9 December, 2022
I write most days in my journal, a habit I’ve had since I was young and have stayed consistent with, on and off, over the span of my life. I’ve been feeling the urge to start a blog for a while now, but my first reaction was “I’m already so busy and overextended, that would be one more obligation and I’m working on scaling back”. But, as I said, I already write consistently so I’ve decided it’s time.
It’s a chilly morning in LA, 40 degrees, bright blue, cloudless sky and the sun is shining. Most of the homes here have zero insulation, so there are cold drafts under improperly-sealed doors and around windows. We – my hubby and I - tend to keep our home temperate no matter the season, so in the summer that means around 80 degrees, and in the winter closer to 70 degrees. We just bundle up in sweatshirts, fuzzy socks, make our coffee and go about our mornings, each of us on a separate “morning time” ritual that includes variations of reading, writing, meditating, stretching/yoga, affirmations and strumming an instrument. We started all this in 2019 as part of the process of healing during his bout with Cancer and have honed in on, and developed, what works for each of us over the years.
I found myself in barre class yesterday working, as always, to quiet my chattering mind while breathing into my moving body and getting into a zone. I’ve had a tweak in the right side of my back – not uncommon really in my physical line of work – and I always try to dig into what emotional link that holds, outside of just the physical realm. The thoughts that popped into my mind were “I’ve gotten too skinny” and then immediately “other people and society would judge me for sharing that thought because of the connotations of body image in general” and then I thought “why shouldn’t I normalize having the thoughts I have, which aren’t unhealthy or judgmental, just an observation about my own body?”. So, that’s when something really clicked and I decided I should just start my blog!
I’m the middle of 5 children, raised by a single mom, with another 5 older half-siblings with whom I lived when we were young until the parents split. That’s all I’ll get into on that topic for now. My Mama was, and is, very health-conscious and ahead of her time practicing & teaching yoga, growing organic food, limiting sugar & TV, encouraging reading, writing, creativity, and play. I’ve always been the athletically-built one in the family, the others were skinny (which was not viewed as an attractive thing by them!), and as a competitive gymnast I developed some serious muscle bulk, although I was fit. I also had chronic injuries which I now understand come from a number of different issues, including too much muscle bulk for my frame.
As an adult it’s been a journey adjusting to what feels healthy for my body. I was a professional aerialist and acrobat for 15 years and am now a professional Stuntwoman, so I use my body constantly! It’s a daily journey to balance strength with flexibility, training with rest, good nutrition, and to incorporate enough self-care to stay uninjured most of the time. I’ve been in this body long enough that I now know what healthy feels and looks like! And I look at my body A LOT because it’s my tool for work, and also the physical form I’ll live in for the rest of my life. Despite whatever viewpoint society may encourage, I know when I’m carrying extra weight, be it fat or muscle bulk, and I know when I’m too skinny, which means I need to bulk up the muscle a little so I stay capable, strong and able to perform. Which leads to the body image discussion.
Many people, friends even, will inadvertently consider “you look skinny!” as a compliment, and while it may be intended that way, I struggle to absorb it as such. For me, in my business and in my skin, muscular and lean is the goal. That’s based on my body type, my job description, and how my body behaves. When I carry too much extra weight, my joints hurt, I get injured, and as a result I don’t feel as confident within myself. That’s passing no judgement on anyone else, just identifying my own experience. In the same vein, “skinny” is not what I’m going for either because I need enough strength to hold, carry and lift my body weight, to flip, land, leap run and all those physical actions that bring me joy, and keep me employed! Despite more conversations these days about body image, health, and empowerment, I still feel the discussions can be skewed, and a lot of the “empowered” talk shows up as false confidence because we’re being told to “embrace what we have” but a lot of us are still not really digging deep into how what we have presents as who we are, and how we REALLY feel about it. There are certainly still stigmas about discussing body weight, body image, and health, so it can be a touchy subject, especially with young, developing bodies (I have a teen Stepkid and 12 nieces and nephews between the ages of 3 and 26), so I was a little surprised at my own reactions to my own thoughts about my own body when “I look too skinny” popped into my head the other day!
I’d love to hear any comments, concerns, experiences, or solutions that come up for any of you readers on the body image/health topic! And, if any of you have specific topics you’d like to hear about I’m open to suggestions as I get my creative wheel turning!
Thank you for reading,
I wish you each a healthy, peaceful, inspired day!