Well, it finally happened. I broke down in tears during yoga.
I've been going to yoga* for about two months now, and each time I see myself in the mirror, I am so filled with sadness, anger, and self-loathing. With the Spirit's help, I'm slowly learning to truly love myself (even my faulty parts), yet in yoga my mind slows down enough for anger at the childhood and genetics that caused me to be deficient in self-love to rise to the surface. I get sad knowing I have these handicaps to overcome through no fault of my own. I get angry at the handicaps themselves and the effect they've had on my life.
I especially get upset at my appearance. I look at all the thin, flexible people in that class and, even though I hold my poses pretty well, I can't stand what I see in that mirror.
This doesn't happen in other classes. Step, weights, kickboxing. I am powerful in all of them, typically one of the top performers, even though I'm a size 16. On the track, I run fast and look good (so I'm told).
But in yoga, somehow, I come face to face with who I am. And who I can never be.
I see that my clothes never fit right- they always make me look fatter than my kickboxing or running clothes. Funny how most of the time, they ARE my kickboxing or running clothes. So what's up with the yoga mirror?
Instead of seeing the wonderful person who lost almost 50 pounds, I see the size 22 I used to be. The fatty no one liked, and everyone treated like was so dumb and lazy. I see the grown woman who still struggles with adolescent social concepts- who is learning in her 4th decade what others learned before high-school. I see the mind that doesn't quite follow others, ears that get lost in a sea of voices, the eyes that don't quite express to others what I really feel, leading them to think I'm angry, disappointed, condescending when I'm not.
I see everything about me that makes me "not good enough," "undesirable," "useless." words that echo in my subconscious and produce in me a desire I must always fight to please too many people, to ingratiate myself so maybe they'll accept me and be my friends.
And so yesterday I broke down in tears about halfway through my yoga class. And I realized that in spite of all my accomplishments, I have never truly loved myself. I always hated being a who I was. I hated being a goody-two-shoes. I wanted to be "bad" like others. Just let loose, let my hair down, and have some fun. Yet, even as an adult, I can't bring myself to break "the rules." I get angry that I can't just turn my conscience off and relax like "normal" people. I get mad that, deep down inside, I don't really WANT to. I just want people to accept me. And they don't accept you when you're different- even if that different means living a good, clean, godly life.
But what good is that? All I'm doing is hurting my own self!
I made up my mind that, with the Lord's help, I would stop being so hard on myself. I would celebrate my victories instead of beating myself up for what is largely out of my control. And I would be gentle and loving- something I've yet to receive from my family. I believe I can do it! I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
* For those who are spiritually inclined, I resisted going to yoga for years because too many yoga instructors I met were over-emphasizing the spiritual aspect (which often feels opposed to the Holy Spirit). This yoga instructor does not. She simply leads us through the poses and cautions us to mind our breathing and thought patterns. My intention for each "practice" as they call it is "to honor God through proper care of my body," and I'm very glad to have found her class because it's done wonders for my nerve problems and flexibility.