When I was in my early 30’s, I traveled outside the US for the first time. I had recently fallen for Jan, who was visiting the US from Germany, and he’d returned home to Berlin after our “Summer of Love.” I followed, months later, to meet him on his turf.
I’d recently walked away from my career as a marketing executive and been through an ugly divorce. I was low on funds, but high on the idea of adventure.
My older brother, Ted, paid for my trip. He told me I should put on a backpack and go to Europe and see if Jan loved me as much as I loved him. And if he didn’t, I should jump on a train, see Europe, and have the time of my life. In order to hedge the bet, he also bought my mom a ticket to meet me in Amsterdam for her 60th birthday.
On that trip I fell even more deeply for Jan. But something else happened, too. I had a profound shift in the way I saw myself—and it was the beginning of me falling deeply in love… with me.
It happened at the Route 66 Coffee Shop on Enge Kerksteeg. It was there that my mom and I went each day so she could access her email (no smart phones in the late 90’s), and I could access my inner peace.
It was also at the Route 66 that a man who was the opposite of me in nearly every way pulled me aside and told me I was strikingly beautiful. And then he said a thing I never expected to hear in my life: he said I was exotic.
I’m from Dublin, Ohio, folks.
I literally grew up in a corn field.
I had frizzy hair and freckles.
My favorite food was peanut butter.
Lest you think me a fool, please know that I am aware (and was in the moment) that men say all kinds of things. And that this man may have, indeed, been entirely full of shit. But I also knew something for certain in the moment. He was attracted to me. And he did see me as something other than. Something exotic.
It was on this day that I had my first peek at an understanding that now sits at the core of my self-image, my confidence, and my self-love:
There is no normative definition of sexy, desirable, or attractive. There’s no scale, chart, rating, or definition.
We are attracted TO someONE.
SomeONE is attracted to us.
There are no “overall attractive” people. It’s singular. It’s case-by-case. It’s yours to have because you’re human.
We are sexy because we FEEL sexy. We emanate sexuality when we can accept ourselves enough to allow ourselves to feel it.
We are sexy TO someONE. SomeONE is sexy TO us. It’s a singular experience. It’s case-by-case. It’s yours to have because you’re human.
One of the most critical aspects of becoming love is feeling worthy enough to BE loved. And it’s been deeply ingrained in each of us that worthiness is tied to attractiveness. That we are worthy only when people “want” us.
What I learned at the Route 66 Coffee Shop—and spent the next ten years of my life confirming and rejoicing—is that I am attractive simply because I am human.
You know that phrase, “It’s happy hour somewhere?”
It’s the same with being exotic. We’re all exotic somewhere. And we’re all attractive…everywhere. By virtue of the fact that we live and breathe, we are worthy. We are desirable. We are, each and every one of us, rare, valuable gems.
You are perfectly attractive. You are perfectly sexy. Exactly as you are.
Don’t let the bullshitters, the soul-suckers, the misanthropes or those who project their insecurities drag you down. Do your thing. Strut your stuff. Get your groove on. Get your freak on.
Just reach in and get it. Because the moment you begin to really work it… you begin becoming love. It starts with you loving you. It’s starts with you realizing that you’re hot as hell.
From Vancouver with love,
P.S. I recently took a trip to Vancouver with Jan—who’s had my heart for 21 years—and the trip made me think about love from every angle. But most especially about becoming love, which inspired this series. You can read installment #1 here, and installment #2 here.
P.P.S If you’re struggling with self-love, becoming love, expressing love, or shifting love in your relationship, I’m here for you. I work with women every day to love themselves—so they can turn midlife into PrimeTime. So they can show themselves and be themselves and value themselves the way they SHOULD. If you’re ready for a little love, schedule a discovery call here.