Monday, December 17, 2007

Broomball the pics!

Look at me all dressed in fleece and defending the goal! It's always so interesting to see pictures of myself. I love taking pictures and am often the person in the group with a camera but for once someone else was documenting the event so there are lots of great shots of me and everyone else. My first thought upon seeing the picture above was "My eye-makeup looks pretty good" others in the set got my negative self talk started but I was mostly able to head it off at the pass.

This one made me realize how really round my body is. I rarely look at it from this fact I'm not sure I ever saw my body from this perspective, but it doesn't look inherently bad. It certainly doesn't look like a fashion model's body, but it's kind of cute. And look at how active I look in that picture, not posed and careful of every lump and line. I'm moving, attending to the ball, ready to drop to my knees or sweep the ball away at any second. I don't see pictures like that of me very often either.

This one is harder for me to get over the negative self talk with. In this one it's my giant busthoomas that are giving me trouble. I'd just run down the bleechers from setting the self-timer on the camera and didn't have time to make an adjustment so I'm uncomfortable with how much flesh shows in this shot, but it's such a fun picture. Look at the silly grins on our faces. I know it's hard to look away from the boobs but trust me the rest of the picture is more interesting! We were all lit up with the energy of the playing the game and goofing around with the fake mustaches from our goody bags. It's just hard for me to see beyond the fact that my boobs are bigger than some of their heads. But I'm trying. This is a journey afterall. That is my body. My body that served me very well for the game and which does so many other wonderful things for me. I've got a couple of serious bruises and a few sore muscles, but overall it held up and allowed me to have the most fun I've had in weeks!

What do you think when you see pictures of yourself? If you have negative self-talk, how do you handle it?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Joyful Movement--Broomball!

Broomball, what a game! Running on ice in your tennis shoes chasing a ball and swatting it with your broom, trying to beat the other team and get that dang ball into a goal while remaining upright on an incredibly slippery surface...what could be more fun?

Tonight I played Broomball from Midnight to 2 am with a bunch of my friends. It was A.J.'s birthday and his wife Beth had planned quite an evening. We started drinking at a dive bar near the ice rink and then migrated over to the rink. Beth had bought 20 brooms at the dollar store and blue and red tape to tape the bristles with. I was nervous. Afraid I wouldn't be able to keep up, afraid I would fall and seriously injure myself, afraid I'd look like a fool.

I fell and I probably looked like a fool, but the great thing was that all of us did. No one was automatically good at this and though I wasn't the fastest or the most coordinated, I felt like I contributed to the team (I played goalie for the first period and stopped about 15 shots!) Some were better and some were worse than me, but overall I had a great time. I laughed and ran and slid and fell down hard a few times but at the end of the night I was committed to finding a way to play games like this more often. This was so much more fun than the treadmill and it was an intense workout. It made me want to do more yoga (to improve my balance and strength) and work on my endurance but only so I could have played longer. I am proud that I was able to play the whole time and was still going strong when we had to get off the ice to let the Zamboni come clean the sheet. My extra padding probably helped me a bit too as some of the falls I took were definitely less damaging than they would have been if bone was hitting ice instead of a nice fleshy hip or bum. Of course I'm going to have some bruises and be a little sore (too many goal tending splits I think!) but I'm so happy I did this. So happy I didn't let my fear keep me from getting out there and participating and moving my body.

What a night, what a game, what a body!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Let your light shine out!

Today I attended a memorial for a friend's wife, Mary, who passed away on Thanksgiving. The service was lovely and the party afterward was full of laughter, sweet stories and great food and drinks. As my best friend and I walked out of the restaurant I asked "Is it wrong that I had a really good time?" and then I thought about it and realized how absolutely right that was. How much this woman would have enjoyed this party herself and how I'd want people to celebrate my life in the same way. And so by this post I mean to in no way diminish the saddness of losing her and the pain that her friends and families are in but I found some real food for thought in the words of the priest at the service today.

This woman was only 57 years old and she was not fat. As far as I know, she'd never been fat. Everyone in her family is naturally slim. And yet, amazingly enough, she died. Way too young, way too soon for anyone around her and from cancer...a disease that if I only got my information from watching the local news I'm pretty sure I'd think was caused by being fat. It's certainly a factor that seems to be brought up frequently as a consequence in the "obesity epidemic" discourse.

