The Cruelty of Body Shaming Yourself

Today I did yoga after a long period of not doing yoga.

Or a lot, really, with my body.

You see lately, my body and I are not really on speaking terms.

I pretend to accept it and for that, it is kind to me – it is healthy and mobile and strong.

For these things, I am grateful.

I am also often embarrassed.

Distressed.

Not feeling like I look like myself.

Not really knowing how to process being in the thickness of 
the skin,

The folds,

The wiggle and jiggle I am find myself in.

Yoga is both my tormentor and my savior.

It reminds me who I was,

Who I am,

Who I want to be.

Like most yoga practices, it was a journey.

Sheer shame about my girth.

Embarrassment over my rolls and folds.

My thin face and my think thighs,

About how I’ve “let myself go.”

How can my partner look at me, I think?

He must have noticed?

Why is he still with me?

I’m not who I once was.

Then, I notice my strength.

The beauty of the postures.

The delicate inhales

And exhales.

My connection to the beast of my body.

My disgust did not completely lift however.

I was/am still disappointed in myself.

This isn’t a story about overcoming.

It’s a story about how we always have to work on mending the 
relationship to ourselves,

Our bodies,

Our minds,

Our emotions.

Feeling this way about my body in one yoga class does not 
mean I have body dysmorphia or low self-esteem.

It means I’ve internalized tropes about what beautiful is,

And what it isn’t,

And how I have to be thin to be perfect.

This isn’t about my body,

Not really.

It is about how I talk to myself

And how millions of women talk to themselves,

And tell themselves that they are not enough,

Never enough.

My story isn’t about the power of yoga

Or the power of my own clarity about the situation.

It’s about my struggle,

Our struggle,

To resist the cruelty

Of condemning ourselves to a life full of dissatisfaction

Because we can’t live up to a standard that we didn’t create

But perpetuate

Every time we can’t be enough for ourselves.