I used to lift up my shirt every morning and ask myself: “Do I have them yet? Is today the day I’ll get a glimpse of my six pack?”
Years passed and I asked: “Ok, maybe a four pack?” Then it became: “For sure, I’d have a one pack by now.”
But those days never came. What came though was the acceptance that there isn’t any kind of pack that would settle into my stomach area any time, and I am totally at peace with that.
At first glance, I am the embodiment of skinny. I’m lucky I got the skinny gene from my family. But skinny doesn’t equate to healthy. There was no way I could run a mile without gasping for air; my inhaler never far from my hand. Those bootcamp classes at the gym? It never failed for my entire skin to breakout in hives after sweating for an hour. I used to run out of the class so quickly so no one would see the bumps on my skin that made me look like a swollen red potato.
But, darn it. I wanted those six pack.
That six-pack would have been a validation that I, too, could look like celebrities and supermodels. I would have killed for those rock-hard abs on the cover of magazines. That model-esque look would prove that I was pretty too. I guess growing up in a family where you never heard words like “beautiful,” “pretty,” or “You’re enough” would do that to someone’s self-esteem.
It took a while for me to battle those insecurities. I admit, I still laugh at my husband’s face when he tells me I’m beautiful. But I have learned to appreciate my body, love handles and all. Yoga has taught me that. When I first started practicing, it was for pure workout at the gym. Then, I found a studio with supportive teachers who not only helped me practice the right way, but also taught me to love myself. I soon realized that belly I have is what supports me in inversions. That stomach I used to hate looking at is what holds me up in poses. It’s the gut that I listen to when things aren’t right. It is my very core in more ways than one.
Now, every morning, I lift up my shirt and say: “You’re a one sexy woman!” When I practice and I’m able to hold myself up for 10 breaths without any pain in my body, I thank my non-six-pack stomach. For I have a strong core that keeps me in check. Sexy is a state of mind. Beauty is how you see yourself.
The other day, I was admiring this Buddha statue in the yoga studio where I practice. He is normal-looking, but he certainly does not have a sick pack.