I came across this blog post today from She Thrives called “How I found body confidence by running out of f*cks” and I was struck by how nearly IDENTICAL the blogger’s experience was to an experience I had just last week (and had considered blogging about). So, read that post before this one or after this one or whenever, but read them both, because dammit, this was an important thing that happened to us and it should happen to you too.
After recently getting burned out on my yoga routine (four to five days a week, same studio, same classes, same teachers) I took a jab at purchasing ClassPass, which is essentially an unlimited monthly membership to dozens of gyms in the Austin area (with a few caveats, but that’s a story for another time – if you have questions about ClassPass, leave ’em in the comments and we can chat about it).
On Friday, I decided to attend a “Flow” yoga class at Black Swan Yoga’s Orchard location in downtown Austin – a class I’ve been to before at a studio I’ve visited dozens of times. After being out late the night before, I was feeling very low-energy and wobbly – not feeling a heavy cardio or strength workout, just a really sweaty, detoxing yoga class to perk me up. I found out at the last minute (read: five minutes after class started) that the teacher had subbed out and I was taking a Hot Onnit class — um, not exactly what I was expecting. On its website, Black Swan describes Hot Onnit as “OMG SWEATY! All levels, mat-based fitness class that combines yoga warm up and cool down with strength and conditioning programming. Onnit equipment consisting of Steel Bells and Maces are used to provide higher resistance than normal bodyweight classes, resulting in a sweat dripping session!” Ok, y’all. ACCURATE description. “OMG SWEATY!” is right. The room wasn’t cooled, and the afternoon Texas sun was shining through the windows, showing us poor souls no mercy.
Five minutes into class I was thinking, “Ok, this isn’t so bad.” Ten minutes into class, sweat was running into my eyes. Twenty minutes into class, I was regretting not bringing a towel. I couldn’t see from the sweat. It looked like I had showered with all my clothes on. I looked around at two of the other girls in the class, who had already lost their shirts and were working in just sports bras and yoga pants. “Am I confident enough for that?” I asked myself. I’ve always wanted to be one of the fit girls who felt OK just wearing a sports bra to work out in (it’s convenient, and less clothes get sweaty and therefore there’s less laundry!) but I’ve never felt comfortable enough with my body to do it.
Thirty minutes into class, I literally whispered, “F*ck it” to myself. The shirt came off and I wiped my face and arms with it. It was now my sweat towel. I looked around. I looked at myself in the mirror. I felt awesome. I watched myself in the mirror for the next half hour, building muscle and building confidence. (I did not, however, get any cooler. It was stupidly hot in there. You could have filled a bathtub with my sweat.)
I thought that working out scantily clad in front of a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall mirror with 10 other people was the stuff of nightmares. I thought I would spend the entire rest of class looking at the parts of my body I hate, thinking, “Oh, I shouldn’t turn this way or bend this way because wow, look at how unflattering that looks.” But I didn’t do that. I was too focused on what I was doing to even care about how I looked. And, also, you know what, who f*cking cares. Honestly. Nobody else in there was looking at me, and if they were, they didn’t care about how I looked (probably because there was sweat in their eyes too and they were temporarily blinded from even seeing what I looked like). You know, guys, we’re just all weird people in weird-shaped bodies trying to make ourselves and our lives better each day and we can do that shirtless or in parkas and the moral of the story isn’t going to change.
And you know what? I drove home without the shirt, got out of my car without the shirt, walked to my apartment with the shirt, and I gave no f*cks – and no one else did either. No one gave me funny looks.
I’m not saying that walking around shirtless in your apartment complex is the way to gain body confidence, but for me it was a step in the right direction. I’m also not saying that what happened Friday is going to magically make me feel okay with wearing bra tops and spandex shorts to my workout classes, because hello, we all have insecurities. I’m just saying that for about half an hour on Friday afternoon, I felt better about my body than I ever had before, so maybe the lesson learned here, by me and by the blogger at She Thrives, is to just stop giving a f*ck. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