Kate Harding has a wonderful post, “Happy Yogaversary to Me“, on reclaiming her self as an embodied subject:
Like just about all girls in this culture, I was always taught that my body was primarily something for other people to experience externally, not something I actually inhabited. By the time I was 20, without even trying, I became an expert on which make-up colors suit fair skin and blue eyes, which styles show off fine, wavy hair to its best advantage, which cuts of clothing flatter an hourglass figure. I knew how many calories were in everything and how many pounds I’d have to lose to drop a dress size. But I was over 30 before I learned how to engage just my quadriceps”“without the rest of my legs and my ass getting into the game”“let alone how engaging just my quadriceps could affect what was happening with my feet. I was over 30 before I learned that deep, focused breathing cuts my anxiety in half. I was over 30 before I learned how fantastic it feels, mentally and physically, to put my muscles to good use on a regular basis.
Because no one ever taught me there was a point to any of that for someone like me. If you didn’t enjoy sports”“and hoo boy, I didn’t”“the only, only reason to exercise was to lose weight. Sure, plenty of people gave lip service to the idea of exercising “for your health,” but what that meant was “to lose weight.” Fat was bad and unhealthy. Exercise made it go away. That. Was. All.
So if I exercised and didn”t lose weight, there was no goddamned point, obviously. I wasn’t getting any “healthier,” and I sure wasn’t getting any prettier, and it literally did not occur to me to consider how my body actually felt when I exercised. When I did it, there was only one thought in my mind: “If I keep this up for a really long time, I will be thin.”
Categories: gender & feminism