Wednesday, March 16, 2011
I'm starting to explore burlesque. I took my second class over the weekend. I knew it would be fun and challenging, but what I didn't know (or expect) is having a little body image meltdown.
As most people who know me know, I'm a nudist. I'll take my clothes off whenever I can (assuming it's in an appropriate venue). Being a nudist is one of the primary things that has helped me accept the body I have and work towards honoring my body and self love and all that good stuff each and every one of us deserves.
I'm still not at the point where I can say I love myself, but I can say that over the years I don't intensely hate myself and I've actually got a reasonably good relationship with myself...in other words, if I were any other person, chances are I'd get along reasonably well with myself, if that makes sense.
So when I signed up for this second burlesque workshop I knew we would be taking off at least some of our clothes. I excitedly knit up some cute little pasties, bought a feather boa and gloves and looked at heels (which I didn't buy...couldn't find any with a low heel that I loved). I was unbelievably excited for the class-- I didn't sleep at all the night before in part because I was so excited, but also because I'm still having abdominal pain (you'll all be happy to know I finally made a doctor appointment, but it isn't til April 1).
Anyways, class was going spectacularly-- I was having a terrific time and then we started the stripping part of the routine--we slowly, sassily pulled down whatever bottoms we were wearing to reveal our cute underwear. I briefly glanced at my backside in the full-length studio mirrors. I have to admit that I haven't had the opportunity to look at my back side in a full-length mirror in quite some time. I was rather surprised and unhappy looking in the mirror. I have the backside of a fat 37-year-old woman (sarcastic "gasp")! There's only one other woman in the class who is over a size 18 as far as I can tell (and most would probably fit more in the 6-12 category). I didn't totally lose it-- I didn't lock myself in the bathroom and cry over the fact that I am a fat 37-year-old woman. I kept dancing, laughing, and having a good time even though I was also freaked out by what I saw in the mirror.
It's taken me a few days to process even a fraction of that experience. Don't get me wrong: it was a good experience--it was--is-- a growing experience. I clearly need to continue exploring burlesque so I can become more comfortable with my body (does anyone else find it odd I'm more comfortable completely nude than half nude?!).
I've been reading an amazing blog called Dances with Fat-- I highly recommend it. This woman is so inspiring to me. She has tremendous physical strength, flexibility, and stamina... and she is truly plus size (which in my book is over a size 14)-- quite possibly a size 22 or 24. I want to be like her-- and I think being like her is not only attainable (even if I can't do the splits or lift my leg up to my head-- ever--omg--I couldn't do those things when I was 4), but it's also sustainable.
When I lost all that weight a couple years ago, I was pretty happy about it; I thought that it could be sustainable. Indeed, it could've been sustainable IF I hadn't had some pretty drastic life changes. Sustainability is an important question I've been asking myself lately. What changes can I make that are sustainable, meaning I can do them for the rest of my life? Drinking more water and eating at least one serving of veggies at lunch are sustainable habits for me. Belly dancing at least once a week is definitely a sustainable habit. Seeing a personal trainer and going to the gym every week isn't sustainable.
The things that I admire about Ragen (author of Dances with Fat) are primarily her strength and flexibility (the woman can benchpress something like 200lbs). Since those are the attributes I most admire, those are the things I need to focus on. When I was seeing my personal trainer I got to the point where I could easily zip through 40 pushups. I did pushups daily before work. So my plan is to work up to thirty push ups a day. I'll start with knee pushups if my knees will take it. We'll start with ten pushups and see how that works and then add to them. Once I can ascertain if doing pushups is indeed as sustainable as I think it could be, then we'll add some flexibility exercise into the mix; I'm thinking start with one sun salutation flow and then adding more if that is sustainable. The beauty of starting with push ups and later adding the sun salutations is that it takes up very little room ( a five foot space) so I can do it pretty much anywhere, and neither uses any more equipment than my own body weight. I'm going to give the push ups a try as soon as I'm done here to see if my body can handle this; like I said, I'm still having abdominal issues and if there is a problem I'm going to have to be more gentle until the doctor rules out things like my gall bladder and spleen.
