This image, by Steven Meisel of Karolina Kurkova from US Vogue 2004 (via), is, to me, a picture of pure, graceful, and vulnerable warrior strength. Read on, and I'll explain.
I've thought a lot about this. A LOT.
I hope I've challenged myself and my assumptions and my perceptions and my processing of others' comments about how I shouldn't lose any more weight and I should be careful and, and, and... Because no matter what I'd love to say about how important those comments are to me (preferably not so important), they are. Very.
A sage, strong woman I've met in the Weight Watchers Online community (and, who, by the way, butchers some of her own meat and fly fishes; she is my hero) described her "happy place" this way: "xxlbs, which means no muffin top in the size x skinnies, and I can't pinch an inch." xes because the number is not important. It really isn't. It is, however, important to me that there's no "dent" at the top of a fitted pant, that my VPL are not from a too-tight thong waist, and that when I wear a fitted knit dress, there's no bumpy stuff on either side of my bra. Vanity is reality.
It's also about health. It's also about sense of self. It's also about feeling and being strong. It's also about being patient and kind to my Self. It's also about being a warrior.
I was lucky enough to get an inadvertent private yoga session today with TrainerJen. Let's just say getting to yoga is long overdue for me. I struggled. Well, my brain wanted to struggle. And so TrainerJen kept reminding me to use my breath, let my breath carry me, and to just let the chatter be (because the brain will chatter, so no use in working to get rid of it).
I teetered. I tottered. My breath caught in places I didn't want it to. I couldn't get my chest to open up, or my heart to soar. And we repeated sequences over and over, opening a little more with each caught breath, returning to each breath, and shifting a hip, an elbow, a chin, or a shoulder to find that place where, as TrainerJen reminded me, "you don't have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders."
That one is hard.
On and off throughout the session, I noticed that my breath and eyes were nearing a sob. That's not unusual for me in a yoga session. I don't suppose it's unusual or unexpected for a lot of people. For whatever reason, it didn't come. And that's just fine.
After the last Om and namaste, we chatted. We chatted about what it means to be a warrior. There's an assumption in our western world that "warrior" equals "aggressor." Instinctually, I know that's not the case. A warrior is patient, noble, strong, and deliberate. A warrior acknowledges her strength and her self. A warrior understands her softer places and her vulnerable places, then builds those places into her strength.
A warrior also understands that help - and accepting help - is a loving gesture. That, perhaps, is the toughest thing to acknowledge, for me. My shoulders want to carry the world. Whether they take that upon themselves on their own, because I'm me, or whether our lives have taught them that, I'm not sure. But I'm going to try to acknowledge my limits, and patiently accept even my own help, in the form of deliberate, noble, strong steps. Those steps can be simple: making a list and checking things off one by one. Those steps can be complicated: asking for help from a place that has strings attached. But I'm going to do it.
And with that acceptance, and that sense of my warrior self, I will continue faithfully on this path of physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Warrior, heal thyself.