Monthly Archives: January 2017

“Mama, Do You Want A Bikini Body?”

My five year old and I were lounging on the couch after school one day, snacking and snuggling.  An ad promoting a new fitness guru’s workout routine popped up in between her regular animated favorite.

Fiona, knowing my penchant for exercise, eyed the ad cautiously, like a liberal might eye any of Donald Trump’s cabinet picks.  “Mama?” she said, “Do you want to do that?”

Oh, baby girl, I thought to myself.  That’s a loaded question.

*****

I have wanted a bikini body before just to have a bikini body…I will admit to that.  I wanted once to have chiseled abs and a super low BMI.  Because when you look at someone like that, you look at someone who has no perceived flaws.  Someone who is perfect and probably has no problems and thinks everything is great.  So if I had that, I would be happy then, when I got to that perfectly chiseled point, just like that perfect woman on the television.

OK, I still want that on some days.

But on my healthy days, I know I looked like this when I wanted a bikini body:

skinnyamanda

And when I use exercise and food for the right reasons, I look like this:

img_6475

So, it’s reversed for me.  When I’m doing well and healthy, I don’t get compliments for “looking great”.  My stomach bulges a bit, and my pants fit more snug than they did before.  But I can also run 4 miles with no fatigue, do 30 minutes straight of lunges and squats, and I can lift whole couches by myself.  And typically, I’m doing better in my career, and accomplishing internal goals rather than external ones.

So do I love exercise and all the reps that foster a bikini body?  Absolutely.  But more often these days, I move for the powerful feeling I get after a run; that feeling can carry me through eight tough client sessions.  I do it to wake my thirty-something muscles up so I can be a good enough mother to my energetic, unstoppable daughter.  And I do it to remind her and myself that woman’s bodies are capable of very strong things, and that they are not just to be looked at.

So yes, I enjoy being fit.  I want to be fit.  But I want so much more than that these days.

I want to make sure my daughter is fulfilled and does things that make her happy.  I want to enjoy and develop my relationship with my husband.  I want to make sure my mother, who lives with us, has what she needs and I want to thrive in my career.  I want to be connected. I want to have hobbies and hang out with friends and do things I believe in, and sometimes, all those things that I want don’t leave time for perfectly chiseled abs or arms.  They leave time for a fit, happy woman…a woman who doesn’t necessarily have men gawking at her or a thousand facebook likes.  And that’s totally OK.

*****

I turned to Fiona and smiled.  “Yeah, that’d be ok!  As long as it made me happy.  Mama works out to stay happy.”

Fiona nodded, continued munching on her snack, and turned her attention back to her show.

And may you always seek what makes you happy, I echoed to her in my head.

amandabikini

 

 

When You Say “Butthurt”, I Hear “Lazy”

Butthurt.

Have you heard that word overused lately?  I sure have.  In particular, it’s been used most recently to describe American voters who are unhappy with the outcome of the past election, and are exercising their right to speak about it.  A couple of weeks ago, I was chastised by men and women on a self-help Facebook group for asserting that using the word “butthurt” to describe others’ feelings might be invalidating, unfair, and lazy.

In addition, I was on a friend’s social media page, where I saw this video.

In the friend’s comment section, someone described this and anyone who expressed these sentiments as “butthurt”.

YOU LISTEN TO ME.  NOW. 

That is not “butthurt”, those comments endorse sexual assault.  And sexual assault is against the law.

This is not the left being dramatic, or “too millennial”, we are seeing things AS IS.  We are supporting laws.  If you choose to use the word “butthurt” to describe those who decry statements such as the ones Trump has made, I firmly believe you are making a statement against the law.

And if you’re turning a blind eye because sexual assault has never happened to you, you’re part of the problem too.  What about your sisters?  Your fiance?  Your mother?  All of these women at some point have probably experienced either rape or some form of an unwanted sexual advance.

So when you dismiss our free speech, our grave concerns about the rights of women and minorities and the LBGTQ community, as “butthurt” –

We see you as lazy.  

Too lazy to consider to someone else’s feelings because they inconvenience your privileged, white, Trump-winning, victorious world.

Too lazy to put themselves in the shoes of a woman who was taken advantage of when she was drunk.

Too lazy to imagine what it’s like for a black girl who’s everyone’s token black friend and is treated like a pariah.

Too lazy to consider the feelings of the families of the Pulse victims, whose son or daughter was gunned down because of who they were attracted to.

(By the way: the first example happened to me, the second has happened to my best friend repeatedly, and the third…well, we saw that on the news, didn’t we?)

I mean, do you really want to stand on that side of justice?  Dismissing others’ feelings about death and sexual assault as “butthurt”?

What would be much more law-abiding, more understanding, and mature would be the act of listening.  And believing someone’s perception of life, simply because it’s theirs.  And not getting defensive on a facebook comment thread, because actually looking at the history of sexual assault and hate crimes and taking responsibility for it is too painful for you to acknowledge.

Maybe it’s you who’s “butthurt”.

So yes, if speaking up about rape culture and sexual assault and hate crimes makes us butthurt, then we are butthurt.  If supporting laws that forbid these crimes make us butthurt, then you can call a spade a spade.

But we know the truth.

You are lazy.

And it’s sick to dismiss those who have had to endure rape kits and physical assault as “butthurt”, when they’ve had real live wounds to attend to.