So that's my current plan. If things go the way I want them to there will be other benefits like feeling okay with stripping down to cute underwear and looking at my arms and seeing how strong they are...not to mention having the stamina and flexibility to do really well in both belly dancing and burlesque.
Sunday, February 06, 2011
Every so often I need to write myself and remind me of my own wisdom. This is one of those times so I'm pulling a couple things I wrote a few years ago that still help me. Some of you probably remember seeing these, but I needed to re-read them today.
So many people get bogged down because they've plateaued or simply
aren't losing weight. I am losing weight at a pace so slow it's almost
imperceptible. Why am I not depressed about it? Because it's against
the rules! Here are the rules. Feel free to share them, steal them, or
whatever. Make them work for you.
So here are my rules that you can feel free to adopt:
I have no control over the numbers on the scale. I only control how
much physical activity I get and what I choose to ingest.
My progress will be measured by how active I am that day and my food
choices. I will not berate myself if my body needs to rest. I will
give my body what it needs that day.
I will praise and celebrate my accomplishments a lot and just
acknowledge my shortcomings...because I'm not superhuman and I don't
need to be perfect.
I will not be unkind to myself. If I wouldn't say it to my best
friends, nieces or nephews (or in other people's case, kids), then I
am not allowed to say it to myself. It is hypocritical to have a
different standard for yourself than others.
I will learn to love myself unconditionally.
I will learn to live passionately and with as much love for myself as
I have for others.
I will remember that what makes me a goddess is my passion, heart, and
soul, not my physical attributes.
My Rights as a Woman at Any Size
I have the right to take up all the space my body needs.
I have the right to love and be loved.
I have the right to move freely and express myself in my own ways.
I have the right to feel sexy.
I have the right to feel beautiful.
I have the right to move with dignity and grace.
I have the right to be treated with dignity.
I have the right to love myself as I am NOW; not as I wish I was or as
I was at another time in my life.
I have the right to feel successful and fulfilled in all aspects of my
I have the right to live joyfully and fully.
I have the right to be a goddess.
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
I'm reading Health At Every Size right now. It got me thinking about all of the wonderful people I've known who are plus sized. The media wants to demonize fat and they try to portray fat people in the worst light possible, perpetuating the myth that being fat is quite possibly the worst thing to be. It's time to stop the madness. Before anyone starts saying being obese isn't healthy, I'll just counter that with being sedentary and having a diet of fast food/ convenience foods isn't healthy. I posted this on my Facebook page and I'd love to see more people of all sizes take a step back and say, "gee... my friend so-and-so is fat, but s/he's the most generous person I know." Being fat isn't the problem. The current perception of fat is the problem.
Fat awareness time: The media's rather negative view of fat people got me thinking about all of the wonderful people out there whose size is nothing compared to their kindness, love, dedication, and overall goodness. Feel free to post this and tell your friends about five (or more) plus sized people who have made a difference in your life.
ý1) Grandma Helen Lawrence. Yeah I only knew her for two years, but I know we're kindred spirits.
2) Joharah, and Ro-- proving that plus sized women can live full lives and look fantastic doing it!
3) Grandpa Lawrence and all of my Lawrence uncles: Let's face it-- without such tremendous examples of what real men are like I would never, ever have had a healthy relationship.
4) Amy J. and Amanda W. ...because without you two I would've quit dancing years ago (and Amanda B. for being so inspirational).
5) The lovely people from the size positive groups like Kelly Bliss and Rose Mary B. who showed me that it's far better to be a fat person living life than a person of any size letting life pass them by.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
This will be a short entry. I just want to thank all of my SP friends who've come around and said something cheerful while I've been in this funk over the last week. I'd especially like to thank all of the wonderful gals who've joined the Health at Every Size team and who have been checking in, creating discussions,and helped reinforce for me why I created that team and for being so wonderfully supportive. I've been learning a lot from you and your blogs... they've been so inspiring and they've been helping me through a tough week.
Thanks, everyone! You're all so wonderful!
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