So, here is the rest of my never ending thought fest from the other night.
Part 3 – I am a feminist; please hold your applause.
My whole life I have had one goal: To be me and be authentically me. This has worked out for the most part, but sometimes has failed miserably. I have crashed and burned in more than one relationship by trying to be a little less me. I have bombed out of jobs for trying to follow the crowd. I have had crushing bouts of depression and confusion all from trying to “fit in” with what is “normal”. Then, I just said screw it all and did what made me happy. That didn’t solve much of anything, but it works a whole lot better than all of the other things I’ve tried.
The Benjamin Lorr book I’m reading right now just allowed me a deeper sense of this feeling. The other night when I was brainstorming all of this amazing stuff, I found a connection within myself that I had never found before. I have been practicing and teaching yoga for 10 years now and have had a serious struggle from time to time with the connection of body and mind. I have taught Pilates and been a Personal Trainer and taught other forms of group exercise. I’ve coached sports and taught academic classes and workshops on health and fitness and athletics. In all of this time I believe everything I tell others to be true….even if I’ve never experienced it myself.
Like I said yesterday, (and if you have no idea what I’m talking about, please go back and read yesterday’s post Hell-Bent on Cakes) while I was reading the first section of his book I decided to start practicing poses. They just started happening as a natural flow as I listened to what my body needed. I was really trying to work out some kinks and get to the point where I might be able to go to sleep and instead I started letting go of what I thought I knew about myself and yoga. I felt a real sense of nonjudgement of myself for the first time in a long, long, long time. Not the kind where you say, hey, it doesn’t matter if I comb my hair today because I’m really smart and things like that don’t matter in the long run. Or, no one is going to care if my kids eat dessert every day this week as long as they don’t turn out to be serial killers. No, the kind of real nonjudgement that means I love myself just the way I am.
In doing this I also started listening to the book and how they practice backbending. I have since decided that no way in hell do I ever want to try to do a backbend no matter how much you try to convince me to do so. But I did start to push through a little pain I had in my shoulder because Lorr talks about how many of us turn away at the first shiver of pain when doing things and never go past that point. In backbending they push through that pain and then the body gives and eventually releases and there is a little bit of euphoria that comes along with it. I am a firm believer in practicing yoga to the point of mild tension only and that “no pain; no gain” was one of the worst slogans ever to hit fitness and sport. However, I realized I wasn’t even practicing to the point of mild tension when it came to my left shoulder. I was just flat out cowering away from anything that seemed like it might hurt without even trying. I pushed and it released and in doing so I found and physically felt a connection between my shoulder and my rectus abdominus. I always talk about everything in your body is connected to your “core” and this was the first moment that I felt it so strongly that it made me feel grounded and whole all at once. With that being said…on to part 4.
Part 4 – The Questions…duhn, duhn, duhn (or however you spell that)
I figure that this section will kind of be an expanded “About Me” since I didn’t give that part of my blog too much thought in the beginning.
Question 1 – What are you working on at the moment?
The short answer: My course syllabus for the fall
The long answer: Myself
If you haven’t already been over to read Jenny Lawson on The Bloggess, then you really should. She has opened my eyes in so many ways, but she is not one of my “featured bloggers” today. She just gave me a few new perspectives on things that also sprouted out of my assignment from Stef and reading Benjamin Lorr’s book.
So, I’m still working on all of my fitness goals and will be starting my 365 with the Rolf Gates book tomorrow, but I am working on appreciating who I am and where I am in life and I’m learning that that means that I am a little more of a feminist than I once believed and it’s starting be a driving force behind my choices in life. I have been a procrastinator on many things and doubted myself so many times, but if I look back at all of my life choices, I’ve turned out pretty great and that’s how I ended up here, writing for you.
In school I was a full on athlete who adored her Rosie the Riveter shirt and had aspirations of being the first woman to play in the NBA. I shifted gears after the creation of the WNBA and once I started doing triathlons. This led me to study sport science in college and eventually I found myself in graduate school. There my eyes were opened even further by the most amazing instructor I’ve ever had (Dr. Melanie Sartore-Baldwin, look her up, she’s great). Since then I’ve been biding my time and enjoying life as a stay at home mom until I can get it together and get back to school. I really want to head in the direction of women’s studies and the sociocultural exploration of sport and fitness. This plus yoga kind of sums up me in a nutshell.
Question 2 – How does my work differ from others of this genre?
Honestly, when I started blogging back in January I couldn’t find a single other mommy blogger that wrote about fitness and even harder to find some good ones that wrote about yoga. I think that being in the industry that I’m in and still working while I stay home helps me to come up with ideas for what to write about and how to look at the topics. My writing has changed a lot in the last seven months because I’m reading more of other people’s work and allowing it to influence me in a good way and to spark interest. I’m also trying to stay away from writing like an information center and more conversational so it will be easier to read.
