Sunday, September 19, 2010

Derby Girl

Last night my husband surprised me with tickets to a Roller Derby for my birthday.  Whoot!  I have officially decided that I am changing professions to become a Derby Girl.  In preparation, I bought a T-Shirt (see above). I think it makes me look like quite the fan, at any rate.  Not to mention cute, in a smokin' hot, roller derby girl kind of way.

Here are the top 10 reasons I am itching to be a Derby Girl.  Please add to this list, if you find yourself inspired to take on a little "derby girl attitude" yourself:

1.  Derby girls come in many shapes and sizes, and they all can kick your butt.
2.  Derby girls get to wear spankies, fishnet stockings, and pink roller skates, and still look cool.
3.  Derby girls get to make up alter-ego names for themselves.  My particular favorites from last night include, "Gator Dunn" and "Fonda Payne."
4.  Derby girls get to be very un-lady-like, and totally sexy at the same time.
5.  Derby girls get to do things like "jam," "brawl," and "hip-check."
6.  Derby girls are real athletes, but they don't take themselves too seriously.
7.  Derby girls can use cliches like, "cruisin' for a bruisin,'" or "achin' for a breakin," and they take on a whole new, empowered kind of meaning.
8.  Derby girls get to play as hard as they can!
9.  Derby girls get to mean-mug each other on the track, and babysit each others' kids on the sidelines.
10. Derby girls have a ton of fun while breaking all the molds.

I am taking the kids to roller skate tonight, and they better look out!  Mom is on the loose... Hey maybe there's an alter-ego name in there somewhere?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Party Pride

Today I got invited to a networking party for a financial planner friend of mine.  Okay, so networking parties are maybe not the most fun parties, but this one sounded pretty good: all women, a little wine and cheese, a little hanging out with this friend, whom I like.  The catch is that she is having a boutique owner come in with some "super cute, amazing" clothes for us all to try on! Oh, poop.

Instead of feeling excited about this, I felt pangs of terror.  Clothes shopping is finally starting to be fun again for me!  I really like shopping for clothes these days- remember the Leopard Print bathing suit?  I am owning this bodacious big body, and it is great!  I buy things that fit, and that I like!  But when my friend said "clothes party," fear struck.  I had this old voice pop up saying, "They won't have clothes for you, you fatty!  Nothing will fit!  You will be shamed and humiliated and left for dead."  Okay, maybe the "left for dead" was a bit over the top, but I had this rush of teenage memories of being chewed up and spit out by cruel and rejecting girls at school, marked by horrifying clothes shopping experiences in which I tried so hard to be "normal" and find ways to fit in and be accepted.

For years, I beat myself up because nothing in "normal" stores fit - which made me feel like wasn't normal.  As a teenager, I would buy clothes in the biggest size I could find at the "normal" stores, and then squish myself into them - whatever it took, I was getting into those Banana Republic pants!  This was torturous, obviously, because it was completely uncomfortable and hideously unattractive.  Breathing and sitting were a problem.  I was in constant pain, and constantly reminded that I didn't fit - I didn't fit the clothes, I didn't fit the beauty standard, I didn't fit in the world.  I was the fat girl, but I desperately wanted to "pass" for one of them.  Part of that was just developmental - I was a teenager, after all .  Still, the psychological damage of feeling outcast and less-than took its toll. Shopping sucked for a good long time, even into adulthood.  I felt unworthy as a human being because I was fat (aka, bad) and needed a larger size.

Wow, glad to be done with that.

And truly I am, most of the time now, "done" with self-hating attitudes like that.  But, sometimes the old shit sneaks up on me when I least expect it.   Like when I get invited to flippin' networking parties!  Ugh!

I want to handle this party with a "Fat Acceptance" attitude.  I want to go and have fun at the party, and feel confident.  Who knows, they might even have plus sizes!  And, if they don't?  That makes the store the problem - not me.  I am a perfectly fine human being, with a perfectly fine human body.  Too bad for them - they aren't getting my money, or my "networking" recommendation!  Maybe I can suggest they find ways to include more women in their business plan.  It might feel good to speak up for myself, and for my fat sisters and brothers!  It might be empowering to "represent" for us fat folk - we deserve "super cute and amazing" clothes, just like everybody else!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bless This Food

I am working on making friends with food, as I have been writing about off and on.  This week, I am deepening my practice by saying some kind of blessing before I eat.

Mostly, I have tended to start meals with thoughts like, "I shouldn't be eating this," or "Naughty, Naughty!"  Every morsel is labeled  - crap, junk, bad carb, bad fat - and I am labeled, too.  Bad Fattie.  Unless it's vegetables.  Then, I'm off the guilt hook.  But, since one cannot subsist on vegetables alone, I am left with years of meals, day in and day out, in which I am instantly stressed out and devalued before I even put fork to food.

