Quick note, In case you haven’t read my last few newsletters, a friendly note that I’ve changed the name of my business from Yoga’licious to Essence’tially You– you can read more here :)… and now onto regularly scheduled programming…
On Valentine’s Day last month, I shared this video on social media–of me dancing my tushy off in a Hawaii public pool last year (which feels timely to share with you now, as I prepare to lead my first ever retreat in Hawaii this week-more on that later).
I love this video. How happy I am. How free I was feeling at that moment. How silly and expressive I was allowing myself to be. And yet, it took me a really long time to share it.
What’s significant about this, about me not sharing for such a long while, is that I’m pretty visible and truthful in the world, especially when it comes to talking about fully loving our bodies. I do love and claim my curviness, my lusciousness. I own that I love my body, and I own it often. Still, there was something significant, yet subtle, for me about the video-sharing piece that had me holding back…
As I reflected on what took me so long to share, I realized that not sharing this video was like a microaggression toward myself. The thought behind it being, “I feel confident and free, yet I can see my cellulite there…can I really show that too?!”
I know we’re talking about first world problems here, and yet there was a subtle fear that I was pointing at my cellulite… like somehow cellulite is the thing that is going to cause me to lose favor in the eyes of the general public, and essentially lose connection. I was afraid maybe I was “sharing too much”…lightly afraid of what people might think (I am less interested in what people think of me these days, and more interested in my full freedom, and from time to time it still pops up).
It’s not at all surprising that I’d feel this fear or that I’d restrict my self-expression as a result. We’re socialized to hide the parts of ourselves that the dominant culture tells us we ought to be ashamed of. But the thing is, hiding these parts of ourselves limits more than just our self-expression. It limits our ability to connect with ourselves and with others. To celebrate all of who we are and in doing so, to give others permission to do the same.
Yes, it’s totally possible that someone will see my cellulite in this video and judge me. To them, it may mean that I’m weak-willed, less than competent, or in some other way unqualified to do my work in the world. And I have no control over that. Thankfully, the flip-side is also true: Our bodies and their shape/size is not a determiner of our capability, strength, value, and ability to share our gifts with the world.
In sharing this message a few weeks ago, the ripple effect was beautiful to witness. I got many comments and messages from others who were inspired and lit up by my sharing. One woman even said that because of this share, she gave herself permission to buy a bathing suit she wouldn’t have bought otherwise, which may seem like a small thing, but when you’re living in any amount of shame about your body, I assure you, it’s not.
I’ve discovered, once again, that in sharing myself vulnerably and courageously, it’s not just me who gets to feel seen and celebrated. It’s other humans like me, who’ve been hiding the parts of themselves they’re conditioned to be ashamed of…and that is a deeper level of connection and visibility than I ever could have hoped for.
Bottom line, as I open up to sharing more of myself, especially the parts that feel scary or confronting to share, I continue to release the old patterning that’s meant to keep me small. I continue to learn how to be in a loving relationship with this beautiful body that I’ve been given. And I continue to deepen into the trust that it’s in partnership with and acceptance of my body, not resistance to it, that I get to make the biggest impact…cellulite and all.
What aspects of yourself are you still feeling fearful to share? I invite you to send love to those places at this moment. To acknowledge your sweet self, and if you’re willing, to consider sharing yourself in even some small way that feels new; to discover the opening to yourself and others that come when we don’t filter any aspect of who we are. And if you do, I’d love to hear about it!