Question 3 – Why do I write what I do?
I started this blog for two reasons. The first is that I heard I could get sponsored if I got good at it and I kind of wanted an extra way to bring in some cash for my family. I know that may seem like a rotten reason to start out, but at this time in my life I need to help out financially as well. The other reason, the reason I’ve stuck with it, is because I really like helping people and want to find a way to reach others. I travel for one of my jobs and help make better fitness professionals, but unless I can travel everyday I feel like I’m not doing enough to share my knowledge and help people find accurate and safe fitness advice. I hope someday to have a large following and to be able to help people find their healthy and happy moments in life. Please feel free to post or email me fitness questions so I have more ideas of topics (even other than yoga and running) to share with you. I didn’t get my master’s degree in this stuff for it to sit in my head and be beneficial only to me and my workouts.
Question 4 – How does my writing process work?
Pastel colored note cards. Seriously, I keep them in my desk drawer and run to it any time I have an idea. Most of the time I think of a billion ideas when I’m out running or walking and then, as soon as I get home, dash upstairs to jot them down and make something of them later. I also use those note cards as book marks when I’m reading so that I can keep track of things that stand out to me. Then, when the kids are asleep for naps or whenever I can find a minute to myself, I plop myself down on my exercise ball or free wooden chair that was left here by the previous owners or tenants and just type away until it all makes sense to me. When I write papers though it’s a lot different. Then I use a lot of legal pads because, for me, there’s just something about still putting it on pen and paper that helps me process. I’m sure that if I ever get to working on my dissertation that I will kill an entire forest and annoy my mentor to death. But, as I hate to type on the computer and do not have enough ink in my printer at the moment for it to work, I still have not finished my research paper from my graduate program that I was really hoping to have published 3 years ago. So, there’s that too.
Okay, time to finish this novella out….
Part 5 – And the academy goes to…..
Unfortunately I do not currently personally know of anyone who blogs, so this next part is kind of a
stalker’s follower’s perspective on blogs I like to read.
Fit Is a Feminist Issue – Sam and Tracy are two amazing women who are headed to 50 this year and are kicking butt and taking names. They have a unique feminist philosophical perspective on the fitness world and after reading their blog for awhile I’ve determined that if I knew them they would be the awesome big sisters that I would follow around like a lost puppy dog. Seriously though, reading Tracy’s post last week about cycling encouraged me to drag my bike out of the back of the garage, pump up the tires, and go for a nice 10.55 mile ride yesterday. I haven’t been on that bike since I was pregnant with my first in 2010! Plus, now I’m on the hunt for a bike trailer so I can pull my monkey and alligator around with me as I redefine my calves without the help of high heels.
Manure Girl – Marg over at Manure Girl cracks me up, but is currently on a little blog hiatus while she writes. When I emailed her to see if I could feature her and begged her to come back to blogging she asked me if this was a chain letter. It kind of is, but I hope that, since her reason for not blogging lately is that she’s writing, this will be the perfect segway to bring her back. She makes no attempt to hide who she really is and that’s probably why I like her. Most of my favorite bloggers are the kind of women who tell it how it is. Please come back Marg and soon! PS-Because you agreed to do this you will receive one million sets of fine china in the mail, but should you fail to post within the next seven days and thus break the chain, you will instead find a flaming bag of manure on your front step.
We Don’t Chew Glass – Steph (with a ph, not the same as the Stef with an f above) is another mom who has got the right idea….just feed and water your kids and they’ll turn out fine. I forgot to ask Steph if she’d do this, but she said she was going to be my second follower ever, so hopefully she’ll play along. Maybe I can convince my real life friend Stephanie to be my third follower? I don’t even remember how I found her blog, but I am sooooo glad I did and I look forward to laughing at her posts daily. Go visit Steph and maybe take that crazy kitten off of her hands for her!
Iowa Girl Eats – I also forgot to ask Kristin over at IGE if I could feature her here, but you should check her out anyway. Kristin is a runner and a mom just like me and also from Iowa (although lucky enough to not be stuck in NC). Also different from me, Kristin is a food blogger and comes up with some amazing looking stuff that makes me want to stuff my face. Some of it is just sinful, but most of it is really good for you. I’ve made quite a few of her recipes and my family’s favorite is a homemade take on hamburger helper. Kristin has one more amazing talent that I’m not sure she’s aware of; she can pose for any photo and look flawless! If you don’t believe me, scroll through her pics and see that she seems perfect at all moments. And just to prove that I’m not making this up and that her pics aren’t all doctored…here’s a snapshot stolen from my friend Jeri’s photo album of Kristin and Jeri at Subway where she ran into her and did the celebrity thing:
If you’ve made it all the way to the bottom of this very long post, THANK YOU FOR READING! I’ll be back tomorrow with more yoga and less talking.