Obviously, eating has not felt very sacred, or divine, or pleasant, or even just tolerable.  The reality that I have been oblivious to in all of my crazy diet mentality is that our food is absolutely sacred.  Hundreds of hands worked to bring my apple to the table.  People with names planted and harvested the grain for my slice of bread.  Someone (or many ones) milled it, mixed it, shaped it, baked it, sliced it, packaged it, shipped it, shelved it, and checked it out to me, and here I am grumbling about how "bad" it is! What planet have I been living on? That morsel of food, whatever it is, is good, in really basic, fundamental ways, and I am grateful for it.  Food is not a curse - it is a life-giving, nourishing, important, tangible blessing that connects me to everyone else on the planet.  It is time for me to change the way I see food - it is truly a gift.

I am thinking about ways to say "thank you" - to God, to the people who have worked for my food, to the food itself.  I am thinking about ways to bless both myself and the food, and all of the life and living that went in to my food.

Here is a Buddhist prayer I found at this site:

Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space
combine to make this food.
Numberless beings gave their lives
and labors that we may eat.
May we be nourished
that we may nourish life.

I would love to hear other prayers or blessings people use.  Do you have spiritual or religious traditions or customs around blessing your food?  Do you have favorite ways to say thank you?  Growing up, we only said "grace" on special occasions, so my blessing memory banks are kindof limited.  I would love to gather a collection of blessings, and pass them on.  Thank you for sharing yours!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Thoughts on Yoga and Body Love

Have I mentioned that I LOVE yoga?  I do, I love it.  It makes me feel human, brings me back down to earth, and generally puts the kibosh on any internalized self-hate or crazy diet talk going on in my head.

I have a membership at a yoga studio, which I have used sporadically enough to make it not quite worth the $100 a month fee.  I have been going back and forth about keeping it, not because I don't do enough yoga, but because I can do yoga at home with relatively similar results, and without the scheduling issues.  Plus, when I do yoga at home, I really have to listen to my body.  There aren't any other bodies with me, no teacher, no other students, no nothing.  Just me, myself and I.  Uh-Oh.

When it is just me, I am really left with just me. That means that I am faced with the reality of myself, both on the mat and in life.  Whatever I do or don't do in my life is what tends to show up while attempting to do yoga at home.  Avoidance, fear, self-doubt?  There they are.  Joy, happiness, and exuberance?  They are there, too, thank goodness, but those aren't the things that need so much work. It's easy to hang out with joy when it comes up, but self-doubt? Not so much.

As I am writing this, I realize why I have been hemming and hawing about letting go of the yoga membership.  If I really just do it on my own, I have to take responsibility for my crap.  I can't blame a difficult session on the teacher, or on the distractions of other people.  The "blame" rests squarely with me.  If I don't push myself, it's because I am not pushing myself.  If I don't rest when it's appropriate, or practice as long or as often as I would like to, it's because of me.  These are things I have to look at, and respond to, in myself.

Yesterday morning I went to a meditation class, and the teacher was talking about how we have to become "warriors" by summoning the courage to truly see ourselves as we are.  It is an act of bravery to look at our own stuff, and like warriors, we have to go into battle for the higher good.  For me, this is a life and death battle. If I don't engage with myself, on the yoga mat, or on the meditation cushion, or just in life, I risk dying to the beauty of living fully, in the moment.  I risk living (or dying) under the constant tyranny of my mind - with all of the shame, blame, judgment, avoidance, anger, fear, and doubt that that entails.  That is not living!  That stinks.  It leaves me feeling confused and isolated and worn out.

It is not just that I love yoga, or mediation, it's that I have to practice these things in order to live a sane life.  I need them just to create some space between me and my crazy-ass mind!  I have to learn to listen to my body.  I have to learn when to be still, and when to move.  I have to engage with the good and the terrible in me, every day, because if I don't, I am left with no me at all.  I am left with that girl who worries about feeling fat all of the the time, who can't make sense of her life, and is stuck repeating all kinds of negative, addictive, self-harming patterns.  I can't do that anymore, so here I am.  Going in to battle, over and over again, every day. And it is worth it.

I would still like to hit a few yoga classes occasionally, but mostly I think I just need them as support for my home practice.  Classes are definitely a source of inspiration as well.  Maybe I need both, and will just have to find a balance.  Honestly, though, I love yoga whenever, and wherever, I can get it.  I feel very grateful for having yoga in my life.  Yoga allows me to appreciate and love my body, while simultaneously healing mind and spirit - which I can tell you is exactly what I need.