Recently I was in Yoga around about posture 16 in the series of 26 that is Bikram and I looked at my self in the mirror (as is the practice) and something hit me. I was fine. There in the 105 degree room sweaty, disheveled and literally a hot mess I actually felt good, I liked what I was seeing, and even better than that I happy. It is a feeling that overcomes me so seldom that when it happens I make a point of taking note of it. What I find so interesting is that with 24 hours in a day- 7 days in a week and 52 weeks in a year, on average if I strung this intermittent moments of feeling fine together I might barely clock a full week. Almost everyday there is some sense of inadequacy, of something not being right and needing to be fix, of being broken.
One late morning I sat across a table taking tea with a friend discussing topics related to body image. She told me a story of how upon seeing her judging herself in a studio mirror, stretching and pulling trying desperately to “improve” a teacher once told “Stop, you’re fine- you’re not broken you just have work to do.” That statement she says changed her life by changing her perception of who and what she was and what she was not. That statement moved me. It echoed in my head at the most interesting of moments: When I passed the mirror on my way to the shower, and lingered just a long enough to see that my behind and thighs are still (despite hot yoga four times a week) not what I want them to be, it floated through my head. When I was having a thin day and passed by a store front window and catch a glimpse of myself and like a rearview mirror it made me look larger than I actually was that phrase kissed my face like an crisp fall breeze. When I was teaching a class and felt my students weighed down with the reality that dance is hard, I spoke the words “You are fine, you’re not broken, you just have a lot of work to do.”
It is strange how such a small shift of thought can completely transform you from being a being damaged, helpless, or a victim of sorts to being empowered with the idea that within you, you possess the ability to alter anything. It allows you to become proactive in the solution, and sometimes the solution is merely learning to accept what the reality is. There are things you can change with information, work, and commitment, and there are things that are what they are. Your genes are your genes; you can’t alter your DNA. Things like your race, and your bones are what they are, and if you can’t change them then you can work to come to a level of acceptance and appreciation for them. It may take time, and the road to finding the beauty in you is neither short, nor easily found but the good news is, there is a road, there is a way- many ways in fact.
As I laid on my belly preparing to do the second round of Cobra pose finding myself contented, it prompted me to assess how I had been feeling about myself of late. Since starting the blog I have notice a heightened awareness of not only things surrounding the body and image but to my own feelings about myself. I find that since beginning this process I have notice that I have become more compassionate and accepting of myself. When I have a self-debasing thought I hear my own voice in my head telling me that I am fine, and there is nothing wrong with me. I supposed that one couldn’t preach it all day and not have it affect you in some way. I have found myself to be more balanced and less neurotic about my appearance. Certainly I have ebbed and flowed with bloatation but I have been able to see it as just that the tide of my body. I have also put on honest weight and been able to reign myself in without mentally flogging myself about becoming a cookie monster. Oddly my desire to bring awareness has brought upon me an awareness of not only how much work I have done, but how much more there is to do. I don’t think there is an “end point” or “finish” line per se, but there is a sense that some how little by little I am getting closer to myself, to my unbroken self.
9 thoughts on “Unbroken”
I just have to say that this post is one of the most beautifully written and insightful posts on body image that I have ever read! Thank you for sharing it!
I absolutely love this entry. Agreed that it is beautifully written and insightful. The advice given about not being broken is so incredible. It is unbelievable how closely related the mind and body are. Like you said, “how one small shift of thought can completely transform you.” I have been studying the Alexander Technique with a teacher of mine for the past couple of months now. I have seen the power of the mind as by just thinking something can provoke a response in the body to happen. Changes have happened for the better and acceptance is all that is needed at times.
The inspirational words within this blog have truly inspired me and have given me a different outlook on my body and my image: “You are fine, you’re not broken, you just have a lot of work to do.” I believe this is true. We all seek for improvement. We all seek for perfection. I believe there is always room for improvement and that we all have to work hard to reach and achieve improvement. Nothing comes easily. We have to strive and work hard. However, I do not believe that anything or anyone is perfect. Nothing in this world is perfect and we have to accept things and people for who they are.
This entry was truly moving. It is something that is so relateable to my every day life. As dancers, we are perfectionists. And as humans, we are not perfect. We are constantly striving to be better, hoping that maybe we’ll be an inch closer to that goal. Like you said, we have to be aware that we may never reach that ideal perfection, but we must keep pushing to improve anyway.
Your words were inspirational. In any competitive field you can pick apart your worst attributes. When your in a setting where you constantly compare yourself to others it is so easy to get down on yourself. This blog entry inspires me to continuously push through and work even though I might feel broken or helpless. All you can do is work and have optimistic outlook that your work will pay off.
I am so happy for you that you have found a way to become satisfied with your body type. I hope more people find a similar way to appreciate what they have. Congratulations.
Love the picture of you, so elegant.
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