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Archive for July, 2011

 

  • In America today, more people are obese than have ever been before. At the same time, our culture’s definition of a beautiful woman’s shape and size is the smallest  it has ever been.
  • According to the World Hunger Organization there were 925 million hungry people in the world in 2010. Yet in our coutnry, the majority of us have the luxury of struggling to lose weight. 

Food for thought: What other irony to you observe about our culture today? Leave a comment and let me know.

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I’ve weighed more than 200 pounds for most of the last 10 years.  In that same time I’ve also advanced in my career, biked to and from work year-round for 4 years, ran two 5k’s, studied yoga, and met/dated/married the love of my life. My life is full and rewarding. I’ve never refused to put on a bathing suit or passed up an opportunity to do something I really wanted to do because of my weight.  I’m not hiding, I’m living.

At the same time, when it’s just me and the mirror there are many times I’m repulsed by what I see. There are many times I fully believe the dominant message in the world around me – despite my actual life experience that contradicts this message – that my inherent worth is inversely correlated with the clothing size I wear and how many pounds I weigh.  I’ve wasted so much time and energy believing this. It is something I still struggle with today.

This message is not a challenge just for women who are larger. Many women today, regardless of their actual size, have internalized the message that their size determines their worth.  Women react to this message in many different ways, each reaction a different piece of the same puzzle.  In my experience, this message tends to keep women in competition with each other, and keeps us feeling that we are “less than” and “not good enough.” It is important to increase the number of avenues for us as women to talk about this message and how it affects us.

The body I have is obese.

The body I have is also strong.

I am slowly accepting that both of these realities can exist at the same time.

Food For Thought:  Complete the following sentence for yourself. “The body I have is…”

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I’ve always loved that quote by Agnes De Mille. I’m not much of a dancer myself — I generally feel more awkward than graceful — but I love the freedom of self and movement implied in the quote. The idea that who you are and how you move through the world is enough.

So often in our society today we are told that the body we have is, for one reason or another, wrong. Over and over I’ve seen women so convinced of the “wrong-ness” of their bodies that they are unable to appreciate their own beauty. Instead of dancing through life in the body they have, they shuffle forward head down, shoulders down, embarassed.

Too often I have been one of those women. This blog is my attempt to end that defeated dance and to inspire others to do the same.

I look forward to sharing the dance with you. 

 

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