Mixing It Up, Or A Question of Perspective

I have a complicated relationship with mirrors.  And I have a complicated relationship with feminism.  And sometimes those two things collide, as they did in a really odd way just the other day.

Somehow, I’ve managed to injure myself (again), and after taking a few days off from my Bikram classes, I went back with some trepidation.  Given that I was having a hard time walking without limping, I wasn’t really sure how it would go, so I chose the class based on a specific teacher, who is a good (and sympathetic) friend.  I also set up in the back row, so that my struggles would not distract anyone.  (Yes, I’m a front-row kind of yogini, even though my postures might look like crap.  Get over it.)

And something amazing happened.  Because I was further away from the mirror (and my contact lens prescription is out of date right now), I could only see myself as a whole, and as part of a class.  I could not separate myself from those around me, and their struggles, and even more so, their successes, made my class stronger.  In fact, it was one of the best classes I have ever had.

How does this relate to feminism, you ask?  Well, maybe for you it would not, but for me, who has really struggled with that label, and am still not sure what it means, this class experience, which was no longer all about me and my front-row, narrowed-focus, practice, gave me a new perspective on feminism as a way looking at the big picture and working as part of a group.  It may be surprising to those that know the work I do that working as part of a group (and God forbid, being a “team player”) is really, really, really, really (toss in a few more “reallys” on your own) hard for me.

So, if the women I love and admire feel that the label “feminist” works to describe them, why not me?  While it’s taken a lot of years, I finally love and admire myself, too, and these women – these feminists – have helped me get there.  I no longer need some outsider, universal definition of “feminist” – I can just be.

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It’s all about perspective, you know?

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