First and foremost, please let me show you my favorite thing I have seen on the Internet all Summer:
Now, let me tell you about all the wonderful things that I have read since coming back from my honeymoon:
Body Image and Self-Esteem:
Fitness, Health, and Wellness:
Feminism and Politics:
What have you been reading lately?
So, holy shit, a lot of wonderful things have crossed my web browser lately, and I want to share them all with you.
I feel ambitious today! I’m going to give you a huge wallop of links. I am going to give them with limited commentary, because there are just SO MANY, and the fact is, I bet the titles will pique your interest more than my opinions will. BUT first things first, and that first thing is Feminist Lisa Frank :
Jesus Christ. My emotional pre-teen girl boner has POPPED for these images, and will continue to do so, from now until forever, every single time I look at them. Thank you feminist Lisa Frank, Thank you.
And now the rest of the links:
Do you remember the Nickelodeon toy run? I hoped, I prayed, I DREAMED of winning the opportunity to go buck fucking wild, running up and down the empty halls of Toys R’ Us and filling my life with the pure unbridled joy that is TOYS. I kind of always thought maybe no kid actually won, maybe it was all a hoax. It was super fun to read that I was wrong!
Hey. So. Lots of times, our parents hate their bodies. Our grandparents hate their bodies. Shit, I bet our grandparent’s grandparent’s might have hated their bodies. This article reminded me that today, right now I have the opportunity to stop that train. I love my body so that all the kids I come in contact with can love theirs too. PARADIGM SHIFT, THATS WASSUP.
Dropping out of high school saved my fucking life, and I have never once for one day regretted it. If the train of high school feels fast and brutal, you can get off. It’s okay. I love you.
This is so, completely, 100% TRUE. Tricia Martin-Owen has been a peaceful and compassionate voice for as long as I’ve known her (almost eight years ago this happened- an event that was thrown especially for me at such a horrible time in my life, this post still brings tears to my eyes). It is wonderful to see how Tricia’s compassion continues to spiral outward, but now seems to be going inward as well. YOU GO GURL.
The more I delve deeper into body politics, the more I know there is still so much to learn, so may ways I can stretch my understandings of how ALL people deserve to love the body in which they are housed in. I am feeling deep gratitude to this article for helping me to push my boundaries and understand issues of representation with a bit more complexity.
There is nothing-and I a mean NOTHING- I love more than getting shit DONE. This guide is a great help for just that.
Last thing! Rise and Resist has a third episode out now, in which Holly and I discuss body image, self-esteem, changing your workout routine, involving your partner in your fitness, accepting your body at any size, and delicious delicious SNACKS. You can find that episode Here.
I had just finished up graduate school with a Masters in Fine Art, I was totally sick to death of the art industry, I had no inspiration, I didn’t know where I wanted to be geographically. I was throwing up because I was fucking terrified and because when it seemed that there was nothing left to do, my eating disorder (in all the shifty ways that it appeared) was extremely appealing. It was a focus, a drive. It was what I was sure of when I was unsure.
I started lifting weights, which rules, and I stopped puking in order to keep doing it, which also rules. I am not saying that the day a barbell entered my hands I got right with myself mentally, but I am saying that when I started strength training I completely ceased to purposefully spend time with my face in the toilet. That is a miracle for which I will forever be grateful.
So I lifted, and I was hungry. Like, really hungry. The kind of hungry a person is when they have been starving and binging and purging for years. I ate, kind of unabashedly, for the first time in as long as I could remember. It stressed me out, it disgusted me, it annoyed me, but I did it. I ate food, I lifted heavy, and I gained weight. A lot of weight.
I look at pictures of me from my first year in crossfit, and it’s a little surprising. Lifting and eating changed my body really slowly and non-linearly, and even now, I see myself in that first year and I notice that I had significantly more weight on my frame than is really natural for my body type. I have compassion for myself then, that person really eating for the first time in forever, but I also understand why I felt deeply uncomfortable.
When I started lifting, I could no longer scrimp on even one bite, because although my will to be whisper thin had sustained me for years, once the dam broke I was flooded with desire. Desire to taste, desire to participate in social events, desire to take my fill for all the days that I had not.
It is with great care that I say that that year was one of the most pivotal, important, terribly difficult years of my life in terms of my self-esteem. It was the year I noticed that my will to be smaller was not in line with my desire to be powerful. It was the year I didn’t trust the process but I went through it anyway. It was the year I sadly watched my body change and showed up again and again to help that change happen despite my uncertainty.
Willpower is finite. It was what I ran on for years while I struggled on the elliptical, while I avoided various food groups, while I lost weight without care or regard for my health. Innate desire is something different. It’s passion, and for me it was also honesty about what is good for both myself and other people in the world. Innate desire is survival and instinct.
I considered quitting the heavy lifts multiple times, but the idea of letting go of something I loved so that I may control my body once again sickened me. I showed up to my workouts reticent, but I showed up. This was the first time I chose what felt right over what I had decided would look right.
It was a big step.
The post script of this story is that eventually, my body evened out. I had stopped weighing myself a year before I started lifting, but I am willing to wager that I gained 30 pounds in that first year. With minor tweaks (more rest days, most notably) and a big dash of patience, my metabolism noticed that I was no longer starving and kicked in. I am still much bigger than when I started Crossfit, but its not in a way that feels uncomfortable. I lift heavy three times a week instead of six, which feels natural, and my body is great. Like, sometimes I look in the mirror with surprise, because I look strong, confident, buff, and yes- pretty lean. I’m a work in progress, in both body and mind, but showing up to the barbell taught me that if nothing else, willpower is bullshit.
My will may have been to be tiny, but my desire is to be well.
Some people are able to do both. I am not one of those people.
And that’s okay with me.