“My uncle says Puerto Rican girls are F-I-N-E FINE,” he hisses, his hands groping for me in the traffic to get on the bus afterschool. He is in third grade; I am in fourth grade. Already, I have grown ashamed of my body, of my looks, of who I am supposed to be because (as I see it) I speak Spanish.
This is what happens everyday after school. A band of boys who have decided I am a target because of my Puerto Ricanness swarm at the bus door when I try to get on it, sticking their hands out, trying desperately to cop a feel of my non-existent bottom.
I swat their hands away. I cover my body. I say No. It doesn’t get better.
When I finally get on that dark tin cylinder, I look for a window seat on the other side of the bus, so they can’t see me. Finally, I just start missing the bus after school. A teacher sees me and loads me in his car and drives me home. Though I don’t tell him what’s going on, I keep missing the bus or finding reasons to stay after school because it is the only way I know that I can keep myself safe.
Soon enough, I will find another way to keep myself safe. I will disassociate from my body. I will bind it, cover it, ignore it. I will pretend it doesn’t exist. I will not derive pleasure from it. I will unknow it, because what I am learning from the boys around me is that my body is different and, if unleashed, could be dangerous to me. It could put me in harm’s way.
I am so scared of getting any attention for my body that I pull away from it. I fill my brains with as much smarts as I can fit in there. I do as much good as I can. I become the living embodiment of the good girl, because my body, I understand, could be very bad and something must make up for it.
From Meeting My Own Body by Rosie Molinary in Yoga and Body Image (October 2014)
I am so excited to share with you all that the book that I contributed an essay to not long ago, Yoga and Body Image: 25 Personal Stories About Beauty, Bravery & Loving Your Body, is now available for purchase… everywhere! With these inspiring personal stories, you can learn how yoga not only affects your body but also the way you feel about your body.
Each author offers a unique perspective on how yoga has shaped his or her life and provides tips for using yoga to find self-empowerment and a renewed body image. By bringing together a diverse collection of voices that span the spectrum of human experience, this anthology showcases the power that comes from embodiment. It was such an honor for me to be invited to share my journey to yoga and through yoga in this anthology, and I cannot wait to read what all the other contributors shared!
Contributors include: Anna Guest-Jelley, Melanie Klein, Alanis Morrisette, Seane Corn, Bryan Kest, Melody Moore, Nita Rubio, Claire Mysko, Shana Meyerson, Audrey Bilger, Teo Drake, Kerrie Kauer, Dianne Bondy, Linda Sparrowe, Sara Gottfried, Chelsea Jackson, Vytas Baskauskas, Kate Clere McIntyre, Joni Yung, Marianne Elliott, Dawn Dalili, Rolf Gates, Ryan McGraw and Carrie Tynan Barrepski.