(As recently posted by Cameron Diaz on her site, The Body Book!)
I got cellulite at age 12. I was fully vegan, a competitive figure skater and dancer, and ate cleaner than an Olsen twin before the Oscars. I remember pulling my leotard on before dance class and looking in the mirror in horror when I saw the unsightly visitor on my thighs. I did nothing to deserve this, I thought! That was more than 15 years ago. How, you may ask, did I cure my abhorred condition?
An answer, but first let me illustrate with another story…
Last week, I was in a mainstream natural beauty store. I love their brand, and often go in just to drink tea and sniff their products. The smiling clerk walked up to me, “Hi! I see you looking at our hair care products. What’s your hair problem?”. Pause. I found myself flustered, not sure how to reply. It was a funny moment of existential query, searching for problems: My hair gets frizzy when it’s humid out… It’s curly and my whole life I’d wished it were straight. My mind generated this list of ways I’ve viewed my hair and self in a negative light.
Much like reading my diary from 5th grade; in my leotard looking in that mirror and rejecting a part of myself. My truest answer to the lady would’ve been: I don’t have a hair problem!!! I blinked and ended up politely passing and saying I’d look at their scents instead. I realized her question itself encouraged this “ugly” mindset. (Yes, this applies to the global beauty industry at large, not just this shop). We are subtly taught that we are all broken, unattractive, and have things that must be homogenized, cleaned and covered in order for us to look good. Only then can we feel good. Only when perfection is reached are we even allowed to feel good.
Standing there in the haircare aisle, I wanted to ask her, What if I just love the hair I’ve got? Where are those products? Why are we led towards negative thought patterns in order to make purchases? (This is rhetorical. I know that fear is a very real sales tactic). I want to buy my products from the next sales lady who asks, “Hi there, I see you looking at our hair care products. Can you tell me, what’s going right? What do you love about your hair? How can we help you celebrate that?” That, my friends, is a product I’d buy.
Back to the leotard.
Fast forward 18 years. I’ve cured my cellulite. How? One answer: yoga. Which really boils down to: love. A big ole’ dose of TLC. It was one day in a yoga jam sesh, many years ago, when I totally got it: Oh, I can just love this imperfect and beautiful body? I can get stretchy and sweaty and love on it, just as it is?! I felt like I’d won the body-image lottery. This was such a change from the body image climate of the dance and skating world, which values certain body types over others. It was such a relief to find yoga, this community of people just being so real, and letting it all hang out, so to speak. The experience of gathering and moving our bodies together felt like permission to love mine unapologetically.
So, you see, my cure for cellulite and frizzy hair are both the same. I cured them, yes. I cured my relationship to having them. Of course, I still eat clean and green, rock my yoga mat, and am seldom seen not dressed like Sporty Spice. But I know that I’m also a human with genetics, specific gender expression (this is a polite way of saying my weight set-point isn’t super thin). I can spend my whole life wishing things were different, or I can love this amazing vessel with which I’ve been gifted to experience life.
This is a reason yoga has brought such beauty into my life; it’s taught me to love the life I have. To adore and celebrate the body I have. I mean, it’s my only effing body, eh? I’ve ditched the “fix it” mentality, when it’s much more exciting to focus on what there is to LOVE! Life is short. If not now, when?