Start with What You Have
I did it again. I seem to have a propensity to put the cart before the horse; the trouble is you end up pushing the cart forward and then resenting the cart for not being an instant success.
Let me back up a little bit… My name is Hannah and I am deeply self-conscious. Not tremendously more than the average person, mind you. I think most of us, when engaging in an honest reflection, would admit that we are all deeply self conscious about something. Of course, whether or not you are ready to admit it is, currently, beside the point.
Last Friday night, I found myself in a most extraordinary situation. A group of 40-50 musicians gather for a monthly, candlelit acoustic performance and this particular evening, it’s taking place at Korean Spa in a busy section of midtown Manhattan. Imagine a glorious bathing chamber with three deep-set, hot soaking pools, each marinating with dozens of whole lemons and fresh rose pedals. Steam rooms, sauna, showers, food, champagne, and in the corner a small area designated as the stage from where the performers will play.
Never before have I seen 40+ too-cool-for-school musician hipsters from Brooklyn be asked to kindly remove their vintage suits and Doc Martins in favor of baggy, one-size-fits-all, slightly see-through bathing suits. Donning their spa slip ons and waffle print white robes, they mingle around in the chamber oohing and aweing about how unique this event and location combination is.
I find myself in one of the hot tubs in a back room, getting to know a text book gorgeous Miami girl who is sharing my tub. I’m distracted. She’s cute and bubbly, tan and toned; she rocked that disposable swimsuit and was perhaps the sexiest person I’ve ever seen wearing a disposable garment.
I spent much of our conversation not actually listening to her, but withdrawn into the recesses of my own critical mind, comparing our bodies. My thighs are fatter and have cellulite; hers are smooth and toned. My stomach is larger and has stretch-marks, hers is flat and tan. My deep, unconscious assumptions about this woman go something like this: ‘she’s cuter than me and probably more successful than me. I bet her parents give her money. She probably has more fun than me, is in a loving relationship, and has better sex than me…”
I snap back into the room when I notice someone else enter. A man, a friend of mine, climbs into the tub with us and introduces himself. ‘He’s probably attracted to her,’ I think. ‘Why would he even look at me, when she’s sitting right there?’
Suddenly I’m taken off guard and trying to asses whether or not my face is visibly contorted in response to my confusion as she turns to me, looks longingly at my breasts, gestures directly to my chest and admits that she always wanted real ones.
She would give anything to have real breasts and explains, “…at 22, It finally sunk in that I was never going to hit puberty above the waist, so I dropped 8 grand on gel breast implants. But, REALLY… There’s just nothing like REAL boobs, yours are just so wonderful!”
I silently acknowledged the ‘duh’ moment and moved along with my evening. I know that everyone is insecure about something. I know that we all want what we think others have. I know we all project onto each other. I know that having a ‘perfect’ body doesn't guarantee happiness. I know we all pretend to be fine, when we are not… I know all these things; that is not the point.
The point is simply that, with practice (a lot of practice), I have a greater capacity each day to catch myself using compensatory behaviors. It’s when I smartly walk away from the boy I like at the party, because I’m in my head being critical of my body. It’s when I laugh a little too hard or make a quick reference to something kinky or queer to bolster my image as a free spirited kinkster. It’s when I withhold reaching out to someone I miss, because I’m insecure that they didn’t call me first.
I am most certainly compensating when I spend a year + avoiding my desire to teach yoga and to write, based on the fear that I’m not good enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, perky enough, happy enough, or connected enough to ‘make it’ in the NYC yoga scene.
At some point, you just have to start with what you have and right now, that would be:
1.) One blog post
2.) A vague fear that someone will ask me why I’m rambling about breast implants and basic insecurities of the industrialized human.
I'm insecure and so are you. Start anyway.