My inner rebel has taken over my life. After years of suppressing her to be a *respectable* adult, I can’t say I’m surprised.

She dreamed of being a Vegas showgirl when I was in my early teens. Something about the sparkly outfits and strutting around with confidence and sass like a human Aphrodite really lit her up.

In middle school, at a friend’s sleepover, she earned me the nickname The Naughty Bandit. Attempting (and hilariously failing) to seductively ride a broom around the room with a bandana covering your face is bound to do that.

This playfully feisty, don’t-give-a-shit part of me, which I disowned to become a responsible adult, has been waiting in the shadows, ready to pounce.

I could feel her simmering just below the surface, like an anxious tiger pacing its cage. She quietly beckoned to me. For the longest time I heard her subtle yet strong whispers but chose not to heed her call.

Yeah, right. Who am I to be that girl? I can’t show that part of myself. What will people think?

The thing about my inner rebel is she’s one tenacious, persistent B. She doesn’t give up on me. And she doesn’t give any f*cks about my excuses or what anyone else will think. She knows the truth. The truth of who I really am. Not the me I pretend to be; the one with facades put up to paint a culturally and socially appropriate version of myself.

No, she sees right through that charade.

She wants me to embrace the real me. The full me. The light and dark, deep and dreamy, calm and passionate, grounded and head in the heavens, sweet and sexy, complexly contradictory ME.

Her nudges have become louder and more obstinate over the past year as I’ve set an intention to embrace myself more fully.

I don’t exactly know when or how it happened, but the switch turned from off to on. The chains were sloughed off. I shifted from perpetual resistance to a flat-out HELL YES.

Inner rebel, let’s do this. I’m not vanilla. It’s time to stop forcing myself to be.

At first, I wasn’t sure what to do with this newfound freedom and power that surged through me. Turns out I didn’t have to do anything. Opportunities and ideas synchronistically flowed to me. My inner rebel knew exactly what I needed to embrace.

First up was registering for a 7-week Burlesque fitness class. Offered by The Playful Peacock Showgirl Academy, it’s probably the closest thing to Vegas showgirl training I can get in Minnesota. My inner rebel was over the moon—come hither hip figure 8s, bump and grinds, shimmies, lots of sizzling sass. And not for anyone else’s pleasure but my own.

Next up was another new type of workout: Buti Yoga. When I saw a promo video on Facebook for a Buti Yoga workout DVD, my inner rebel screamed, “YES! YES! YES! Buy the damn thing, woman!”

So I did.

I’d never heard of Buti Yoga before, but it aligned PERFECTLY with what my inner rebel wanted me to experience. (Funny how that works.)

According to this article, “BUTI isn’t a quirky way to spell gluteus maximus. It’s a Marathi word that means ‘the cure to something hidden or kept secret.’ Gold [the creator of Buti Yoga] envisions BUTI as a way for women to release aspects of their inner self they typically suppress: their sexiness, their self-confidence, and their ability to share those qualities with the world.”

My inner rebel wasn’t satisfied with simply doing the workouts though. Oh, no. She wanted me to take it up a notch.

“Do it naked,” she dared.

So I did.

I went from feeling awkward and exposed to laughing hysterically as my cat sprawled on his back beneath me while I did my first bare-bunned downward dog. I guess I wasn’t the only one seeing myself from a new perspective.

Pigeon pose got a bit dicey au naturel, but working out sans clothes was mostly ridiculously fun and empowering. After the initial basement chill wore off, I felt free. Strong. Beautiful. Fierce. Badass.

As I finished up with the final savasana pose, I lay there on the floor, eyes closed, feeling the rhythm of my pumping heart. My inner rebel was smirking at me. I was smirking back.

My husband arrived home from work, walked down the steps and found me there, spread eagle on my yoga mat, gloriously nude, smirking.

He smirked back at me. “You’re 100% naked…that’s fun…”

Yep. It sure was.