February. Ah, February. The month of the Super Bowl, (and yes, I have used this picture before in a previous blog, but it never fails to amuse me), the month of the strangely immortal 123 year old Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow….again! It’s the month where we wonder if we’re ever going to see Spring and sunshine ever again. It’s the month of Love and it’s the month that I become a year older, wiser, and more fabulous..
In case you didn’t notice, the Super Bowl was on the other Sunday night. It was TOTALLY a game worth watching, even to a Brit who doesn’t understand the rules and only watches the Super Bowl and none of the games leading up to it. How exciting was it? Who was sitting on the edge of their seat with their heart in their mouth? Everyone. Everyone. Except for you over there on the other side of the pond, unless you stayed up to watch…but probably didn’t.
Let’s talk about the halftime show. I like Lady Gaga. I have one of her CDs (I’m so old) with Tony Bennett (yes, I’m old) and appreciate her artistry and talent but I wouldn’t say I’m a lifetime mahoosive fan. However, I thought she did an amazing job at the halftime show. Amazing. I read that she had been working out a whole lot and had a mini gym installed at the stadium so she could continue to work out in order to be able to jump, fly, dance, basically provide a high energy half time show to entertain us all, singing all the way through without losing her breath, without going off tune and without lip syncing. She was spectacular. Who amongst us can run at a good clip for 15 minutes and talk, let alone sing?. Who amongst us can swing a kettlebell for 2 minutes and talk at the same time without losing our wind?
So, it was in complete disbelief, and not without a little anger that later on that week, I heard a woman I don’t know very well, remark on the halftime show by saying vehemently, “I thought she was terrible, letting her disgusting flab hang out like that!”
What? What flab? What hadn’t I noticed? I didn’t know what she was talking about. I wondered if we had watched the same half time show. I had thought she looked amazing, that she looked strong, healthy and very importantly, completely in her element, doing what she loves and does best. My first immediate thought was, “Why are you so angry about it?”, followed by, “As a woman – as a person, you would hate someone talking like that about you, so why pick another woman to pieces like that?”
Later on that day, I came across a Facebook Post by Molly Galbraith of Girls Gone Strong that said it perfectly as she responded to some nasty online criticism (from men) of Gaga’s body: “Her body is none of anyone’s damn business but hers!” That hit the nail on the head. Seriously, why do we as women bash other women and particularly their bodies? We’re not in competition with each other and yet so often we put each other down. I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of it at one time or another either in thought OR word. It can get to be an insidious habit. And as a habit, it’s a downward spiral. It really says much more about who we are than the person whose body we’re pulling to pieces. And while I’m at it (because I’m so good at this one), why do we pull ourselves to pieces as well? Why have we conditioned ourselves to beat ourselves up? My reason is that I do it before anyone else can get that kick in. What’s your reason?
I don’t have any answers to the questions I’m posing. I don’t pretend to be a great thinker or wise sage. This isn’t a deep blog. I leave that to others. I’m sure that much has been written on the subject. I just wanted to ask the questions, because the angry woman really got to me. I felt gobsmacked, sad and tired and started questioning my own thoughts and words and reactions, which I guess is a good thing?
I feel fortunate that at the Kettlebell Fitness Center, this is not a common problem amongst the men or women who attend classes. We don’t hear it. (I want to give a shout out to the men who train at The Kettlebell Center. They are some of our best encouragers!) We come in, we warm up, we do our stuff, we yell encouragement to each other, we whine when Nancy wants one more round, but we do not pull each other to pieces. Life is hard enough. We are all at different stages in our lives, job wise, health wise, fitness wise, body wise. And we are all different and wonderful human beings.
In fact, all of us at The Kettlebell Fitness Center are getting more fabulous as time goes on. I was looking back at some old photos of us all, and I can see the difference between then and now in each and every one of us. Sometimes we don’t see the ongoing changes in ourselves as we see our bodies in the mirror every day, many of us picking out what we imagine to be flaws. Sometimes it takes fresh eyes, or the eyes of someone else to notice the subtle but ever growing changes. So I want to throw out a challenge to us all. In the next couple of weeks, encourage someone. Tell them something that you really like, love or admire about them. Build them up. You don’t know how many people are struggling right now just to keep it together, who are discouraged by life, by their health, their fitness level, their job, their eating habits. An encouraging word can make a huge difference. It might be something that they need to hear. Something that will cause them to keep on going.
Be kind to yourself also. Give yourself some slack. Don’t be so hard on yourself. This week I was struggling with get ups again. Nancy showed me some corrections to help me from putting unneeded pressure on my shoulders. My immediate response was, “have I been doing it wrong all this time?” feeling like a failure, instead of “OK, this is helping. Thanks Nancy!!” It’s so easy to be negative about oneself, isn’t it? So I’ll just leave this here: my shoulders and upper arms are looking pretty good at the moment. *grin* See? I can do this. I can encourage myself.
I’m sorry that there are no food photos or recipes this week. I just wanted to get this off my chest. I want to be an encourager of others, especially my fellow women. If it’s something that doesn’t come naturally to you, try it on for size. Let me know how you get on, or if you felt it impacted someone positively, or if you were the recipient of encouragement or compliment, how did it make you feel?
I turn 52, the day after Valentine’s Day, and I’m going to make sure this year counts as the year I build others up, offer support, encouragement and to continue to work on myself to become extra faaaabulous dahlinks!
Go. Go do it. And if you are one of the few who didn’t see Gaga’s halftime show, click on this link. Lady Gaga’s Superbowl Halftime Show You’re welcome. By the way? You’re all awesome and Lady Gaga, you were a flippin’ powerhouse!