I Am A Yoga Girl - Emte Tafjord Ringstad

Being a yoga girl, to me, is allowing myself to be quirky, foolish, loud, shy, big and small all at the same time. Feminine, yet tough, rough and silky smooth.

When my mom would take me shopping as a child she would have to tell the woman in the store beforehand: Please don’t compliment anything she tries on. She’ll end up changing her mind. And we’ll leave empty handed.

Shopping was hard. Dressing up for birthdays. Picking out a hairstyle. Shoes.

If someone told me that my clothes were cool. Hip. In. Sweet. Anything, I would flip. I’d tear them off me. Don’t tell me I’m pretty. Don’t tell me I’m anything at all.

I wanted to be regular. My clothes needed to me completely ordinary, and I needed to blend in and disappear in the crowd.

And I would. I disappeared.

I would wear this mask, telling everyone that I was a blank canvas, allowing them to paint me, and form me exactly the way they wanted. Society would paint my picture. And on that painting I would see these words, smeared in black and grey: Weak. Small. Shy. Big. Loud.

Too much. And never enough.

I started being the funny girl. Laughing at my own mistakes and insecurities, welcoming others to do the same. At least then I wasn’t smeared in black and grey. I was fun.

My identity, my looks, my voice - I wouldn’t own any of it. Society did. And they could change it and design it the way they wanted. Until I one day decided that they couldn’t.

As a teenager, years of depression had completely ruined the person I was deep down. The girl that was untouched by society's idea of perfection. I didn’t paint anymore. Or draw. Or dream, or any of the things that used to be my solace when I was younger.

On my mat I had the realization that I had spent my whole life living someone else's life. That there was a hidden girl there, deep down. Someone happy and free. Ready to be released.

I don’t remember when I first started doing yoga. But I remember the feeling it gave me. That little by little it reminded me how it felt to be alive. To sit in my own skin. Feel every breath, pulsation or pressure in my body. And still continue.

The same feeling my mother gave me when she hugged me, crying, telling me to breathe in sync with her, one night I wanted to die.

The feeling that everything would pass - if I just remembered to breathe. That I could hold that pose. Or feel that feeling. That it would all pass - and make me stronger.

So I kept on breathing. Moving, stretching, jumping, playing. Until I one day started painting, drawing, dreaming, smiling and laughing. I painted my own picture, in brilliant, beautiful, glowing colors.

I found my body through yoga, and then my body found my mind. And there I was. Hiding in there, all along.

Michelangelo once said that

"Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it."

I used to live for others to sculpt me. For others to fill my cup, and remind me of my worth.

Now I’ve chiseled away bits and pieces. And I can see her peeking through the cracks. How she shines through the hard masses blocking her all these years.

To me, being a yoga girl, is being my own sculptor.