My earliest memories of caring about my weight go all the way back to being 8 years old. We had just moved from Dublin to NY, and I noticed I was taller and a bit bigger than my new American girlfriends-- as if worrying about my "weird" Irish accent wasn't stressful enough! Even though I've always been fortunate enough to be surrounded by great friends in life, the handful of taunts throughout my childhood and adolescent years, still stick with me. And sadly, I have to laugh about a backhanded compliment my friend shared when in 9th grade, the first boy who liked me said, "She's no Cindy Crawford, but I still really like her."
So I dove into the obsessive diet and exercise trend of the nineties, refusing to eat anything that wasn't labeled "fat-free," and popped Ms. Crawford's famous workout tape into our VHS, any chance I got. After all, if I wanted to be considered worthy and beautiful, I of course needed to be skinny.
I sadly carried this painful belief into college, despite having the most incredible boyfriend of my life to date, and into my twenties when I started to do some modeling and pursue acting professionally.
I know what you're thinking: "Bitch please. You modeled and you're talking about feeling fat and awkward?"
Believe me when I tell you that the message, "You aren't thin enough," was constant, and ultimately bled into an overall feeling of not being enough in many areas of my life.
When I shot with photographers, it was a team effort to angle my body in such a way that my hips and thighs appeared smaller than they actually were. On a commercial shoot, a stylist recommended I invest in a pair of spanks, out of disgust that I wasn't fitting into any of her options. And when I couldn't squeeze into various pencil skirts for a TV show, the stylist cupped his hand over the assistant's ear, whispering loudly about this big problem right in front of my face.
Thankfully, the shame train about my body gradually came to a stop when I started delving into a deep spiritual and physical yoga practice in my late twenties. I felt strong and calm on the inside, and organically developed a new love for the skin I was in on the outside. I remember having that moment of feeling, "I'm finally cured!" and shouted this loudly and proudly when I launched my yoga teaching site in 2010.
But my on-going study of the soul journey continues to reaffirm that old, deeply embedded wounds often take years to fully heal--if they ever do at all-- and we have the opportunity to discover this through on-going tests from our savvy ole pal, the Universe.
This pas week, lucky me was tested by managing to practice yoga two days in a row next to the "perfect" body, according to my ego's ideal. This woman was GOR. JUS. Her practice was flawless (even though everyone's yoga practice is supposed to be flawless) which completely threw off my practice as I compared and despaired about the parts of my body that had started to soften, sag, and spill over the last year.
The following day I arrived to class, preparing to become a witness to the self-sabotaging thoughts versus identifying with them. Ms. Perfect was a no-show, but my attention was now drawn to a girl in the back who was really struggling in a class that I too found to be more challenging than usual.
Every time she took a time-out, I truly thought, "Now that's a badass yogi! There was no shame in her child's poses. No ego telling her to keep going when her body knew better. And her internal focus was most admirable, unlike mine which was focused on her, focusing on herself.
After class in the locker room, we bonded over what a doozy the last 75 minutes had been and I commended her for her focus and presence. She eventually introduced herself and said with a chuckle, "Just remember me as the fat girl in the back who can't do yoga."
My heart legit sank and I was bothered by this for the rest of the day until DUH!!!! It hit me that I was her and she was me, and that skinny bitch from the last two classes was also me!
Martha Beck says, "the truth will set you free," so if something doesn't set you free, it's simply not your truth.
I CHOSE to let a woman's beautiful practice and body mean that my own practice and body was less than hers, while the yogi in the back chose to believe she's fat and "bad" at yoga compared to what everyone else was doing as I stared at her in awe of her presence and authentic sense of calm in the chaos of her practice!
Ya got that?!
It's a CHOICE to believe your painful story. Not your truth.
So in the same way I was done with my abusive boyfriend, Acting, I'm here by declaring that I'm now done with my abusive ego, Mean Girl. There is too much life to live, love to give, and LOVE TO RECEIVE.
Now excuse me while I go find a permanent marker to draw a beauty mark above my upper lip...
Happy Claire Your Mind Monday.
Who's the skinny bitch in your life?!! AKA an innocent teacher who was sent from the ethers to set off your triggers and heal your old wounds:) What can you consciously let go of in order to free yourself from the mind-made shackles that keep you feeling small…orrrr not so small?!?! Comment below!
And if you haven't already, follow me on Instagram @claireyourmind for updates, shameless selfies, and a reminder or 10 on living a more conscious, authentic, and joyful life.
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