I got ready in my bra and undies at SoulCycle.

Take off the towel.

 

I heard the whisper, standing in the bathroom at SoulCycle. Two women to my left, one to my right. All towels.

 

Take off the towel.

 

I looked at myself, slathering product into my hair, towel covering the flesh I am afraid to expose.

 

Take off the towel.

 

I looked myself in the eyes. For a second, I flipped open the towel. ‘This is too much’ I thought. But I felt something, I knew. Still, I threw the towel back on.

 

Take off the towel.

 

Dare to take off the towel.

 

Dare to feel free.

 

I took off the towel.

 

The world didn’t end. The other women didn’t look at me funny. Some walked in and out in their undies, breasts exposed. Some wore the towel. And I started to feel alive.

 

I looked myself in the eyes. I liked what I saw. I felt alive.

 

I loved my body in that moment. I did not criticize her for being bigger than this one, smaller than that one. I did not compare. I simply looked at her with appreciation.

 

I was no longer the girl of burgeoning shame. I did not disavow my thighs, heave my belly empty of my granola bar, mentally schedule a gym class every day next week.

 

I was the daring woman standing in public in my bra and underwear.

 

I liked what I saw. I let my body breathe. I did not hide.

 

I felt free, I felt free, I felt free.