I remember when I was in high school and obsessed about a small dark freckle slash borderline mole and just had to get it removed. My “rosacea” was out of control, and god forbid some cute boy would see the popped blood vessel on my nose.
Going to the gym in high school always required shaved, tan legs, a great “messy bun,” a dash of perfume, and mascara.
I think it was about fifth or sixth grade when my friends and I would wrap our hands around one another’s thighs to see whose was the thinnest and then covet whoever had the smallest distance between fingers. (There was no such phrase as “thigh gap” back in the early 2000s, thank God).
In high school, I used the word fugly when I talked about a girl that started dating my ex-boyfriend. And people laughed. So I kept doing it.
Typing out those moments and reliving those experiences gives me mixed emotions. I’m terribly saddened by some of my behaviors that really was just me wanting to be popular, beautiful and loved. And I’m also really grateful because I don’t live in that world any longer.
My little under-the-eye mole got complimented last week. I typically roll out of bed with lines on my face from the pillow to exercise. I could care less about leg hair and the “rosacea” gives my pale face some color. I never use the word ugly anymore; in fact, it’s banned from my vocabulary (except obviously right now).
I teach yoga now and one of the things I’ve learned from my own practice is to simply appreciate the body I have and find gratitude for what it does. My legs walk! My arms reach! My toes wiggle! My hair grows! I spent a majority of my life being fixated on what wasn’t, on what I could be like on what I should be like. Through life lessons and probably from reading a dozen self-help books, I’ve worked to reframe my thinking. I want to be beautiful, but I want it to come from an authentic place. I want to feel good and if that means being bare faced and in my sideline pants (thanks for the term, Z), okay. If it means busting out a fun top with a sparkly necklace, awesome.
Our bodies are so important. They pump our blood, they house our brain, and all these crazy life-giving things are happening inside of us and we rarely take time to tune into that.
When is the last time you appreciated something about your body?
Lately, I’ve been integrating more plant-based foods into my diet and making some really great recipes from my Oh She Glows cookbook and my Hello Fresh subscription (I’ve only done one week, but love what I got). I set an alarm on my phone every day to take a multivitamin and if I make time, I’ll whip up a green smoothie. I’ve cleaned up all of my skincare products to use only Beautycounter after I realized how many harmful ingredients are in other hygienic products, and I do the exercises I actually enjoy doing.
And because of those small integrations, I am feeling my best. I probably weigh more than last summer and my recent mole removals make my back look kind of spotty, but I’m taking care of my vessel. What I put on my body and in my body has a strong effect on how I feel. Don’t get me wrong, if you bring me a cookie or tell me there are cupcakes within walking distance, I’ll show up almost every time. But, I don’t aim for perfection anymore and this false idea of what my body should look like.
When I started to realize that I get just one chance to live in this body, I wanted to make sure it was equipped to enjoy the ride. What do you do to feel your best?