Self-Actualization in my Big-Orange Dress

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I wore a very orange, very long, and full dress today. It yells, doesn’t whisper, summer and feminism. After church, after toddler was down for her nap, I went to my backyard sanctuary to play around with some yoga – in my big orange dress.

I took my camera thinking maybe the dress would create an artful picture. Maybe I could blog about how beautiful and flowy it made me feel; an opportunity to spread some real yoga body-positivity.

DSC_0478aTimer set. Run to mat. Snap first picture.

Several poses and deleted pictures later, and the only one I could even handle looking at was one that perfectly hid my adipose tissue (ehem, fat) and my God-given awkward face.

I finally decided this was as good as it was going to get. It would never get any better. I felt defeated, no joy left to do yoga. I lamented in Child’s pose until my legs fell asleep, and then moved myself into a prone position until my arms tingled. Finally I moved to a chair and sat even longer.

I sat in deep contemplation.

My self-reflection had me wondering and playing out what ifs.  What if I were to be totally mangled, (face and body)? Could find happiness despite my ugliness?  This thought reminded me of that saying (or maybe it’s just a popular meme) that basically says I am not my body, my body is just a vessel.

DSC_0478bJust a vessel.

The person I am. The person I want to be. The person I hide. That’s who I am. Not this flesh, which by the way is incredibly strong thanks to yoga (I mean, check out the budding definition in my arms! Woohoo!). I am this geeky, overly emotional, awkward, wife/mom/daughter who likes pretty dresses and loves God, and loves teaching and doing yoga. My flesh doesn’t have anything to do with it.

Really, my flesh is not just a vessel. It’s a barrier keeping me from fully expressing, experiencing and appreciating my individuality.

I still don’t have the courage to share the pictures that show my tricep flab, or the ones with my pouty lip (which is almost Bubba-Gump pouty from a profile angle) and my 31-year-old turkey neck.

But, the point is: Self-actualization. And body acceptance, of course.

Contemplate. Meditate. Pray. Love. Yoga. That’s how I’ve been shifting from self-loathing to self-loving.

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