March 9, 2014

Yay Me! (I don’t look like a model.) ~ Claudia Richey

you are beautiful

When was the last time you looked in the mirror and felt awesome about yourself?

You made eye contact with the reflection looking back at you and felt love, or in love, with yourself. Looked up and down your body and thought “hello gorgeous”?

I did, this morning. Don’t hate me. It took a lot to get here. I’m not perfect. Wait, let’s back track, of course I’m perfect. But maybe not to the standards of beauty we have now established to be our guideline, or lifeline, if you are a woman in her middle years (whatever that means).

I don’t look like a model. I am tall but unfortunately for me my torso seems longer then my legs, tough deal, I know. And I’ve outgrown my feet in my mid twenties, which means that I’m wearing a size nine on a 5’11” frame, which makes me more clumsy and unbalanced then I’d wished for when I was bitching about the same size shoes that seemed like boats when I was eleven.

I’m not completely symmetric. My left cheek is puffier then my right. I just know that everybody I’ve ever encountered has noticed this about me.

Some yoga poses are difficult for me because my arms are just a touch to short for my slightly long torso. Which makes simple poses like Dandasana a real chore for me, I just can’t get my hands flat on the mat beside my butt.

It’s too much fun to talk about imperfection, especially in myself. The little things that set you miles apart from your picture of perfect, pronounced and exaggerated, in your face, in the mirror, every day. Something almost enjoyable about the notion of feeling defeat in the security of never having a chance to be voted best looking girl in class. Even years after high school prom.

So one day I was done with it. I got over it. Yes, I’m a health coach who may always be five pounds away from the “perfect” weight. Yes, my hair gets frizzy in the rain. I bite my fingernails down to little nubs when I’m stressed. Or bored. Or excited. You get the picture.

But what I see when I make eye contact in the mirror is that bright green ring around my pupil that gets brighter and reflects the light when I’m happy.

I notice two strong legs that allowed me to ride my bike through the Rocky Mountains for four months (yes, they truly are Rocky, and no, I didn’t get eaten by bears).

I see two arms that are nicely toned, surely from all the extra work I have to do in Dandasana.

I notice how my voice gets hoarse  when I lead people through tele-seminars or workshops, and I don’t mind it because yes, my vocal cords may be weak, but the strength they submit to the listener is worth every bit of scratchiness.

The day I truly fell in love with myself was when I stopped dieting to reach the next silly goal I set for myself. When I made a decision to not play games anymore but to honor my body, to honor my appetite, and to honor my feelings. To stop and think, take a step back and observe, and make decisions now that nourish me and nurture my body soul package.

So now I practice my yoga with pride, and hey, sometimes I use a block or a blanky to prop up where need be.

I don’t force myself into jeans that are really two sizes to small, but get a pair that fits perfect and let’s me show of my strong legs that have carried me through the mountains without a motor.

I look at pictures of myself 20 years ago and applaud myself because I now see that I’m getting better, brighter and more beautiful with age.

Despite all these difficult to ignore imperfections I woke up one morning and decided that I am good enough. Not only good enough but perfect. And that should mean something because my European roots make imperfection somewhat hard to forgive, especially when it comes to myself.

Imagine my surprise when I kept waking up with this feeling, hey, I’m beautiful the way I am. I’m good enough. I’m plenty. And I’m deserving.

And I will not beat myself up because I can’t master the simplest of yoga poses.

Yay Me!


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Editorial Assistant: Aaron Gillespie / Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Flickr

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Claudia Richey