Recently, I have become keenly aware to the fact that I influence others on positive body image. YES---this is my goal. This is the reason I teach Buti Yoga. This is the reason I preach "Love yourself NOW."
I believe all of this 100%. Life is short. Shorter than we can comprehend.
Food and drinks can bring such pleasure. The act of coming together for a meal and/or wine has proven good for the soul time and time again.
I don't believe in skipping meals, counting calories, and beating yourself up. I don't believe that 10, 15, 50 pounds lighter is going to make me any happier. In fact, I know this from the experiences in my own life.
BUT...this shit is ingrained in us. It can sneak back in like a damn ninja.
I fight the urge to go back to the control and the belittling every.single.day. The urge to hate my body. The urge to starve myself. The urge to workout for the wrong reasons. The urge to hide behind the "getting healthy" bullshit. The urge to want to cry and scream and never eat again when you see a picture of yourself.
Most days I fight that urge like a warrior and win.
I know I am strong.
I know I am physically fit.
I know I can lead a workout that allows others to sweat and let go.
I know I eat foods that fuel my body.
I know when my gut isn't right and when it is time for a proper cleanse for that reason alone.
I know I drink close to a gallon of water a day.
I know that taking up space is a good thing.
I know my story, my purpose, is bigger than the numbers on a scale.
I know I waste my time and brain power when I think about these things.
I know my daughter is watching.
I have struggled with body image issues as a size 6 and a size 14 and everything in between. It DOESN'T actually matter the size. I was never small enough. I didn't have enough control. I needed to eat less and take up less space. I have had full blown eating disorders. I have obsessed over nothing but my food, weight, and exercise. I wasted most of my 20's in that space.
It drove Scott crazy when I obsessed over my weight. He hated that I used my body and appearance to get things I wanted. I always thought it was because he was jealous. But now I get it. He saw the other stuff. The important stuff. The better stuff. The deeper parts of me. He saw my writing, my heart for service and justice, my intelligence, and his favorite--my sense of humor. Scott Baumgardner telling me that I am one of the funniest people he knows is a way better compliment than him saying I looked like beautiful.
And these are the things that I am growing. The things I am nurturing. I am writing, I am creating, I am co-hosting a bomb ass podcast, I am speaking up for the things I know are true and right, I am building a community of women who practice Buti Yoga, I am digging deeper into who I am and this woman I was born to be.
BUT, what I need to tell you is that this is 90% of the time. There is 10% where I do not do this. I revert to my old ways.
Sarah and I had photos taken in the city for the podcast and various other projects we are involved in. It was so fucking fun! I felt powerful and badass (spoiler alert--because I AM.) But in the back of my head I knew that I was going to struggle when we got them back.
Here is how it went (and I quote):
6:10 PM Sarah: "Girrrrrl. We got the pics and they are gooooooood! I uploaded them to the Google Drive."
(Amy looks at the pictures in the Drive.)
6:25PM Amy: "I have zero business ever preaching body confidence. OMG. There are about 15-20 I am okay with. But Jesus. I have issues."
You see, when I looked at those pictures (hundreds of them), I saw a woman who takes up space. A lot of space. A woman who is clearly not 20 anymore. A woman with more than one chin. A woman who has no business thinking she is beautiful and definitely no business preaching to the world she has this body confidence thing on lock.
The truth is: What I see today is a woman who is 42. A woman who is making her fucking dreams come true. A woman who rocks leather and combat boots like it is her job. A woman who is making a difference in this world. A woman who DOES take up space...physically, emotionally and with her damn voice. A woman who has overcome so much. A woman who fiercely loved a man with severe mental illness unconditionally for 17 years. A woman who survived abuse and his tragic death. A woman who is solo parenting two children. A woman who loves others deeply and loyally. A woman who was brave enough to let love in again.
A woman who spends her days teaching children with all of her heart and soul regardless of the education climate we are living in. A woman who gets on her mat to lead others because she knows that no matter how much she doesn't want to do it, it is necessary for everyone's well being. A woman who lives with severe anxiety disorder and depression every.single.day. A woman who has not quit.
A badass woman.
That is my truth. BOTH of those. The insecurity AND the confidence. But isn’t that most of life? We live in two opposing spaces. My truth lies in both.
We need to keep going. Setbacks happen, but that doesn't mean we aren't those people.
I am still a woman who preaches "Love yourself NOW." and fucking means it.
I do hope one day, I will look at pictures of myself and automatically—first thing say, "Yes, that is me in this moment and she is perfect."
(side note: This post is to do the thing I do best, be real, and tell my truth. I say the things that are kept in the dark by many because it is too personal, private, or taboo. I don't write for others to reassure me that I am just fine the way I am. I know that I am, but we all have these moments of slipping that need to be brought to light. So if you find yourself doing the same thing, take a deep breath and move forward. Those thoughts do not define you or me. xoxo, Amy)