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"Just Love Yourself."

Updated: Feb 16, 2020

...she said as I was straining to contort myself into the pose. I wanted to punch her in the throat. Okay, that's way harsh. I didn't really want to punch her in the throat. Or anywhere else for that matter. For the most part, I'm as passive as they come; only resorting to physical violence when there absolutely is no other way out.

But back to my living room yoga session - see, I couldn't have punched her anyway, I was in my living room and she was a gathering of pixels on my laptop screen. She was never in any real danger from me either way.

*ahem* I'm in my living room. It's another weekday evening where I'm attempting to break out of my usual routine by NOT spending the three and half hours between getting home from the day gig and falling exhausted into my bed, in a sedentary pursuit - be that pretending to work on my latest novel by watching countless YouTube videos or meditating, and by meditating I mean working on one of the jigsaw puzzles I got for Christmas this past December. I read somewhere that sitting for long periods of time on a regular basis reduces your life span by however many minutes per year. At this rate, between the almost 8 hours I spend sitting at the day gig, the hour and half - each way - commute seated in the car, and the "I don't want to deal with ANYTHING so I'm going to just sit on the couch until bed time", I probably should have died a few years back.

All of that to say, I decided to do Yoga in the evenings to hopefully win back an hour or two of life. I found a popular yogi on YouTube, unrolled my mat and joined the challenge on January 2nd. It was during Day 12 or so that she uttered those three little words, "Just love yourself."

Look lady, I thought, if I could do that, I probably wouldn't be torturing myself with yoga. Did I mention I don't like yoga? It looks good. All serene and calm. But the truth is, for me, yoga hurts. And not in a good way. My muscles are tight. Like dried out beef jerky - tight. Like over cooked steak - tight. I go to bend and things just stop working. Because I don't run, play, bike, walk, or dance as often as I used to (extreme understatement), I have some issue with being able to balance, I can't all that well anymore. And we won't even talk about the reduction in basic joint flexibility. I'd heard that yoga would help with all of those issues but the anger, frustration, disgust, and pain I feel every time I get into a seated, table top, or that demon pose - downward facing dog (UGH!) - position, I rage quit on the spot.

Every. Time.

Here's where I get to the point of this rant. I've heard the statement, "just love yourself," a few million times. And every time I think, "HA! If only it were that easy." Loving ourselves as we are takes some herculean effort given all the messages we receive that tell us we're not good enough, thin enough, tan enough, light enough, pretty enough, smart enough, etc. We're taught to fear being outside the norm and so we never fully embrace what makes us stand out and that leaves us with at least one thing we just, don't, LOVE about who we are. Which in turn, leaves us unable to fully love ourselves. Our whole selves.

Faced with this realization, I have an unconventional idea. In order to love myself, I will work to filter out all that bull@#$% that tells me what I'm not. Instead, I'm going to surround myself with as many supporting images, ideas, and activities as I can. Pictures of women built like me, who are dark like me, bald like me, quirky like me. I'll only buy clothes that truly fit (or I'll have items tailored), in colors that light me up, and make me FEEL good about being alive. I'll ignore the magazines or videos that tell me what I'm "supposed" to do and instead go with my gut, doing what I know is best for me. In all of that, I'm confident I'll grow to truly love MYSELF because I'll be fully living as me, in all of my quirky, hermit-like, goodness; and evil. There's some Dark Side in here too. Going to get to know it, own it, and love it too. The cookies are to die for ;-).

Alright, that's it for this one. Happy Valentine's Day (lol...). Go forth and show yourself some love.

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