In the not so distant past, I wouldn’t have ever posted this picture. Instead, my head would’ve gone here: I haven’t worked out, I just ate lunch and my baguette is making an appearance just below my belly button. I would’ve thought a million thoughts that would have deterred me from showing my body in a way I thought was less than perfect.
But then something magic happened. I learned to love. I learned to love what I’ve got because it’s all I’ve got. It’s mine and always will be. I started learning to love what I’ve been given and began truly appreciating all the things this body has done for me, does for me and, if I’m lucky, will keep doing for me.
In the past 30 years, I have climbed mountains, danced for hours on my tip toes, swam to the bottom of the sea and fallen more times than is probably normal. This body has been there for me. In the past 30 years, I have eaten more than my fair share of ice cream (if there is such thing as too much ice cream) and I’ve certainly enjoyed bottomless mimosa brunches. This body has been there for me. She’s got my back and I owe it to her to give her a little more credit.
At the end of last year I decided I wanted to start teaching barre fitness classes. I had been a dancer for ten years and used barre as part of my 3 year rehabilitation after a bad injury. Barre made moving my body fun again. It made it laugh again. It made it okay for me to laugh at myself again. Teaching meant giving that gift to other women just like myself. After getting my certification, I started teaching and got hooked.
The motivation, the drive and the full on #girlbossness my students gave in each class made me take a second look at how I viewed myself. There I was encouraging them to treat their bodies with respect and motivating them to love themselves for their strength, but was I doing the same thing? I left each class feeling empowered not by the words coming out of my own mouth but at seeing the reactions to what I had to say. My lady bosses squatted deeper and pushed harder than they thought they could. I would ask them to look in the mirror, give me their all…and then give 20% more. They left an hour later exhausted, with sweat dripping down their face and smiles that spanned ear to ear. They gave me a deeper squat but they gave themselves a big dose of love.
Writing this now, I am on my boat far from the magic of those studio walls. I don’t have my lady bosses around me and I don’t have a room full of women to motivate. What I do have, however, is me. Me and the little body I call my own. So I am going to start practicing a bit more of what I preach. I’m going to love what I’ve got, be thankful for how hard I push her and be thankful she’s there for me even when I don’t give her the attention she needs.