I work out in my underwear because it makes me feel sexy. A sports bra and briefs make me feel like those be-hot-pantsed fitness instructors with cut lines from here to there. I don’t have cut lines anywhere but that doesn’t matter. I can see my muscles tensing and contracting, shifting and moving under my skin (and adipose tissue) to make the movements I do.
I feel like super woman when I see that. I have muscles and they do things! A fact I knew intellectually before I started working out at home in my underwear but now I can see it happening for real I see all the little movements it takes just to do a press up or a squat ( I also work out in front of a mirror) and I can revel in the miracle of all the little forces coming together to make it so that I am able to do these things.
In the gym I could feel my muscles moving but I couldn’t see them and so it did not impact upon me in the same visceral way. I did not have that punch to the gut realisation that I have a body and it is good. That my DOES things many things which I do not actively control. As a result I am more grateful for it than I ever have been.
Sometimes I find blogging and engaging in the blogosphere (even just reading) very difficult.
I really really love Melissa’s concept at Shakesville of social justice activism as being a teaspoon against a tidal wave, but sometimes that tidal wave just seems so huge and my particular teaspoon so small.
My job is in social justice and I spend a lot of my free time engaging in social justice spheres trying to become a better activist and ally. It gets very tiring and so sometimes I just have to leave it all for a while to prevent myself from getting burnt out.
To make myself feel better I think I am going to list all the ways I teaspoon on a regular basis.
I am a fat person (particularly here in Thailand) who does not try to hide my body. I am a fat person that goes clubbing and rocks it hard (you better believe it) on the dance floor every weekend.
I try to gently challenge the body hatred of the people around me
I eat when I am hungry and stop when I am full even though this means I seem to eat a lot more than the people in my office.
I frequently challenge peoples assumptions and stereotypes about sexuality and gender
I am a critical race feminist even when this means people around me think I am overreacting or making assumptions
I work out nearly everyday and this to me is a political act.
In my professional life I work to give a voice to women who don’t usually have one
I make sure that the work I do involves a lot of shutting up and listening so I can be a good ally
I try to spread this message as far as I can
I try my best and no one can ask more of me than that.
I love how often when I am starting to think about something in a new way I will often stumble across a blog or piece of writing on the internet which will verbalise exactly what has been niggling at me.
Shaunta over at Live Once, Juicy has elaborated the beautiful idea of being a defiant athlete and I encourage you to go there and read all about it.
I am at a place right now where I can do more with my body than I have ever been able to in my life. I feel fit and strong and fucking beautiful.
It seems so sad to me that it has taken me 23 long years to find the absolute sheer joy that I now have in being able to move my body. The pleasure I take in being able to do actual full push-ups, how giddily jump lunges make me feel like I can take on the world.
It makes me angry that it took this long to realise that I don’t hate being active, or excercise, or even sport. I was just a quiet nerdy child who was sufficiently uncoordinated to make P.E classes a nightmare. Its funny because I even took part in competitive sport, before I hit my teenage years I was a competitive swimmer and I was even on a netball team. Somewhere a long the line I just started to see myself as someone who just couldn’t do those kinds of things.
Now I know that is not true and so I name myself. I am an athlete. I work every day on seeing what my body can do. How I can make it go a little bit faster, push a little bit harder. At the same time I respect my body’s limits. I do what I can to not injure myself and rest when I need it.
None of this is determined by my girth.