No Photos, Please

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Postaday prompt: Can’t Stand Me – What do you find more unbearable: watching a video of yourself, or listening to a recording of your voice? Why?

Having had my own weekly radio show I adapted to the sound of my own voice rather quickly. I am often complimented on my calming tone when I teach yoga, and in general, and so I accept that my voice is ‘nice.’

Seeing myself on video holds more of a charge. For me it’s my posture sometimes, although that has improved greatly since committing to a regular yoga practice, mostly it’s a reminder that the outside packaging still does not match the inner spirit. There’s still work to do.

I have couched my soul in its journey long enough. I have hidden my heart’s true desires behind protective layers of fat that require further protection and hiding from boxy, loose clothing. Mostly now I’m comfortable in my own body. I feel when it’s off, when it needs to lose a few pounds – like now – and I feel when it’s in optimal condition. It’s familiar and comfortable, we’ve been together a long time.

Then I see it. Caught at a weird angle in a photo or moving in a video and I think, ‘Who is that?’ I don’t think it’s ego or even an unrealistic idea of what I should look like. I think it’s that my spirit is so young and playful, ready to travel, ready to go, ready to try new things. It’s an athlete and a daredevil. What it’s encased in betrays all of that.

The outer shell is soft, a little too round, hiding muscles and litheness beneath. It could be sitting on a park bench feeding squirrels perfectly content, when the inner me is on its way to zipline or snorkel or catch a plane to an exotic location.

I’ve been doing a lot of work with myself and a formidable group of women on letting go of image, but the truth is, it’s a part of our culture and therefore our DNA. We have to come to terms with it rather than ignore it or sweep it under the rug.

In doing this work, this little social experiment, I have discovered that those with the “best” bodies are hardest on themselves. There is one woman who is heavier in the hips and thighs with a perfectly flat stomach and beautifully shaped arms and she wishes for thinner hips. I can’t imagine her any other way. She is perfect for her. Another is dismayed by her inability to gain weight, when what I see is the best physical expression of the woman beneath the skin.

I have become quite adept at seeing what each individual is supposed to look like. What their best most natural weight is supposed to be. And so many people are already there, struggling for someone else’s version of perfection. For some it’s carrying a little weight, for others nearly bone thin works best.

For myself a couple sizes smaller, not thin. Healthy, sporty even, or dare I say, pleasantly average. Then, I will be ready for my close-up.

 

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