Second Side

She likes to pretend people can’t see it. In her own mind she is lean and lithe and neither the bulges she tries not to see nor the fit of her clothes seem to convince her otherwise.

At yoga she does triangle pose and imagines the length of her limbs must make everyone else notice. The slender feeling moves with her as she transitions into the stance of a warrior.

There’s a bit of comparison there; of course there is.

I’m not that heavy, she thinks.

I definitely don’t look like that. 

But what she’s imagining is what she used to look like, not what she looks like now.

rusted-red-barrel

Time has marched on. Life has intervened and left its marks. Former good practices now abandoned, she is flawed. Imperfect.

She knows this, yet doesn’t see it. Her body image is based on a mental picture, not what the mirror reflects. But she’s about to turn around.

The warrior windmills, hands to the ground, and a vinyasa follows. Chaturanga, cobra, downward dog. She steps to the top of her mat, takes a deep breath, returns to mountain.

Second side.

She takes the pose once again, picturing lissome limbs and graceful movements.

But she has placed her mat along the far wall, closest to the mirror, and the truth lurks. In triangle once again, she stands strong, reaching through her fingertips. Her pose stable and her balance solid, she moves her gaze towards the sky and in doing so catches a glimpse of her reflection.

In that moment, she sees it.

More large than lean; more bulgy than beautiful.

imperfection

The warrior vanishes; the wise yogi fades away.

She is just a girl in front of a mirror. Flawed. Imperfect. Trying to find her beauty.


 

Comments

  1. This is me. This is SO me. It’s so easy to see myself as long and lean when I’m bending down or doing some move or pose, and then I see myself straight on in the mirror. I GET THIS. You’re not alone.

  2. Are u a philosopher?

  3. It’s there. You just have to look past society’s norms to see it.

  4. I think it’s time to banish mirrors. ;) I love that you FEEL one way so stick with that. (telling myself too…) xo

  5. Beauty is a light in the heart, says Khalil Gibran.
    There is no perfection even in the most “perfect” of bodies.
    But, it is how you feel inside that really matters. It’s how comfortable you are with what you see. And it is in your hands to change what you don’t like. We’re rooting for you!

  6. I recently recorded myself in an at-home yoga session with my year old because she is just so stinking cute when she sits cross-legged and “meditates” but I can’t bring myself to share it because all I can see is how absolutely awkward, bumpy, and thick I look. And I know better than to feel this way, but there it is, the truth. Body image is such a complicated personal issue for me and I think I may suffer from some BDD – I’m getting better about being aware of my negative self-talk and of seeing myself the way others see me. As beautiful because of my whole self and not just my image.

    Also? I’ve come to the conclusion that only Tara Stiles looks glamourous doing yoga. ;) The rest of us look real. And that’s beautiful, too.

  7. I hear ya honey. That’s the beauty of yoga.

    I actually have a trick where I wear my glasses to yoga class and then take them off and put them beside my water bottle. This way, I’m essentially blind and can’t see myself in the mirrors. It’s wonderful :)

  8. Last summer we were looking at pictures that my husband had taken of us that day. We were at the lake and I was running beside our son on his bike. I looked so much bigger from behind than I thought I did. When I commented, my husband’s response was, “Well that’s how you look.” Of course I took it totally the wrong way. Had I stopped to think about it, I would have remembered that he loves how I look – loves me regardless, or in spite of – even if I don’t see myself that way. But trying to reconcile the image in my head with the image in the mirror is hard. So hard.

  9. I realize that I see what I want to see, and even feel that way. It’s not until I step out of the shower or go to wear shorts or a tank top that I realize how much I dislike how I look, how surprising it is to see myself when I THINK I look another way. It’s about more than coming to terms with the newness of our bodies; it’s also about whether or not we want to accept the changes.

  10. This is beautiful, brave, relatable. I love every word.

  11. I wish I could say that this is me but it’s not. Far from it. I’m flawed. Very flawed. Years of seeing myself as flawed. Working on it.

  12. Oh man, I love this. I relate to this. Yes.