I had wanted to do the whole professional yoga shoot for a while. Since I’m saying hello to my fourth decade this year it seemed like the right thing to do. I’ll only get older & who knows how much longer I’ll be able to do the poses that I can now do.
I document my son & much of my yoga life on Instagram publicly which doesn’t come easy to me. I fall prey to comparing myself to other yogis on Instagram: more flexible, more strong, & I’ll just come out and say it: more skinnier.
As I waited for Chelsea on Alberta Street last Saturday, my hands were shaking. My breath was jagged. I stretched as best as I could, but felt very nervous & awkward. Cars rushed by & a line of excited Portlandiers waited in line behind me at Pine State Biscuits.
I was so scared. I texted this to Chelsea a couple times & she only was reassuring, it’s going to be fine.
My fear blossoms from many things: scared that people will see me & laugh at me, scared that I won’t be able to perform (pose well for the shoot), & most of all? I’m afraid I won’t look ‘good enough.’
Because I’ve never felt like I’ve looked good enough since I was about 12 when I started going through puberty. I was blessed with voluptuous curves & I had many friends that stayed flat chested & skinny for years. Yes, the grass is always greener & I’ve known plenty of women who wish they had my bra size. Believe me, I get that.
When I discovered yoga, I loved how it made me feel weightless & graceful. It felt like the soul I knew I had deep on the inside was allowed to come out & play. I felt beautiful. I saw my insides more than my outsides.
I’ve always swung up & down with my weight, I’m one of those people who gains very easily. Before H was born I was probably at my skinniest, dieting heavily before an AA retreat in Palm Springs. Even then I felt far from comfortable in a bikini!
I gained a lot of weight during my pregnancy & it has been very hard to lose. I had to buy special high chested tank tops during teacher training (boobs + chaturanga = a very good view in a regular tank!). When we covered the section on how to best teach those with extra weight, they practiced on me!
At 40 I am OK with the way I look.
I still have times when I cringe. When my identity is too tied up with the way my butt looks during down dog.
When I wonder if bathing suit season will ever not make my stomach drop.
When I wonder if people look at me and think, she can’t be a yoga teacher. She doesn’t look like one.
But I am! And I am not skinny. Today this is okay. I hope tomorrow & every day after that will strengthen any negative self image I have of myself.
This is who I am.
All pictures magically taken by Chelsea of Anything But Dull Photography. Thank you Chelsea for making me feel comfortable.
The murals are clustered in the art district of Alberta Street in Portland, OR. We shot mostly at the cross streets of NE Alberta & 20th through 23rd. We also shot at Rocky Butte which makes for some amazing scenic views of Portland.
This was an emotional post to write & I hope all the young girls out in the world feel that their insides more than their outsides are beautiful & important.
Love to you all~