Thursday, August 23, 2012

Is Fit the New Skinny?

"The only two pairs of shoes a girl needs are really good running shoes and classic red stilettos".

When I'm not in running shoes, you can often find me in a variety of smokin' hot, high, high heels. I love them.  I feel beautiful in them.  Confident.  Unstoppable.

But you know what makes me feel even more confident? More unstoppable?  And yes, more beautiful? Its not a certain dress. Its not a certain application of makeup. Its not a certain pair of shoes. Its actually the most ridiculous outfit I own.  The top looks like a small bathrobe, the pants would make MC Hammer proud, and the only appropriate footwear is none at all.  Its my martial arts uniform.

It's not sexy.  It's not even flattering.  But when I tie my belt around my waist, pull my hair into a ponytail, and step out onto the mat, I feel all kinds of gorgeous.

Why?  Because this sport makes me feel strong.  The punches, kicks, and blocks make me feel capable and fearless.  The forms make me feel graceful and powerful at the same time.  Fighting another person gives me a deep sense of reverence for my opponent and respect for myself.

And that, my friends, is beautiful.

Nine years ago this week I was scheduled for a surgery that would remove the screws and pins that had been holding my right foot together since a tragic car accident 5 months before.  When I came out of surgery I was told that I would experience pain for the rest of my life.  I went 3 years unable to wear my beloved high heels. But last week, at my Orange Belt test, I smashed that same foot, still bearing the scars from two surgeries through a solid piece of wood.  Afterward, I held the two pieces of the board in my hands and literally trembled in gratitude and amazement.

Too many women spend everyday hating their bodies.  Every outfit, every workout, every social event, hating the body that they live in. Defining their worth by a number on a scale or on the tag of their jeans.  I have spent too many years feeling exactly that way.... unhappy, unsatisfied, unaccepted by the eyes that I had to face in the mirror every morning.  

At the end of the belt test last week, after I had changed out of my uniform and had untied my hair, I was unexpectedly asked to break another board, this time with an open palm strike. When the palm of my hand broke through the board and smashed into the chest of the instructor, and I held in my hands 4 pieces of broken wood, something became very clear to me....

My body is amazing.

Not because of a dress size, not because of a certain number of pounds lost.  Not how I look, but what I can do.

My legs have carried me across the finish lines of two marathons.  My body has grown two human beings.  My arms have rocked six children to sleep. My body has been broken by tragedy and has  healed into something whole.

Do I still want my body to change?  Sure.  But I'm more concerned with a body that is stronger, faster, more powerful, more agile, able to run further, able to throw a stronger punch, than I am with a body that is just.... thinner.

I have heard recently that fit is the new skinny.  I don't know how I feel about that.  But I do know that I have better things to do with my time, with my body, than to chase skinny.