Week 5, Day 1 – Beyond Image

The choices for today were:

  1. Write down your self-hate messages, doubts, and fears. How do those affect your life? What could live beyond these messages?
  2. Use streaming to explore how your external image has helped you and not helped you live your life. Now using dialoguing, look at what is between your image and your real voice and see what a sense of self would feel like if it were authentic.
  3. Write down and make a list of the times you have felt safe to express yourself freely. A friend calls this a time when the living things crawl out. What helped you speak up? How do these moments affect your spiritual path?

I wrote a poem about this a few years back. It is called I am enough. 

I am enough

Sharon Jacobson


I am enough


to all those people

who have taken the time out of their lives

to tell me

where my deficiencies in life are,

I just want to say

thanks for your condemnations,



I am enough


to my brothers who have said that I am not Jacobson enough,

to my teachers who told me I was not smart enough

to the pastors who have told me that I was not straight enough or lesbian enough

to my ex-partners who have collectively told me I was not sexy enough, assertive enough, playful enough or forgiving enough

to the white people who tell me I am not white enough

and the black people who tell me I am not black enough


I want you to know, that no matter what you say, I know that I am enough


to those of you who told me that I was too much of something

to my father who told me I was too emotional

to those of you who have told me I am too serious

to my dean who told me I am too “out”

to those of you complain that I am too shy

to my colleagues who complain that I am too radical in my teaching

to those of you have complained because I am too whatever


I want you to know, that no matter what you say, I know that I am enough


I am enough,

because God made me the way she wanted me to be

she gave me enough words to make people feel loved

she gave me enough emotion to feel compassion for others

she gave me enough of every spiritual gift that I need to do hir will

She has given me enough of everything I need,

to be enough


so why are you so worried about what is wrong with me? 

have you looked at your own life? 

pick up a mirror and

look at your own life with the same critical edge that you look at mine?

I could tear each of you apart,

the way you have torn me

but I know that each of you is


enough and so am I.


There are days that I feel like I am constantly repeating this mantra – don’t take it personally gurl, that is about them, not about you. I found myself chuckling while I was reading the preface to this weeks section when she talked about this woman who “wore her heart on her sleeve.”   All of a sudden, I heard a teacher I had briefly this past summer saying the same thing about me.  “you greet the world with your heart” she said, “and that is not healthy.”  I found myself feeling so shamed for a moment because it felt as if she was saying to me “you are not healthy.”  Yet at the same time, I think it is that I am who I am at all times, that others tell me makes them feel as if they can trust me. Are there those who consider me weak – probably? I have ovaries and will stand up and speak out when I need to, but I also think that people should be supported in solving their own problems and challenges. I see it as disrespectful when I try to “fix things” for others as if I am saying “let me do this for you because I know you can’t”  and that is not what I want to say.

I have spent so much time in my life undoing the labels and negative messages that I allowed others to place on me. I remember this one day I had a plate smashing party. I had gone to the thrift store and gotten a whole stack of cheap dishes. Then I took my perm marker and on each plate, I wrote a different negative image or message I had internalized about myself. Then I began throwing the plates and breaking them. Then I swept them all up and threw them away. I remember feeling so good when I was doing it. It was if I was not just physically breaking the labels and trashing them, but it was as if I was removing them from my heart and soul and creating space for positive messages.

Been thinking that maybe I need to make this an annual or semi-annual event. Maybe I should do it with friends. Have a cleansing party where we all smash our negative messages/images and throw them away. 

I have worked hard to remove most of them from my life. There was a message that had gotten in that I was not spirited and that truly hurt me deeply. Well I allowed it too.  When I asked why this was said I was yelled at for asking and then told it was because I did not hoop and holler when I preached. I had to reclaim my identity as spiritual and remind myself that being spiritual has nothing to do with how I preached, how high I jumped or how many times I hoped or hollered while I was preaching. 

Another message that hurt was when people would tell me I was not a woman of God because my understanding of God was not the same as theirs. I have had to keep coming back to my mantra and cutting my emotional responses off before I internalize them. I find that sometimes they still affect me, but now I keep them what I call emotional commercials and do not allow them to become full-length documentaries.

Sometimes I doubt that I am attractive. I know what makes me beautiful is who I am on the inside. However, living in a culture that promotes outward beauty as being more important, I do have to cleanse myself of this message periodically.

Sometimes I still see myself as weak because I am so emotive and I do wear my heart on my sleeve, but at the same time I see myself as strong because I can be honest about what I feel.

Do I have any fears or doubts – sure but normally they are about whether others perceptions of me will carry more weight then my own sense of who I am and what I bring to the table.  When I apply for a job is the person interviewing me going to see me and actively listen to what I am saying or are they going to be focusing on my wheelchair and how that might affect the hiring equation.

Are people going to decide not to develop a relationship with me because of X, Y or Z, but then again that is about them and the mantra comes out and says don’t take it  personally. Reject the message. Reject the message.

Maybe I need to remember the day at Tim Horton’s more often. It was the day when I was still wearing a NN cup and two of the guys I worked with were once again talking to me while staring at my breasts as if they were waiting for them to answer. I set my coffee down, picked up my right breast and said “hello” and then my left breast and said “how are you today?” the women all died laughing and then men, well they all made sure they made eye contact with me from that point forward.

Speaking my truth feels so good, but sometimes even then, others attempt to name you things, like troublemaker, non-conformist, non-compliant. And then I have to once again remind myself it is not about me, it is about them.