I’m tired. Tired of not sleeping well, of too many stomach aches, of not enough energy.
But you know what else I’m tired of? I’m tired of looking at this body of mine with hate or anger or disappointment or, on the worst days, disgust.
This body. It does headstands and upward bow and lizard pose. It takes me where I want to go every day, carried me 13.1 miles without giving up, and it gave me my awesome kid.
It’s squishy and jiggly and huggable. It’s strong in places and weak in others. It’s bigger than many, smaller than lots, rounder than some, straighter than others. It more flexible than most.
This is the year I let this body come into its own. I gave up the diets and the weigh-ins and the focus on weight loss. I focused more on movement I love. And I made huge progress, but only now do I feel like I’m coming out of the fog of more than twenty years of feeling too big and knowing a diet was the answer, of feeling shame and fear and hurt when my willpower gave out, when I failed, when I wasn’t enough.
Turns out it takes a while to find your way out of that forest. I’m lucky to have found some pretty incredible guides along the way. I have Erin Motz and Anna Guest-Jelley to teach me the power of yoga in terms of knowing my own strength and remembering that I love my body. I have Ragen Chastain and my Fit Fatty friends to remind me that my body is worthy of love and respect, and that moving it in ways I adore is well worth my time. Tess Munster’s Eff Your Beauty Standards helped me remember that size is not a determination of beauty, and Weightless gave me anchors to help keep my self-love journey going.
So this is the year I make room for this body to be heard, to take up the space it needs without shame, to move with joy and abandon, to slough off the expectations of others. This is the year I explore some of the deep stuff yoga has brought up lately. For starters, I was doing flamingo pose today. Even in flamingo, which felt nice on my lower back, binds are not my friend. I’m wondering where to start working through that, and if there isn’t some deep reflection in there about why my body is so willing to bend and flex but resists binds at every turn.
Exercise is still linked to weight loss in my head. I’ve spent nearly two years now moving purposefully away from weight loss as a goal, and it’s done wonderful things for my head and heart. And yet here I sit at 230#, nearly the heaviest I’ve ever been, and I don’t know what that means for me. I don’t feel comfortable in my body, but I didn’t when I was smaller either.
Some days I believe my size doesn’t matter if my habits are healthy, and other days I get scared that every ache or issue is a sign of how bad my weight is for me. Lately I’ve been having what I’m fairly certain is sciatic nerve pain, and I worried and wondered about whether it was because of my weight, which just made me feel guilty and awful.
It’s impossible to get an objective answer. There’s sound science backing both sides, smart people in both camps. I try to leave it all by the wayside and just do the things that make me feel good…but food is still an issue, and I still hate to exercise.
I stress eat. I watch tv to unwind. I walk, meditate, do yoga. Sometimes I manage some strength training.
I want to feel good in my body and proud of my choices. And the thing is that sometimes I really do. Other times I journal at midnight because I feel guilty for skipping yoga and eating cookies. I’ve come to the late night conclusion that I can’t fix anything by focusing only my weight. It’s proven to be unhealthy for my mental state, and nothing is worth that.
So let’s say the sciatica is because of my weight? Is getting on the scale and tracking my calories and beating myself up going to help? Past experience would suggest I’d, if anything, gain…so if weight is aggravating or causing the pain I’d just be making it worse. Instead I’ll keep focusing on what I know is good for me, the food and movement that makes me feel awesome, and I’ll remember to be gentle with my mind, body, and soul.
It’s time to be my own best friend again, and to allow the fragility that’s settled over me lately to just be, without poking at it or pushing it away.
Nothing changes without me (a poem for open, terrified hearts)
A poem from Danielle LaPorte
Sometimes, my heart is so open
I can’t tell
if it is a gaping wound
or a portal
that ever was and ever will be.
I’ve learned to love the beautiful terror of eternity,
and scenario planning how shattered I could be
if the dark things got tall
and if I fell backwards in my forgetting of the Light.
But you can’t fall backwards in Space,
You can only only only ever unfurl.
More than anything,
I’ve wed the certainty that nothing changes without me –
not coal becoming diamonds
not fertilizing eggs
or migration patterns
or medicine dreams.
And what I thought was a net cast to me from a higher God
strands of truth and filaments of desire
that I have
strung together with my own hands.
In precious encounters,
I tie what I know & want to you,
so we can ride the winds of wonder.