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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Body Hope

Last week's post was a tough one to write and I know it was hard to read. This week I want to write about something that gave me enormous hope and ability to cope better when things go wrong.

Throughout childhood I was not much good at anything to do with sports; always the last kid picked for the team, and even walking or running or gym class of any kind seemed like something other people did, but never me.

It wasn't until I was older and started singing in a rock band that I realized I needed to feel comfortable enough in my own skin to dance. I asked a friend who was great at dancing to teach me her moves and did what I could, though I still didn't have the fluidity I needed to be on stage.

After my son was born, I started to take him for walks and on bike rides in a trailer. I realized how fun it was to be outside. We walked and walked and walked on a road that wound around the Mississippi River, and I remember thinking, "Sun, leaves, water, breeze, world. Why didn't I do this before?"

When I got a part-time job at a nonprofit called Melpomene Institute for Women's Health, I found every employee engaged in some sort of physical activity. I joined a women's gym and started lifting weights, which opened a door to a whole new world. Muscles that hurt in good ways let me know that my body was strong and capable of carrying me. 

Lifting brought me into my body and made me feel proud of it. Using my body in this way also gives me a feeling of being grounded I didn't have when I was a child.

Then, all I wanted to do was escape my body (and the world around me). I read, watched TV, fell in love with movies and discovered theater and plays. I wanted to act, but my acting was always hampered because I didn't know how to live inside my body. I think kids who are abused tend instead to float around inside their heads. 

If you or someone you know has experienced abuse, I would encourage you to try some sort of physical activity. I believe anything you do will give you tools to feel stronger emotionally as well as physically. You don't have to be a bodybuilder (I'm sure not). All you have to do is move.

For more on this topic, you may want to visit the following sites: