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.
Not feeling like I look like myself.
Not really knowing how to process being in the thickness of
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
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,
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,
It is about how I talk to myself
And how millions of women talk to themselves,
And tell themselves that they are not 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,
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
Every time we can’t be enough for ourselves.