14 Days of Self-Love ~ Day Eight: Be Your Own Damn Star by Amanda Oaks

Self-Portrait with Kat McCullough

2 years ago, if you would have bumped into me on my path of Self-Love, you would have met me curbside, sitting on a bench, lonely & in the dark. While, what felt like everyone else, was basking in their beautiful & luscious freedom.

I probably would have been thinking about how I gained fifty pounds through both my pregnancies. How I went from a size 8 to a size 15…

Drowning in muffin-topped, flabby-armed, round-faced, double-chinned, thunder-thighed, emotional-eating thoughts while trying to hide the gorgeous changes that took place under big purses, cardigans & pillows.

It took me awhile to get up off that bench & start walking again. It took me awhile to swim out of the pitch blackness of self-pity & self-loathing. It took me awhile to see the beauty of it all. I mean, I knew what my body did, it grew & then birthed two amazing & beautiful beings out into the world but sometimes it was hard to see that marvel in the dark. Sometimes, when I did, I would feel guilt for not seeing it all the time. What a monstrous cycle, right?

I was incarcerated by the toxicity of my thoughts.

If I wanted to slide down that slippery slope & into that cell again, right now, inside this moment, I would say: It took me too long to get my ass up & off that bench.

But it didn’t.

The timing of my getting up, the turtle-walk from the bench back to the path of radically loving myself & my life again, was perfect.

I got side-tracked often in the beginning. Usually because I was leaning too far into what other people thought of me. When someone would make an off-handed comment about what I was eating, or how it looked like I might have lost weight. I would verge off the path again for a minute or a day or three but I kept going, even if I had to weed-whack my way back with a sickle for days.

I found my way back.

Mosquito-bitten & legs ripped to shreds, but I did & I would heal, with the best tools I had at the time.

One night though, last August, as I was walking a little faster & wiser on my Self-Love Journey than I had been in years… (my lifetime?)

I found the most gorgeous circle of light.

I ran as fast as I could, caught up with it & held it…

or rather…

I let it hold me.

I found the healing power of hoop dance & I can say – brazenly – that it has changed my life.

I used to go out dancing with my girlfriends every weekend. We would dance barefoot in dive bars (yes, just like Joni sang about), beer in hand, dance until we were out-of-breath & sweating. It was sing-at-the-top-of-our-lungs JOY.

That was my weekly release. I danced the shit out. The stress of, well, life.

When I found the hoop, it brought back that sense of freedom that I so desperately needed in my life, especially since sometimes I felt trapped (you mamas of young babes know what I am talking about.)

Music & dancing have always been my favorite forms of meditation but there’s something about adding the hoop to the mix that is fuckin’ magical.

Old issues, everyday issues, mama issues, body issues, anxiety, stress, overwhelm…



All of it.

(You know, unless I’m sleep deprived or hungry, basic needs must be meant to maintain.)

The movement, the music, the dancing — meditative, energizing, playful.

It gave me a new appreciation for my body. It lit me up from the inside out. It got me moving again. It took me on a joyride far, far away from where I was.

It became my light AND my sickle, & we forged a brand new path by dancing through underwood.

It fed my courage a big dose of much-needed who the fuck cares what anyone thinks, mama, just dance, just BE FREE.

So here’s my wee message to you today, dear heart:

Find something, anything, everything, that lights a fire under your ass because life is too damn short to spend it sitting curbside wishing this, that or the other thing.

Love yourself wherever you are, be your own damn star because:

share post:
  • Amy

    i LOVE this post! Im thinking of trying this, if it helps reduce anxiety/stress why not give it a go! Art is usually my creative outreach..i feel like a free spirit when I create art (mainly painting) especially with my off the shoulder feather shirt on haha..but dancing also has been such a great love of mine, doing it in private haha or out in the bars with you when nitekast played. Thanks Amanda! you rock! you def. inspire me!ReplyCancel

  • Amy, you should try! I’d loooove hooping with yoooou, once the weather gets nicer! (Miss going out to watch my brother play, so. much!) xoxox Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Deeply moved and inspired. Love this so much.

    And as soon as the video ended, Ellie said, “watch it again!” And we did. Love thinking of her soaking up these healing truths at such a young age.ReplyCancel

  • Beautifully said Amanda. I wish I’d known you were deep in the dumps when we first met in Slice of Life 2 years ago, I’d have sent more love your way if I could’ve. but isn’t that the beauty of it all, we persevere and find our own way or open our eyes to new things and help that we didn’t see could have been possible before. Awesome finale my friend! You’ve got me wanting to hoop my heart out sometime soon :)ReplyCancel

  • vivienne

    Amanda…you are such an inspiration to me…gonna pick up a hoop someday and see where it leads me!ReplyCancel

  • […] Be Your Own Damn Star The ever-lovely, beautiful & inspiring Vivienne McMaster (whom I just adore!) invited me to take part of her annual 14 Days of Self-Love blog series, a project that she started 3 years back as a way to counteract the overwhelming focus of external love around Valentine’s Day. Instead, the participants & readers can take it as an invitation to turn our gaze on ourselves & explore ways to deepen our relationship to self-love & to self-care. […]ReplyCancel

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *