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Form versus Function

Some things I can't blame anyone for.  For instance, I have no idea why I have always hated my knees.

Real Woman Photo
Height: 5'5" Weight: 129 Pant Size:4-6 Shirt Size: Small

I remember having a tantrum when I was with my grandmother trying on dresses at age four because she dared to give me a summer dress that exposed my knees.  They are bony and prominent, but I don't remember ever hearing from anyone anywhere that there was something wrong with them.

But in other ways, I'm not so different than almost every other woman- person- I know.  I've been subjected to my share of negative body messages: too fat (my mother), too skinny (my father), too youthful (an ex), too hippy (a friend), too Asian (my white classmates), not Asian enough (my Korean family and colleagues), too short, "average" (which is maybe the worst thing anyone ever said to me) and just generally not right in some way.  These things have gotten to me as much as they get to anyone, but even when I was younger I had moments of sanity where I decided that, on some level, it just didn't matter.  I've also gone through periods where I *gasp* liked myself and the way I looked.  I'm in one of those now.

I'm a yoga and Pilates instructor, and both my training and the people I see have changed the way I look at other people's bodies as well as my own.  I used to deal with a sizable contingent of people who had eating disorders.  I no longer think of thin as positively as I used to.  More importantly, I'm not impressed by the length of someone's legs or the size of their muscles anymore.  Now I'm looking at their posture and the efficiency with which they move.  And even with movements, my outlook has changed.  I don't get excited when another yoga practitioner moves a joint through a large range of motion.  I used to be intimidated and think "that person's practice is better than mine."  Maybe in some cases that's true, but a lot of times it's just the person's body in it's natural state- and I'm sure there are a bunch of things they wish they could do better.

In my own body, I get excited when my lumbar spine finally resumes a healthy curve and the muscles of my upper back feel strong.  My abs are still the area that bothers me the most, but now not because I wish I had a six-pack.  My pregnancy with big, healthy twin boys five years ago left a mark.  The two sides of my rectus abdominus are separated, and when I strain by lifting something too heavy or performing traditional abdominal exercises, I can feel it.  It's not noticeable- even trained professionals don't spot it because of my posture- but that imperfection bothers me. 

It doesn't hurt that I'm married to someone who thinks I'm pretty hot, I must say.  It also probably doesn't hurt that I'm on a permanent weight loss diet (due to allergies) that lacks animal anything, wheat, cashews, beans, soy, corn and oats.  That bothers me too- I wish that my body worked better at that basic level- and when someone remarks on what great shape I'm in/how thin I am, I can't help but think that the praise just isn't worth the cost.


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