On caring about your body.
Last year at this time, I was a single chica living in a College Park apartment with six girlfriends, practicing yoga or going to Zumba nearly every day, cooking for myself… and frankly, being overly preoccupied with what I was putting into my mouth and what implications that food might have on my health, my body, and my physical appearance.
Was I happy? Sure… But was I also obsessed with working out? Kind of yes…
This summer I wrote a piece about our relationship with exercise, titled “it’s enough.” The blog post is predominantly about how we tend to see exercise as an external act vital to perform in order to preserve our hotness, as opposed to an organic part of life that we do to stay alive and breathe in freshness.
And at the time of writing that piece, all of my words definitely resonated with me psychologically, but perhaps I had not really yet experienced their weight at a tangible level. That is, until now.
Now that I am in nursing school. Now that when I have an hour of free time I want to plop into bed and zone out instead of sweating in bakasana (crow pose), and now that I have to keep pressure off of a wonky shoulder for a couple of weeks.
I have not had the opportunity to include exercise into my daily routine, not this month or this semester. My days mostly look like this; food, school, food, more school, procrastination, food, homework, maybe more procrastination, and bed.
Some days there may be a spicy addition to the day but in general, I have been grateful to get to one yoga or zumba class a week. One. Last year “me” probably would have completely freaked out. I would have worried about gaining weight. I would have worried about losing my stamina or getting tight. I would have worried about how much, what I was eating, and when. I would have worried, a lot.
But in this one glorious impermanent moment, as is every moment, I looked at myself naked in the mirror and I kind of loved what I saw. For the first time in a very very long time. I loved it because I have not had time to talk down to any part of myself and I have not had to justify skipping a workout to myself or eating an extra chocolate with my second cup of afternoon coffee. After three weeks of simply existing (no rationing, no hardcore sweating), I look like this. And that is a pretty cool thing.
So I guess the moral for myself is, and perhaps maybe for all of us, is that so often we conjure up myths about the implications of our actions. We act out of fear and we push our bodies because we want them to be the best possible reflections of our commitment to their presentations. But when we just let go, when we simply (or not so simply) trust that our bodies are just fine. They are just fine. We surrender and exist. We let our bodies do what they need and show us what they want to eat. And more importantly, we let our minds slowly retrain from old habits.
So leading into this holiday season- try and be kind with your body. Enjoy flavors and colors, a little of everything. Savor it, indulge. Take walks and be easy. Everything is okay. Your body is beautiful when you feel calm. So breathe in some peace and enjoy a piece.