I promised myself, when I started Requisite Pilates, that I would write a regular blog post….every Wednesday, rain or shine. I thought it would be a good habit to cultivate, and also a way to share some thoughts and practical tips for your movement practice. Turns out it’s two weeks later, and I’m forcing myself to sit and write. I know, if I don’t do it now, I may never do it. If I never do it, then it turns out I’m not fit for starting a business, I’m a fake and a phony and “Who do I think I am?” At least that’s what my mean inner voice (we’ll call her Esther) tells me.
I believe that’s what they call stinkin’ thinkin’. Self judgement turns into self sabotage which reaffirms that sneaky insidious imposter syndrome, which tells me that I’m a fraud so why bother.
Esther is pretty loud and very obnoxious, and she’s the harshest when it comes to body image. She’s also validated by a chorus of messages from our culture. It’s not easy to sift through that cacophony to find the truth, and the freedom, of self acceptance.
I’m a larger body in an occupation that is focused on a particular body type, that I will never have (and never really had) and I’m realizing how important It is to represent, for all body types, that we’re worthy of caring for ourselves. Period. Especially on the days when Esther is particularly rowdy.
I’ve spoken to so many women, who don’t feel worthy of (you name it) because they’re aging, gaining weight, have dark circles under their eyes, cellulite on their thighs, mastectomy scars, invisible chronic illness, eating disorders….the list goes on and on. In so many of these instances, body issues become entangled with identity and sense of self. It’s mighty f’ed up.
On top of it, we’re bombarded with weight loss ads, wrinkle creams, fascia blasters and yes, exercise programs, which present themselves as saviors. If you do Abs of Steel (is that a thing anymore?), Weight Watchers etc… you’ll no longer feel like a fraud, you’ll get your shit together and conquer the world with your rock hard butt.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve done ALL the things. The diets, the botox, the creams, and the workouts and ultimately the results are fleeting. Not because I’m a failure, but because I was doing them for the wrong reason I’d been trying to fix something that isn’t broken.
It’s the system, the culture, that’s broken, and in my small way (especially when Esther is particularly loathsome), this is where I’ve decided to shift focus as a human, as a woman and as a movement practitioner.
A client-friend recently told me “for the record-YOU do NOT come across as ‘I can fix you’ but as ‘I’m messy with you’.” It was a passing comment but a huge epiphany. Heck yeah I’m messy, but my humanity and vulnerability, is exactly what makes me a great Pilates instructor.
I have the privilege of becoming a mirror of non-judgement for people. The best part...the more I cheer for you as you move towards your personal movement goals, the less Esther can get a word in edgewise. Turns out, practicing empathy towards others is the antidote to self-sabotage.
At the end of the day, we all just want to feel seen and supported in a world that bombards us with messages of “You’re not enough”. To steadily and repeatedly drown out that mean inner voice with a kinder gentler one that accepts us exactly as we are in our body, and in all areas of our lives.