I am committed to a lifetime of fitness for function, fun, and adventure! I wanna pole dance when I’m sixty… jump out of a plane when I’m seventy… and zip-line through the jungles of Costa Rica when I’m eighty. #claimingit So before the weight of gravity continues to humble my ambitions any further, I’m fighting back with movement!
I respond to criticism about my body by internalizing it. I wish I had a more evolved way to deflect the sucker punches to my ego. But since I was a young dancer, I’ve absorbed people’s words and accompanying body language like a sponge as they commented on my thighs, my complexion or whether or not I could ever become a dancer – because of my body. That whole “sticks & stones” concept is false. Words hurt. And the pain of them lingers in my subconscious, no matter how many times I rattle off “I’m rubber, you’re glue!”.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m most comfortable in my skin when I’m at my performing weight. What can I say? I’m a product of a culture and a career that celebrates specific beauty ideals. I’ve been conditioned to believe that my appearance determines my worth. That my skills and talents can be overshadowed by an appearance that doesn’t match society’s standard. That lives in my subconscious but the critical voices are loud and on auto-loop. I’m not proud of it but, yes, I’d be much more comfortable in my skin if I were at
I show my body gratitude by knowing her love languages: quality time and physical touch. As a dancer I’ve had an intimate relationship with my body since I was 5yo. She’s always received my focused and undivided attention. I’ve spent most of my life partnering with her in the exploration of movement; allowing my body to experience its greatest capabilities and wildest dreams. Together we built a dance and aerial arts career; performing on sets and stages around the world. And because my body has so generously allowed me to indulge in my passions, I listen carefully to her needs.
For me, injury recovery looks like movement. It’s Pilates with the elimination of some exercises and the modification of others. Sometimes it’s returning to pre-Pilates with deep awareness and breath. It’s paying attention to the imbalances in my powerhouse and working to correct them, even with the most subtle of movements. It’s using all the inherently corrective tools that Joseph Pilates invented to restore the body.
But injury recovery is also PT, acupuncture and manual MFR treatments.
My response to injury is instant frustration and the muttering of expletives because, more often than not, I believe I could’ve prevented it. The overuse injuries, that is. Not the sudden, acute injuries like when I was an aerial artist and someone flew into the back of my head giving me a concussion. But the times when I’d “go hard” and neglect regular body maintenance. Back in the day, I’d return to stage before healing 100%. For example, I’d secure my sprained ankles with tape; and then run, jump and stomp onstage, numbed by adrenaline and endorphins.