And for once I was SuperMom

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Wonder Woman

There's a buzz going on the internet these days.  About the movie Wonder Woman.  I've seen so many posts, read so many blogs about women saying they cried during the movie, felt relieved during the movie, or felt like tearing down walls after the movie.
I went to see it with my husband on Father's Day.  He made the comment that he started feeling good about himself that he was so advanced to go see a movie about a woman on Father's Day, his pick, but then he corrected himself, 'wait, it's just a movie.'
And that's the beauty of this movie, that it's just a superhero movie.
With a female protagonist.

I may have been prepped for my reaction with all the blogs that I read, but I did cry.  Was it relief?  Yes.  Was it pride?  Yes.  Was it connection?  Yes.
Did my heart recognize Diana's anger at the end of the movie?  Yes.  I've felt that angry, and never watched a woman on screen get so angry, without being depicted as crazy.  And it set me free.  We all get angry.  Watching a woman get so angry was terribly cathartic.
Representation Matters.
I've seen the hashtag and thought it to be true.  I watched the movie and felt it to be true.  This is why men are so confident.  They see men in movies do these amazing things.  Women don't get those depictions.  We don't see ourselves in superhero movies.

What I was most surprised at though, was my relief at watching the characters Hippolyta and Antiope.
I have three children.  I'm in my thirties.  I see the clock ticking.  I see my skin changing.  This aging thing is happening.  No matter how much kale I eat or how many miles I run, it's happening.  I will get older and my body will change.  I've come into my love of fitness and chosen to pursue a career in fitness later in the game.  I keep questioning myself.  Am I too old for this?  Is this for the young?  Am I silly for doing all these burpees?

There was one particular scene where the camera shot hit down on Antiope's shoulder and you could see the sun damage on her skin.  Not makeupped away, so she was more sexually appealing.  In fact they'd added a scar to her shoulder.  I recognized that skin.  It looked more like my own, than Diana's. Years of beach days, hiking, running, and just living life have freckled my shoulders.  I've no intention of hiding inside for the remainder of my years, so I'm sure that they'll only get more spotty.  When I saw that shoulder on Robin Wright, I saw my own.  Or my shoulder to come.  And I cried.  I felt tears release down my face.  Because here was a woman who looked like me in a role that was relevant.  She was not pushed to the side as someone's mother or wife.  She was a general.  Making decisions.  Training women. She was not boxed into relationship with a man or defined by her relationship with a man or relevant because of her relationship with a man.  She was her own.  She was relevant.
As we age women get pushed to the side.  If you are to believe Hollywood once we become no longer sexually attractive to men, because we had the audacity to age or give birth, we become irrelevant.  We no longer count.  Yet men get to continue.  How many movies have I sat through where I was confused by all the older white men on screen?  So many.  Too many.
And here were two women in their fifties, in control.  Still at the helm of life.

So am I silly for pursuing a career in fitness in my thirties?  No.
It ain't over yet.

Sunday, April 30, 2017


So there I was in the locker room of my local YMCA, and I hear a voice behind me say,
"I was just on the treadmill and the girl next to me was flying."
And I thought, 'oh geez, was that me?'  I tried to remember who was next to me on the other treadmill.  I couldn't remember.  The disappointed voice kept talking,
"She was doing like a 7, and she wasn't even sweating."
I thought, 'Well, that couldn't have been me, I sweat like a...a something that sweats a lot...' As I passed her on my way back to my locker I smiled, just in case it was me.  I didn't want to be the source of her discontent.  I didn't want to be the person that made her feel bad.  Everyone should be able to exercise to their ability and feel good about themselves.

Now I've been on both sides of this fence.  I've been the girl eying everyone else as they pass her on the track, and I've been the girl 'flying'  on the treadmill.

Here's something I want you to all know, never once have I ever thought, 'I'm going to run fast on this treadmill to make the person next to me feel bad.'
Never once have I ever thought, 'I'm going to throw myself down and do one more burpee to make the woman behind me feel out of shape.'
Never once have I ever thought, 'I'm going to lift heavier weight to make other people in the gym feel weak.'
Not even once.
I couldn't remember if she was the person next to me on the treadmill because I was focused on my own run.  Hear that?  'Because I was focused on my own run.'

This kind of comparing hurts everyone.

If we constantly compare ourselves to each other in ways that make ourselves feel bad we all lose.  If I know that my success makes you feel bad, I can't be openly proud of what I've done.
If you're looking around you comparing yourself to the other people who are 'doing better than you,' well then, you've already lost.

