I am 37 years old in this moment.
In my teens to mid-twenties I had one main objective: To be skinny. I did almost anything imaginable to obtain that goal. Ingested diet pills, put poison into my body in the form of food: “Fat Free”, “No Sugar”, “Zero Calories”, etc. I put Splenda and skim milk in my coffee every morning, didn’t eat carbs and sadly, obtained a pretty severe eating disorder for several years, binging and purging everything I ate. I laid in a tanning booth almost daily and bleached my hair. I was tan, blonde and skinny. I had to be pretty and SKINNY.
In my late twenties/early thirties I had ditched the tanning booth, ate really well and thankfully, had long overcome my eating disorder. I went to the gym 5 days a week and cooked all my own meals, spending a small fortune at Whole Foods to eat the way I wanted at the time: Gluten-Free, Paleo, Organic, etc. I tried CrossFit, spinning, the stair-master, Body Pump, you name it. I had to be FIT.
In my early-mid thirties I became a mother. I got pregnant for the first time at 33 and gave birth for the first time at 34. I breastfed my son for 16 months and was pregnant for the second time while I was still breastfeeding. I gave birth to my daughter just after I turned 36. I was anxious and depressed and trying to be the best mom I could be. What did I eat? Whatever I could find when I finally realized I hadn’t eaten anything all day. When did I workout? Never. I just had to be STRONG.
Now here I am, 37 years old and just starting to think about doing SOMETHING for myself again. Realizing I have put myself last for 3 years, I am starting to think: What is it I would like to eat? How do I want to start moving my body again? What is it I’m searching for?
So one afternoon I told my husband I needed an hour and I found myself at Restorative Yoga.
I had never felt such a release, such a calmness before. I had taken yoga in the past, but only in between intense workouts as a way to have a “good stretch” or I’d take hot yoga just to try and sweat out toxins. I had never actually listened to the message or really given my mind and body a chance to BREATHE.
I realized I hadn’t listened to my body once in my entire life.
I had told it what to do based on what was important to me at the time.
This time I listened. And I cried.
In the dimly lit room, with soft, tranquil music, in a position on the floor, my body told me what it had done for me and what it had been through.
My body had been robbed of the nutrients it was supposed to obtain and forced to purge them out. My body had been burned in a bed of UVA and UVB lights to look a certain color. My body had been ejected from a car having flesh torn open and bones shattered, organs lacerated and drugs injected into a forced medical coma. My body had been poisoned with chemicals camouflaged as food. My body had been overworked with too much weight added for squats and lunges to look a certain way. My body had carried, nourished and nurtured two beautiful babies for 9 months each, went through labor and giving birth. My body had gained 40 pounds each pregnancy and then took it all off again. My body had created and provided milk for both my babies.
My body is tired.
I laid on the floor with tears streaming down my face as I felt each muscle and joint breathe a sigh of release. Like I was doing something FOR my body for the first time in my life.
Then I started thinking about everyone else in the room with me.
Maybe the woman to my left had a mother she takes care of, helping to lift her in and out of a chair each day. Maybe the man to my right used to do construction or maybe he played football in college.
My body isn’t the only body that’s gone through torture.
Our bodies are resilient. WE are resilient.
I wanted to be skinny.
I wanted to be Fit.
I needed to be Strong.
Now I need to RESTORE, give THANKS and be GRATEFUL to this body.