Sunday, October 04, 2009

Saying Yes to Cone Bras

Actualizing Yes, mixed media collage on paper, 6" x 13.5"

Sometimes it's hard to say yes. I mean, sometimes it actually hurts to do it. My body is saying yes please!, but my mind is saying no way! and I'm stuck in the middle of a steaming puddle of doubt. I ask myself, can I really do this? am I really smart/talented/gifted enough to be an artist/healer/writer? don't I need to prove my worth before I take action? I have many more questions, and if you ever feel doubt like I do, I'm sure you can add your own questions here, too. And please do.

Today I've been reflecting on the fact that I have so many chances to say yes to myself in that confident, Madonna sort of way. Just the other day I was recalling with some friends how Madonna used to wear that cone-shaped bra during her performances. She wore those cones in front of millions of people, launching her breasts into the world, her voice belting with such assurance and conviction. To me, that is an example of saying, YES, in all caps, just like that. Yes to my vision, yes to my body, yes to my power, yes to my creativity, yes to my self-confidence, yes to not caring what others think.

So I was thinking about buying one of those cone-shaped bras--really considering it--but then I realized that I can probably say yes to myself with out it. I mean, I bet that thing is uncomfortable, and really, who wants a massage therapist with pointed breasts? Please don't answer that question.

I created the art piece above in my 6" x 13.5" landscape sketch pad while at my family cabin in the mountains this summer. I had just finished the piece (just glued on that Y-E-S, in fact) before the power went out, before my family sat in front of the fire telling stories of my dad, all of us missing him terribly. There were stories I hadn't heard before and many stories that I had heard many times before, yet I wanted to absorb them into my skin like lotion so they would become part of me. Apparently, my dad laughed a lot more than I knew. The kind of laughter that makes your stomach heave and your jaw lock in that open, gasping position. We spent three hours telling stories and laughing ourselves, holding our innards in tact and wiping away tears.

So, I expect that you are wondering what the art piece, memories of my dad's laughter, and a cone-shaped Madonna bra have to do with each other, let alone saying yes to myself more often?

As I see it, saying yes involves letting go, like blowing milk out of your nose because you can't contain your laughter. For many years, I was sure yes meant holding on tightly. In order to say yes I had to be absolutely sure. I had to plan things out in advance, know all the pros and cons. In essence, I had to wait. In that steaming puddle of doubt. Until I was absolutely sure that saying yes wouldn't kill me. Because saying yes means being visible to yourself -- and how many of us really want to see ourselves so vividly all the time? It's scary! It's like wearing that cone bra every day and knowing that people are staring.

But I've been beginning to ask myself, "So what?" I never really said that as a teenager and was rarely rebellious, so perhaps I am just coming into my so-what teenage powers now, but I'm finding it profound. Saying yes to yourself means letting go of constraints and those critical voices and worries about what others will think, and it means stepping into your eighth grade Converse High Tops, staring at the worried adult inside you, and saying, "So what!" Sometimes, when saying yes is concerned, back-talk is needed. And then laugh in surprise at the affection you suddenly feel for your self. Take that affection as a sign that you are saying, yes I am worthy, yes I am capable, and yes, oh yes, I am going to love the hell out of myself for a while.


  1. Thank you for this. I had been feeling ridiculously stressed out in preparation for a sure-to-be stressful week ahead, and came across this (and the image of you trying to massage in a cone-bra) and laughed. Oh that laugh felt good. So thanks for sharing! Your art is lovely, and inspiring. This week I can say yes to me, and no to feeling stressed!

  2. As always Courtney, Thanks for your insight. I feel good this morning after reading this.


  3. What a powerful post. I often find myself standing in a puddle (lake) of doubt. Yes is such a hard word for me to say.

    I don't think a cone-shaped bra is necessary. Although, I did recently find a rather uplifting one from Garnet Hill and it has increased my happiness to a certain degree.

    I think I will need to revisit this post frequently.

  4. I feel like I say yes to often when really I am over estimating my abilities. I love your take on this - putting yourself out there. It's just that I suck at saying "Yes, but only under these conditions..."

    Ouch, I think your boob poked me.

  5. I'm glad that I provided some comic relief for some of you. I know I needed some! (And if a certain bra seems to perk your mood -- pardon the pun -- go for it!).

    I also want to mention that I firmly believe that saying YES to yourself can sometimes mean saying NO to others or other obligations!

    You can say yes to who you are, what you do, and how you want to be in the world -- as well as yes to being balanced and clear and safe and well.

    much abundance to you all,

  6. Courtney, this was a very powerful post. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it is strong, strong medicine that I very much need. Thanks.


  7. i like your hand, and the pink feeling

  8. Earlier I commented on sitting by the fire with a good book....have you ever considered?????

    Your words are wonderful, they draw you in, make you cry, smile and yes, say yes!