Audrey Hepburn. She had the perfect neck according to my father. Before you get the wrong idea about dear old dad and his preferences for certain body parts, I should disclose that he was a pretty amazing artist. Trained at the Philadelphia Museum School before graduating from Penn, he took his talent and created a business out of art. We know it now as graphic design, but back in the day he would do actual oil painting portraits of sports figures and business professionals to be used in marketing materials that he would also create. So his interest in anatomy was based on his love of the human form. Mostly.
The neck. Before I had heard my father wax poetically about Audrey Hepburn’s swanlike neck, I had never given my own a second thought. It was the bridge between my head and all that other stuff. It helped me look up and down and side to side. After I understood what he was talking about I became obsessed with comparing everyone’s neck to my own. My mother had a nice long neck, no doubt what attracted my father to her, so I assumed my chances of neck approval were pretty high. Ultimately I ended up just shy of long and graceful and got something more like good enough and sturdy.
As I age I appreciate my neck more and more. It’s very flexible, even if it’s a little stiff upon waking. Years of yoga have created a great deal of mobility and space. I love that I can easily look over my shoulder, something I took for granted until I saw my own mother contort her entire upper body to look behind her.
However, like my mother, my face seems to be slipping into my neck. Hers went fast, mudslide fast. One day she had a beautiful long neck, the next, there was skin draping from her chin to her throat. I was horrified that this fate would befall me as well. I have watched my own face very carefully. It’s happening but the descent seems to be much more gradual allowing me time to adjust along the way.
What I do have are these little tabs (I refuse to call them jowls) that dip down a little on my jaw line. I’m going to blame my great grandparents for over-pinching my cheeks as a child. They were pretty irresistible. I have found that if I smile, they go away, they get pulled back up into my cheeks. So smiling has become my anti-aging salve. I do it as often as I can, mostly it’s not too creepy.
No matter how long or short or loose or firm the neck is, it holds a tantalizing secret. Located at the nape of the neck is a magical little erogenous zone. When activated by something as simple as the breath of a lover, goose bumps shoot to the surface and knees buckle. To quote a friend, “Never underestimate the power of a kiss on the back of the neck.” Swoon.
We can’t talk about the neck without talking about the throat, because we can’t talk at all without the throat. The neck and the throat together make up the throat chakra. This would also include the thyroid gland. For many women this is a problem area, all of it. When the throat chakra is blocked, which happens mostly because we feel we cannot speak our truth, issues arise.
It’s been difficult for our species – goddess – to own our voices and reclaim our power. We have been riding a roller coaster for centuries, secretly harnessing our own power but never fully understanding how to express it. It can be a precarious line to cross. Fear of being misunderstood or worse, of not being heard at all, often stops us from even exploring the edges of our personal power.
Sing, chant, hum, begin to flex the goddess muscles so that your truth can emerge. So that you can speak from your heart about all that matters to you. So that you can liberate yourself from your own fears. It’s a practice and it’s not always easy, but once developed, you will know no other way of being.
There is no part of the body that is non-essential, but the throat has the ability to change entire worlds with a single sentence. If you find yourself locked in a world that does not resonate with you, the voice is often the key.
“A short neck denotes a good mind. You see, the messages go quicker to the brain because they’ve shorter to go.” Dame Muriel Sarah
[The photo is not Audrey Hepburn (obviously), but my own mother circa 1968.]