Last night, while the rain pounded on the roof of the house, I lit candles in my studio, and rolled out my mat. My mind wouldn’t quiet, filled with thoughts of the future and planning for things that aren’t yet upon us. I practiced for about 40-minutes, hoping to calm the chaos inside, which did not entirely happen this time. As I flowed through bridge to warm up, pushing my hips towards the sky and then releasing back down to the ground in unison with my breath, I began to feel aware of the tension my leggings were putting on my stomach.
When I stood, I could see in the mirror that the leggings were pulling into my abdomen, creating a bubble, a layer in my stomach I didn’t want to see. My weight has always been a sensitive topic for me. After sophomore year of college, I went on Weight Watchers and lost about 20 lbs. When I returned to campus in the fall, I received an incredible amount of attention and praise for my transformation. I had not only lost the weight, but I had done it safely and in a healthy way and for that I was really proud. My new shape took some getting used to, though. I received attention I wasn’t used to and complements I wasn’t expecting. It was a pretty crazy time, seeing how one very personal and physical change can impact your relationships across the board.
Weight Watchers was four years ago, and it’s no secret I haven’t maintained the same diligence I had back then. I practice yoga every day, but I don’t walk 4 miles in under an hour in hopes of earning extra points for ice cream. I do, however, eat a lot of ice cream. My weight is not usually an issue for me, anymore. I’m a happy human, and so long as I feel strong and healthy I try not to judge myself. But last night, staring into the mirror at myself, I began to hate the body staring back at me, bubbling over my old go-to leggings. I did a few sun salutations, in rhythm with my breath and the music playing in the background. I tried to breathe deeply, taking in the scent of the candles, but every time I stood, I would adjust and pull at my leggings, trying to fix the unflattering mess at my waistline.
Then, the simplest thought came to me and challenged my perspective. Maybe, I thought, maybe my body isn’t the problem at all. Maybe, instead of shaming myself in the mirror, I should take off these 5 year-old leggings from Gap outlet, the ones that have a hole in the knee and another at the opposite ankle. Standing there, physically in Mountain Pose, mentally checked out of my practice, I knew what I had to do.
Taking a deep breath in, I exhaled and pulled my leggings off. In the privacy of my own studio, I was reminded that my body is perfect exactly as it is. The curves of my thighs and hips are a part of what makes me a beautiful woman. Letting a discount pair of leggings that have been washed too many times tell you how to love your body is foolish, and a mistake I will not make again.
Perspective impacts everything, which is why opinions from others is a requirement of a clear and accurate depiction of almost any situation. That doesn’t mean that what other people say is always right, and you’re always wrong, it just means that together your opinions become closer to the truth.
The truth of last night, I loved practicing in my underwear. I could watch my curves twist and move in the mirror, and felt myself fall more easily in my twists . I’m retiring the leggings, permanently. Great black leggings are hard to come by, just like a great pair of jeans and the perfect bikini. When I found these ones, four or five years ago, at the Gap outlet near Elon, I thought I’d hit the jackpot. I’ d have bought another pair, but these were the only size Smalls int he store. They cost me $18 if I remember correctly. Any value or style these leggings had went out the window when the hole in the knee appeared a few years ago, but until last night I hadn’t taken their value into consideration. Instead, I blindly put their value in front of my own and body-shamed myself.
Moral of the story: do more things naked.