Something interesting happened to me during yoga teacher training the other day.
Before I go into more detail, I preface this entire story with the knowledge that the yoga studio is a safe place. Nothing said or done will ever be judged harshly or received with negativity. Especially in teacher training. We are all just trying to help each other grow and become the instructors we want to be.
Anywho, there was a moment while I was demonstrating downward dog and someone pointed out I was putting way too much weight on my shoulders and back. The individual said, (in a very positive and caring way) “She doesn’t need to be working so hard, she’s a princess. We need to make this as comfortable as possible”
Again, this was said with support and care and with nothing but the desire to help. But I hate to admit it, I had an almost knee-jerk reaction to respond negatively.
That might sound like a strange reaction. If you know me very well this may make more sense. My husband doesn’t call me princess. Growing up, no one called me princess. Because of the experiences that make up my story, I actually had to spend a decent amount of time in counseling just teaching myself how to let people care for me. In essence how to let people love me. I have had to learn to put away my fiercely independent nature to allow others in. And it wasn’t easy.
“Princess” to me implies someone who is pampered and given everything they need. I would much rather be acknowledged as a woman who has overcome adversity and forged a path for herself in this world….
I wanted to correct her. Point out “I’m not a princess, I’m a freaking warrior!”
Thankfully, I did not corrupt our peaceful studio space with irrational anger. I accepted the help and instruction and moved forward. Downward dog position is easier for me now, which is awesome.
But obviously, this whole minor incident got under my skin. Why else would I be writing about it now? I’ve been thinking and mulling it over in my mind for days now.
Do I want to be a princess? Is being a princess a bad thing? Should I let others call my daughter a princess? Occasional someone will tenderly address little R as princess. I never had an issue with it before….
I let R play dress up and pretend to be a princess. But, she also has a captain America outfit and tons of wonder woman gear. Am I reinforcing bad values? Should I get rid of all the princess toys? Should I ban all Disney movies? It seems excessive but these thoughts literally crossed my mind.
It’s tough raising girls. You want them to be strong and independent. You worry that they’ll be too body conscious. You worry that they’ll be bullied or struggle with self esteem.
You worry that they won’t know their worth.
But then I realized that princess characters are different from the ones I was raised with. In my day, we had Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty… women who in essence had all their problems solved by a man. These days you have Ana and Elsa who act fearlessly and heroically, who save themselves and each other. The dynamic has definitely changed. And I’m so grateful that’s the case.
So do I want my daughter not to idolize princess characters? Ideally I would prefer that she not idolize anyone and be happy with who she is. But if she wants to aspire to be the type of woman who saves the day, who doesn’t need a prince to come and make everything better, I’m okay with that.
Am I okay with someone else calling me princess?
Again, and I will say this over and over, the context in which it was said was completely positive and from a place of kindness. So I guess I am okay with that. And maybe that’s showing how far I’ve come that I will allow people to care about me and refer to me in affectionate terms even if the term is not a favorite. I am occasionally pampered these days. I pamper myself and self care. And I let my husband and other family members and friends take care of me and make me feel special.
I’m still a feminist at heart. Don’t worry.
I would love to hear what you think! What are thoughts that come to mind when YOU hear the nickname “Princess”?
Love and light