body positive

1.21 Jigglewatts!

4:36:00 PM

I've been beefing up my exercise routines of late. I have been strength training with a Jillian Michaels program as well as jogging using the Zombies, Run! app. This last weekend, my friend Marcie asked me to join her for yoga. I despise yoga. I've found yoga to be very boring and I generally never feel as though my body has been challenged in any way. After I finish a yoga session, I usually feel like I stretched, which is lovely, but, I also feel light headed for the rest of the day and become nauseated and very sleepy. But, I hadn't done yoga in almost five years and I don't want my other workouts to get boring, so I decided it would be good to mix things up by giving yoga another shot.

The yoga class was held at a well known spiritual center I frequent and they asked only for a love offering (what one can afford to pay). That works for me, as I've been in a financial transition of late. I was stuck in traffic so class had already started, but, I got to participate in most of the class and one moment really stood out for me.

I was sitting on my mat with my legs out in front of me as we had been guided. The instructor then told us to shake our legs out and to lightly "slap" our legs to loosen them up. I was immediately horrified!

I was constantly told as a young gal that I was hideously ugly and incredibly fat, by my family. I was very often told how fat and how disgusting my legs were and how fat my ass was. I was told all the time that I had "thunder thighs" and my family would make fun of me when I would walk down stairs because my thighs would jiggle. In reality, I was 120lbs, 5'3" and I was weight training three times a week. But, I was growing up in an abusive household so, any opportunity my family had to shame and degrade my body was enthusiastically embraced. I became the family punching bag both emotionally and physically until I was almost 16, when I left the abusive environment to live with my father instead. As a result of abuse and body shaming, I grew into an adult female with no sense of what my body actually looks like. None at all.

After being told to shake my legs on purpose during yoga, all of those yucky memories rushed in instantly. The thought of exposing my 1.21 jigglewatts to others nearly incited a panic attack akin to Dr. Emmett Brown's.


But, this time, something clicked. A switch was flipped and while I remembered those horrible things from growing up,  I remembered that I don't give a fuck about what anyone else thinks, because I love myself. Something that was not entirely true until about four years ago. So, instead of doing what I was taught by abusive, body negative values in my family, by society and the media; instead of wanting to cry at what a horrible, gelatinous being I must be; instead of telling myself I'm fat, undesirable and therefore unloveable, I paused.

I thought about the journey I have been on becoming a body positive, spiritual, feminist. I thought about my adventures becoming a model, burlesque performer, actress and nude performer. I thought about how far I've come and how unacceptable it would feel to take any steps backwards. I thought about how much understanding, compassion and love I offer others, and that I should be willing to offer those things to myself as well. I thought about how long it took me to be able to get on stage, because of my body issues. I thought about how many people have seen me fully naked on stage, under unflattering lights, and never complained. I thought about how hard I've worked to love myself and to be body positive. I thought about how the human body is magnificent, magical and beautiful; and I thought about how I am no exception to that truth.

Then I shook the fuck out of my legs and I slapped them and I told them I loved them. I told my legs how much I appreciate all they do for me and I embraced every jiggle I felt ripple through my thighs. This just inspired me more and as the class went on, I thought about how I was floating in positive energy in that room and I took every chance to hug, thank and love my body throughout the remainder of the class.

It was the best yoga class I've ever been to and my mind has been changed about yoga forever. Not only did I have a powerful and positive emotional experience, I LOVED the instructor because the class challenged me physically and I never felt bored. Added bonus--there were four people in class, and after class was over I noticed that the famous spiritual director and founder of the center, Dr. Beckwith, was in the yoga session with us!  It's been a little dream of mine to meet him, so I was particularly pleased and felt a sense of things coming full circle as he has inspired me beyond words along my journeys and adventures.

Today, I stand at 5'3, 130lbs, a perfectly reasonable weight for my height & frame. I am proportionate and working everyday to be more strong and healthy. I would have preferred to have been treated differently by my family and I would have preferred to have been brought up with body positive values. But, I wasn't and that's made me who I am today. And I think I'm fucking awesome... jiggling thighs and all.


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