Worth versus Weight

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I remember very clearly the first time I became acutely aware of everything wrong with my body. I was in second grade carpooling to school with a neighbor. She hopped in the van, rolled her eyes and said with exasperation, “UGH, I hate how the fat pools out under my thighs when I sit down. Don’t you?” I’d truly never thought about it before. I thought about sunburns in the summer and bad shoes causing blisters, and that was about as far as my body consciousness went. To be fair, I had an older brother and we were slightly more concerned about defeating Bowzer than making sure my thighs weren’t touching. Perhaps girls with big sisters were exposed to this earlier.

But sitting there next to her that morning, suddenly restless atop my own pool of fat, I decided that, yes, I did hate my thighs. And so began a lifelong battle of worth versus weight.

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I hid myself most of the time. Baggy t-shirts and stretchy leggings. Oversized overalls and one-piece bathing suits well into middle school when all the other girls were in bikinis with their new boobs. I never vocalized my own dissatisfaction but I soaked everyone else’s up like an insecure sponge. Every problem someone had with their body, I applied to my own. Thighs too big. Boobs to small. Hair too frizzy. Butt too flat. Tummy too soft. It was never-ending.

With adulthood (and education and a strong yoga practice) came a new appreciation of and respect for my body as a powerful machine worthy of good food and exercise and love. But not before years of starvation, compulsive exercise and all around disordered behavior.

Things are better now. I’m not always nice to myself, but I am hyper-cautious to keep those thoughts to myself. Because the second I vocalize my own insecurities, I run the risk of laying that burden on someone who would otherwise perhaps not have to bear it. And that’s a responsibility I take seriously.

I run in the fitness industry now. And while this biz has its fair share of warm fuzzies and body love and girl power, it is also infected with a viral spread of self-loathing. You hear it in the locker rooms and in the lobbies, on the mats under their breath: I hate my [insert body part here].

It breaks my heart to hear people talk like this, not only because of the havoc they’re wreaking on their own psyche but because of where else those powerful words might land–on the ears of an otherwise confident child or on the heart of an already burdened and insecure soul.

It has taken me a lifetime to decide that this hate doesn’t have to be my own. And I would encourage you to affirm that it isn’t yours either.

Being Human

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Last night I went to see Pandit Rajmani Tigunait speak on the Essence of Living Tantra.

He spent a good bit of time explaining what tantra is not. If you live in India, according to Panditji, you think tantra is black magic. And if you live in the West, for the last 20 years you’ve considered it to be the 5-hour tantric sex Sting claims as an extracurricular activity with his wife (who, by the way, debunked the myth of her husband’s stamina two years ago).

It is neither of those things, and the majority of the lecture was spent simply talking about how damn cool it is to get to be a human being (in so few words).

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being human

He talked a lot about the characteristics that make us uniquely human–our anatomy and our intellect and what we do with those things.

Panditji marveled at the efficiency of our cells citing the perfect production of ATP and conversion to ADP. He waxed on about the physical design on the human body, how we are able to sit at all, let alone sit still for two hours and pay attention to a lecture. He talked about how human beings are the only animals on the planet able to lay completely flat on our backs and fully relax.

Clearly he has never met Ralphie Levans. Species: cat.

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I also think that apes are pretty good at straight chilling. But they’re our cousins and other than that, I think he’s right. And while Ralph can get onto her back, she can’t get all four limbs down at the same time like we can. I’ve been trying really hard to prove him wrong (why, I do not know) and can’t think of some other animal that does what we do. There aren’t any.

Birds have to stay half awake so they don’t fall from the trees. Dolphins do the same under water. Snakes can’t lay on their backs. Horses and cows certainly can’t lie flat.

So with this smart anatomical design of the human body comes the evolutionary advantage of total relaxation. Because with the ability to chill the F out, we can further expand our intelligence and our essence and our being.

He talked about how we expand upon even the food we eat–that eating cookies and chai isn’t just the consumption of flour and sugar and milk and spices. It’s the consumption of the memories you associate with that act. It triggers emotions. It’s often a social act. It’s not just a cookie. Or an apple. Or a… pancake. It’s everything that cookie or apple or pancake means.

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I totally believe that about food. And I can’t think of another creature that expands food the way we humans do.

I don’t know. The further I stumble down this post the more I realize I can’t even verbalize what he was talking about, which I suppose makes sense considering he’s a master and a doctor and, let’s say, enlightened beyond anything I can really even grasp.

So I’ll just leave this in simple celebration of being human.

This weekend I celebrated being human with a trip to my grandparents’ house for my mom’s birthday, a reunion with one of my very best friends, a few steps forward on the (very long and slooooow) PlateShare road (it’s coming it’s coming it’s coming), and, you know, trying on display-only vintage clothes in the middle of the bar. Life, man.