KateHarding over at Shapely Prose recently addressed this very point when she talked about the kooky CRON people and now I have a specific example right here in my own life.
Hey, here’s a scientific fact: We are all going to die. And in the meantime, we all make decisions about the kinds of lives we want to live. Some people eat as little as possible in the explicit hope of outliving this silly, primitive limitation known as mortality. Other people eat less than they want to in hopes of living a little longer than people who “indulge themselves.” And other people eat what they fucking feel like eating, because to them, chronic restrained eating would — unlike obesity — indeed be a “huge risk factor for… a life of misery.”

And in those last two categories, at least? There are people of all sizes. People who are unequivocally fat despite consistently eating less than they want to, and thin people who seem to have the proverbial hollow leg. There are even, horror of horrors, fat people who eat whatever they want. Because they’re grown-ups, and they’re allowed. What a concept.

Yup that's right folks, we're all going to die. And so often the fear of fat and the fear of fat people seems to be linked to a great big huge fear of death. Mary lived an active life dedicated to serving her community and raising her children. She was also a joy to be around. Full of life and laughter even in the last few years as she fought through four years of cancer ups and downs. She was still acting president of a large service organization and the last time I saw her she was swing dancing to a live band at a local bar.

The priest at the service asked us to observe her shining example and ask ourselves how we were living. This question has haunted me all day. There are so many things I wish I was doing but am not. I've been wanting to do some volunteer work for the last few years and have done some little bits but I am craving something regular, a weekly dose of using my talents to serve the world instead of just serving myself. I've said I'm going to take a Spanish class for the last 3 years and have yet to do it and I'm stalling on moving forward on my darn PhD. Overall I've been feeling like I've been blocking my light. Self-sabotaging myself so as not to shine too brightly and it really sucks!

How often as fat women do we do this? I feel like so many of the women I know let their lives be dominated by thinking about diets, weight, fat, and all the shoulds. We should be thinner, taller, dress better, eat better, be better mothers, daughters, wives, lovers, and friends. How much time do I sit around thinking about all the things I should do instead of just doing them? Just imagine if all the energy (not to mention the money) that goes into dieting, exercising to lose weight and beating ourselves up for all the shoulds that we just can't seem to match up to went into giving back to our community or into our work. What if we all opened the blinds we've installed and actually let the light shine out? Just imagine what a world this could be.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

A Big Fat Shift

Lately I've been reading my way through the fatosphere, the world of fat acceptance and "Health at Every Size (HAES)" on the interwebs. It's been an interesting journey. I've been fat all my life, with a few brief forays down into the merely chubby realm that didn't last long and I've been lucky enough to have a natural comfort with my body both in the fat and fatter phases. In the past I've always felt attractive and sensual even though my body isn't that of a fashion model. Unfortuately in the last few months I've been struggling to maintain my usual acceptance and joyful celebration of my physical self. I've gained 30 lbs, my clothes don't fit and I've been super busy with school and work and have stopped going to yoga as much as I usually do. I know that has been part of/most of the problem. I just feel better when I'm getting an intense workout a few times a week. I've still been walking everyday but it's just not the same.

Reading up on the actual science behind obesity research has been one of the most interesting results of this feeling. I went looking for ideas about weight loss and instead found some powerful arguments for taking weight loss out of the center of my plans and replacing it with joyful movement and intuitive eating. Blogs like Junkfood Science and Kate Harding's Shapely Prose have helped me to re-evaluate what my priorities should be. Now though I have to find the motivation, the get up and go to actually go to yoga class. Not because I want to lose weight, but because I want to feel better. I want to gain back the strength and flexibility I'm losing. I want the high that comes from pushing myself to new heights, mastering a new pose, going further in flow without taking a break. I'm not sure where it went but I know if I can find it again I'll be healthier and happier. I'm glad for this phase though. I wouldn't have found these kindred spirits and this whole world of HAES and my instinct tells me that this is going to be a VERY important new development in my life.