It is easy to claim a title for yourself as it connects to your beliefs and what you are willing to advocate for. Most often it isn’t until they are tested that you realize where you stand in regards to them. For me, I have always taken the title of a body positivity advocate. Ensuring that those around me acknowledged the importance of appreciating and loving your body for what it is. I did so because I was passionate about the influence it had on women. It wasn’t until I took an outdoor yoga class and a girl stripped down to her sports bra, that I began to question how much I applied my own beliefs towards myself.
Seeing a girl wear a sports bra isn’t an unusual sight. It is who normally wears them that is the issue. So often, whether it be on social media or out in public, I see the majority of women wearing sports bras possessing abs and a chiseled stomach. Subconsciously I had always equated sports bra with abs, because that is the norm that I was consistently being faced with. I always loved the sport tops and bras available and wanted to wear one out, but as someone who does not possess abs but has sports bras I never thought to wear one of them out in public. I had consistently thought that in order to wear it solo, I had to have abs to show off. Sadly, I was not applying my own belief system towards myself and was already negatively acknowledging my stomach and what it was “allowed” to be wearing.
When the girl in yoga decided to strip down to a sports bra, it was a moment of self-realization. She did not have abs, but yet she was so confident in her space and body. A confidence that I failed to exhibit.
My uncomfortability with my stomach bothered me, and I didn’t want to preach something I myself didn’t live by. I didn’t want to live by the belief that if you didn’t have a flat toned stomach that you shouldn’t be proud to show it off. I wanted to be happy with my stomach, and have the same confidence the girl at yoga had. Healthy and beautiful comes in different forms, and I wasn’t acknowledging mine.
Now maybe this isn’t how you are supposed to do it, but who has the right recipe for life anyways? I hate yet love living in my uncomfortable place, so I decided if I felt uncomfortable wearing just a sports bra and showing off my stomach I was going to have to live in that uncomfortablity for a bit. So on a bike ride this week, in the 90 degree weather that Florida is known for, I decided to embrace my body and wear a sports bra. I felt so awkward at first, I honestly was scared of what others would think. I caught myself thinking that people might be saying that I don’t belong wearing what I was wearing, and I felt myself stepping away from my body positive mindset.
I soon realized that no one was really paying attention to me, and I soon stopped thinking about what I was wearing and just focused on the bike ride. I didn’t care how my stomach looked, and I was more focused on my ability to be active and ride a bike outdoors. In other words, I was more intrigued by what my body could do rather than what it looked like. That is what is most important. Thinking about your body and all its abilities, where it has taken you, how strong it is, and where you will go.