Today, I had the opportunity to have my photo taken for the Seacoast Power Yoga website.  I say it’s an opportunity for a reason.  Having my picture taken used to be a great source of anxiety for me.  Over the years, I had learned all the hand and arm positions, body postures, clothing, and props to hide my perceived physical flaws.

I remember about a year ago, someone took a very unflattering picture of me at a family event, and I was downright despondent over it.  It’s as if a fat roll was the ultimate sign of human failure.  I was ready to pack it in and move into a cave because I felt like the ugliest duckling on Earth.  Looking back, I know all of this is highly irrational, and I’ve lived the majority of my life like this…until one pivotal moment.

yogagypsy real meDuring the beginning of my teacher training, my yoga teacher posted this picture on Facebook of me.  At the time, I was mortified.  I just remember having the urge to tell her to take it down, but then I realized I would have to admit to her that I thought there was something wrong and shameful about my body.  I really didn’t want to be ashamed, but I was faced with that decision we all face when we have icky feelings.  We can act like they aren’t there or we can dive headfirst down that rabbit hole just to find out, “What the hell is this all about?”

So, I sat there and stared at myself for probably hours.  I didn’t lie to myself and say affirmations about how beautiful I was because I honestly didn’t believe that.  I didn’t sit in judgement of myself either about how not appealing I thought I was.  I just said, “This is what I look like.”  When I would get a random thought like, “Ew! Barf!  Don’t ever leave the house again.” I would just breathe and say to myself, “This is what I look like.”  I guess it was some sort of desensitization therapy I thought up, but it actually worked.  I was able to look at all the pictures I hated with some form of neutrality and say, “That’s me.  There I am.”

Seacoast Collage

Today when I was getting my photo taken, I wasn’t thinking the same things I used to think: “Suck in your tummy!  Hide behind this lamppost!”  I honestly just felt like myself.  When I actually looked at the photos, I felt a little emotional.  Of course I noticed the physical changes, but I was really happy to see even a bigger change in my stature, my being, my aura, if you will.  I didn’t have the body of a girl trying to hide behind a big purse or furniture because she’s too ashamed.  I looked strong, proud, and happy. I was just one woman very delighted to be in this body.

That’s me.

There I am.