets high and makes out with her boyfriend under the bleachers at school.  She visits graveyards because the dead are more welcoming than the living.  She worships the moon and nature and she never backs down from standing up for herself.

And yet, she is me

She's a cool 90s chick in an outfit I always wanted to wear.  She's learning to utilize her intense emotions so they don't control her.  She says what she wants to say, gives zero fucks, and embraces who she is without feeling shame about it.  If someone doesn't like her, they can keep on walking.  

I love her and I've spent my life trying to protect her because I didn't want people to reject her like they've rejected me. She exists for a reason and, in this form, she represents us working together as the one being we are.  I don't believe that all of our darkness is bad.  That darkness can be what makes you creative and unique.  Integrating your shadow isn't about indulging in these emotions and desires, but accepting them as part of who you are so that you can take responsibility for them in a conscious, intentional way.

While sharing this with you is scary because my vulnerability has always been something that sends people raging and abandoning me, I can't deny the call I received to put this into the world.  I hope it inspires you to learn more about your shadow and the ways you can more fully embrace all that you are.



Embracing My Shadow & dressing up as her as I learn more about myself - DivineMrsDiva.com
Embracing My Shadow & dressing up as her as I learn more about myself - DivineMrsDiva.com
Embracing My Shadow & dressing up as her as I learn more about myself - DivineMrsDiva.com
Embracing My Shadow & dressing up as her as I learn more about myself - DivineMrsDiva.com
Embracing My Shadow & dressing up as her as I learn more about myself - DivineMrsDiva.com
Embracing My Shadow & dressing up as her as I learn more about myself - DivineMrsDiva.com




What do you think your Shadow Self might look like?



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