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Off Balance

I’m in a weird, weird spot with my yoga.

I’m coming up on my 1-year teaching anniversary and I haven’t practiced in a week and I have no desire to. In the month leading up to this week off I’ve practiced only sporadically. What was once a daily devotion is slowly becoming an only-when-I-feel-like-it duty. And that’s an ugly place for me to be.

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It has nothing to do with the Yoga (with a capital Y) itself but with the fact that I’ve made yoga my business. That I’ve taken what was once this beautiful hour-long escape and turned it into a full-time, bill-paying job.

I’m sure this is true of any situation where you make a hobby or a passion a full-time career, but what I’ve found is that it has caused me to distance myself from my personal practice. And that, in turn, has left me flailing for something as grounding and inspiring to hold on to. I have yet to find anything.

I don’t know if other yoga teachers experience this, but I can’t seem separate myself from the “work” of yoga long enough to land back into the practice of yoga.

I hate that.

It’s no one’s fault, but I think the nature of the beast is that it’s hard for people tell which hat I have on at any given time–yoga teacher, yoga student, yoga studio marketing director–and so I’m just all of them all the time. But sometimes, lots of times, I (very selfishly) just want to be the student again.

I want to quietly roll out my mat, not say a word to anyone, and just get lost in my practice.  I want to cry because I’m so happy to be on my mat, not because I’m so dreading it. That doesn’t happen anymore.

I don’t know if I’m the only one experiencing this, but I feel that way. I’m certain these are just normal growing pains and that things will even back out. And I’m really only certain of that because they have to or I will surely go crazy.

Stuff.

I AM SO JACKED UP ON ESPRESSO.

I’m not a daring person. I follow all the rules. I never played on the monkey bars or learned to dive or did a cartwheel because you could break your face and I’d rather not. I’ve never smoked a cigarette or done any drugs of any kind (except one time in high school I got hopped up on caffeine pills a la Jessie Spano and I do NOT recommend it). But I’ll be damned if I won’t put an extra shot in my stupid expensive latte.

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN.

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IIIII don’t even know.

Here are some things you want to know about…

No 7 Hydration Mask

Never in my entire life have I ever given a single flying fart (I was going to put a different F-word there YOU’RE WELCOME, MOM) about skincare. I wash my face with whatever’s in the shower. Even if it’s bodywash. Do not care. But lately I’ve been feeling old and haggard so I’m purchasing all kinds of things I don’t need. One that I really love is No 7′s hydration mask. Seeing as how I’m in a hundred-degree room for, like, four hours a day (minimum) it stands to reason that I am dehydrated at all times. It never occurred to me that this means my skin is also dehydrated. (I realize this makes me sound like an idiot.) This thing makes it feel like my face just drank a glass of water. It says to rinse it off after 10 minutes but I just leave it on. Is this allowed? I need a big sister or something to teach me these things.

Lattes at Home

My roommate got an espresso maker for Christmas so when I’m not busy buying lattes that are too expensive, I make them at home. My favorite so far is a maple cinnamon soy latte: 1 cup soy milk microwaved, two shots of espresso, maple syrup, cinnamon. YEP.

This is True.

This is just true.

I am going to go run my little espresso engine into the ground and then go to an event and then go to bed.

Fashion Show, Fashion No.

I don’t know how other girls get ready for fashion shows. But something tells me they do not teach a hot yoga class, skip a shower, throw on a dress, show up an hour late, change again in the parking lot (obviously) and accidentally run out on the runway to a round of applause just as the final parade of models is making its way around the room.

Just another day in the life.

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So last night I went to Front Row CLT, a fashion show featuring boutiques from around Charlotte. My friends at Lotus Boutique hooked me up with a hot little red number to wear…

But I panicked at the last second and decided I can’t pull off red. It’s true. I feel like people are looking at me like, “Why is she trying so hard?” Which is how I ended up in this instead:

At least it’s not black. Give me that.

Other than me missing the entire show and walking on the runway like an idiot, it was a great night. We got stupid in the photo booth, mingled and made a beeline to The Liberty for dinner.

Oh! And look who I found… (I did not take this picture like a creeper. It’s on the Tweeter.)

Charlotte is far too small of a city for our paths not to have crossed until now. As expected, she’s gorgeous and a wee-tiny little human being. And I think she might like cats as much as I do so we’re probably going to be friends now.

I wrapped the night up with an emergency trip to Common Market in unnecessarily high heels for a damn bag of mini marshmallows. Because this is who I am.

Today is today. Ate a monstrous smoothie bowl (actually filled it up twice). Taught some yoga. Meetings all afternoon. More yoga tonight. PlateShare video conference. Fight Gone Mad re-launch party. Probably more marshmallows. You know the drill.