We've all done it, the sideways glance into the mirror.  The frustrated pat on some part of our body that we hate.  The 'go away' pat.  The 'I hate you' pat.  The 'I wish you were different' pat.  After a Spin class I did that sideways look, and I remember patting my belly.  That part of my body that has been stretched and pulled to produce babies, that part of my body that has never been the same after the birth of those babies.  I remember that angry pat, but what was different about that pat was that immediately after I corrected myself.  I thought, 'Lara, you just put yourself through a workout that would make some people throw up.  Be thankful for what your body is capable of.'  The revelation rang deep in me.  Don't focus on what I look like, but be thankful for what my body can do.

Exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself.  Hours on the treadmill, weights lifted, time on the mat, it's all money in the bank.  All of it will help you feel good about yourself.  All of it will keep disease away.  If your only motivation is to look a certain way you will never win.  If your motivation is to feel good and chose health over illness you will always win.

Do you feel good after you exercised?
Than you've won.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

New Year's Resolutions

Here's how 2016 went for me:

I started the year with the New Year's resolutions:
1. Don't wear pants with a button until February.
2.  Drink as much coffee as I want.
3.  Give away more produce from my garden.
4. Try to eat more balanced meals.

I started my Group Exercise Certification.  So I could start teaching group exercise classes and work at the gym.

Then (about a week later):
I found out I was pregnant.

Then (a few weeks later):
I applied for a job as a teacher, at a community art program.  I saw the ad in my Facebook feed, and thought, while rubbing my growing belly, this is bad timing, but I should apply for it anyway.  I got the job.

Then (a few weeks later):
I was promoted Program Manager of that community art program.

I worked really hard.  I made a lot of spreadsheets.  I am not sure that anyone read them.

I left that job.  Because it was a mess.

I voted for Bernie Sanders in the primaries.
I got Hillary Clinton as a candidate.
I voted for Hillary Clinton in the election.
I got Donald Trump as a President-elect.

I had that baby.

2016 was not what I expected.  I did not plan on having another child.  I did not plan on getting and leaving a job.  But these things happened.
Scott predicted that my supervisor at that art program would not be there much longer.  I remember his exact words,
"He's not long for that job," I remember thinking, 'that sounds right,' but not being able to trust that it would happen.
When that supervisor actually got let go, Scott pointed out that he called that event.  And I couldn't articulate why I hadn't fully been able to think that he was right.  Then finally the words,
"I didn't think it would happen, because what's supposed to happen, often doesn't happen," tumbled out of my mouth.  Scott just nodded, he understood.

This year felt like a series of that.  Not that they are all bad things that happened, those things that weren't supposed to happen.
That baby wasn't supposed to happen.  But here he is, unexpected.  I don't feel like writing all the platitudes about what a blessing he is.  I knew he would be.  Once I found out I was pregnant I thought, 'let's just get this over with and give me the kid.'  Now, the pregnancy is over, and I am healing.  He is here, and he's delightful, and chubby, and gorgeous.

I started with my New Year's Resolutions.  I hate New Year's Resolutions.  Just another opportunity to find ourselves wanting and set up goals that we will fail at executing.  Goals that we will white knuckle towards, goals that our hands will loosen on, and we look at our empty palms and think, 'I didn't do it again.'  I tried to make my goals positive, not life changing or painful.  Fun.  Funny.  Not ways to improve my personhood, maybe just a few things to make my life more entertaining.

Let's revisit them:
1.  Don't wear pants with a button until January.  This is because I believe that January should be renamed Pajamuary.  January is the worst.  It is cold.  It is month long hangover after the holidays.  It should be withstood wearing only pajamas.  I have to admit that I failed at this goal.  I wore jeans at some point during that month.
2.  Drink as much coffee as I want.  Did it.
3.  Give away more produce from my garden.  The garden was not as successful this year.  Which is kind of what you'd expect from someone who's gardening philosophy is basically, 'let's stick this in some dirt and see what happens.'  I almost didn't do the garden when I found out I was pregnant.  Then I thought, 'it will make me move and it will make me eat vegetables.'  The garden accomplished that, I moved and ate vegetables through my pregnancy.  I would like some credit for that.
4.  Try to eat more balanced meals.  I was actually able to do this.  I added fruit to my breakfasts and started turning my salads into a more balanced bowl of whole grains and protein.
Did you read that?  I ate salads while I was pregnant.  I would like credit for that.

So let's try again, for this year, for 2017, here are my New Year's Resolutions:
1. Don't wear pants with a button until February.  I think I will make it this year.  None of my pants with buttons fit.
2.  Give away more from my garden.
3.  Get outside more.  Pregnancy is a funny thing.  The process makes you slow down.  Settle inward.  I didn't leave the house for much of the fall.  I needed to, but my family and myself suffered.  So that's a goal.  Despite the weather that New England can drum up for us, we're going to get outside.
4.  Heal well from my pregnancy.  Give myself time and be gentle with myself.  Don't focus on appearance, but health.  I want my back to stop hurting and I want to feel strong and energetic again.