Friday, March 25, 2011

Let it shine

Wednesday night I was able to teach yoga to a group of 17 and 18 year old girls from Church. I admit I was intimidated by the task. I was very into a specific body type in high school, and let's just say my current body isn't it. So I was worried these girls would not take me serious, or not believe that I was any good. These fears were fleeting and I was able to quite them down without a struggle. I may not be perfect, but I'm a good yoga teacher (ahem, toot toot), I know my stuff, and I can do a headstand what more do you need?

I should have known that those fleeting fears and moments of intimidation were silly. We had a wonderful class, and the girls were very eager and ready to learn more. I love to teach. And I love yoga. It's a great combination.

At one point during the class one of the adult leaders of the group commented that she thought I looked like Elizabeth Taylor who had passed away that day. Wow. Thanks.

But then one of the girls in the class said, "No, I think you are much more beautiful than her."


Talk about good for my ego. This girl wasn't at all offended by my size. And she even thought I was beautiful.

Maybe this isn't such a big deal, but it made me realize one thing loud and clear: I had been holding on to a belief that I could learn to see my beauty and inner beauty, but that the rest of the world probably wouldn't because I was too heavy.

How sad. I have been walking around with this unconscious idea that outside of my husband the rest of the world would just see another heavy woman. Rude. "Just another heavy woman!" Melanee!

There are many problems with this, but here are a few I thought of:
~ I am not "just another" anything. Neither is anyone else.
~ When I look at other people I see that they are beautiful. Generally their size doesn't really register unless I'm being self-conscious that day and playing the ever dangerous comparison game. So why would people not be able to look at me that way.
~ I'm not fat.
~ How sad that someone who advocates for better body image can still hold to a belief that the rest of the world is incapable of seeing beauty beyond pant size.
~ Confidence exudes beauty. It lets all that inner and outer light shine. Mine included.

Granted I don't want my life, my confidence, or my self-esteem to be based on if others think I'm beautiful or not. But come on, who doesn't like to be told they are beautiful? Growing up I heard it a lot, and I think I put too much stock in that. Now I just hear it from my husband. I have, thankfully, gotten to a point where I don't need to hear it as much, but it certainly doesn't hurt my feelings.

It is time for me to stop feeling sorry for myself because I sacrificed my beauty to have a child (or whatever random story I am telling myself in my subconscious). I was beautiful as a child, I was beautiful in high school, I was beautiful in college, I was beautiful when I got married, and I am beautiful as a new mother. Each stage in life has held a different form of beauty. My beauty has evolved as I have grown and changed. That's kind of what makes it so beautiful. But that beauty is certainly not gone, and I don't have to believe no one sees it.

Neither do you. You are beautiful as you are. As you learn to love and accept your body that beauty will shine all the brighter.