I’ve been embarrassed of my belly my whole life, always trying to cover it, always wanting it to be small and hide. Since 5th grade, I knew it was the one thing – the only thing! – that impeded a smile from being permanently plastered to my face. I’ve forever been a happy girl, but how could I expect myself to live through my years, reach all my goals, meet new people – and be happy if I had a belly like mine?
it gets in my way a lot. It’s always hurting, always bloated, always far too sensitive – It’s almost painful to wear tight things. It certainly gets in the way of my practice every day, and my first instinct for so long was to be frustrated or self conscious that someone might see, and a few months never go by without a congratulations for my pregnancy. I know every ingredient that goes into my body, and I make it sweat seriously 6 times a week, but still the little bubble exists – and every day it changes.
My belly is never ever the same – it feels and digests my emotions, it communicates the instant I ate something it didn’t like, it starts screaming before even my mind can register that I’m anxious or excited or very afraid. For so long I had no idea how to deal with such a chatty belly – I wanted a firm break up when all it needed was attention. I was far too socially easy-going, always giving but never requiring anything I could receive. I could convince myself into or out of anything just using my mind, even if the millions of tiny knots in my core told me otherwise. I was tight and compressed and rigid, and my stomach was only trying to tell me so.
I’m finally beginning to listen, and these last few months I’ve made friends who are teaching me to receive by giving themselves to me wholly, I’m following my instinct, literally listening to my gut, and I’m learning to let go of all the pretty expectations I had in my belly-aching days. I’m leaning into yellow, to manipura, to my firm will.
My belly is beautiful when it rises and falls as I breathe, and one day it will be even more so when it makes a tiny life inside. My belly is powerful when it moves me through my practice every morning, and when it gets me up big mountain rocks like yesterday. My belly is energy, conducting and directing, granting wishes too (buddha belly).
How did this amazing thing that is me ever not make me smile? How was it ever in my way when it was really what was showing me the way?
It still hurts a lot, sometimes people still ask me if I’m pregnant, but I work really hard not to hide it anymore. To not confine it to names or thoughts or even clothing. To accept it, to trust it, and to listen. To smile when it feels fuller today, to not care when it’s flatter than yesterday. To understand it just is and is what will be. My belly doesn’t try to fool anyone, it just wants me to stop fooling me.
so this is my #healthybellyselfie to support the project of my beautiful friend Emily Nolan of My Kind of Life (check out her topless campaign) so I tag all readers to post theirs and share in the #belfie love
Healthy and happy and climbing mountains
Sports bra (and original article on) YOGiiZA of course