Bashing Yoga Barbie? Guilty As Charged

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“That’s why I’ve decided, step one in this campaign to ‘give the yoga body a make-over’ is to acknowledge its powerful hold on our psyche.”

Thank you, Body Divine, for developing an innovative dialogue on this issue, one that does not depend on definitions of skinny or fat but that we all (or at least most of us, I think) can relate to.

Originally posted on body divine yoga:

lululemon-barbie

This post is a response to recent comments left on Yoga Body, Yoga Barbie: The Movie. Comments accusing me of ‘thin bashing’, comments that have got me thinking and questioning myself deeply.  Am I, despite my zeal to promote “body love”, being exclusionary, judgmental and even mean?

One woman writes “Please be aware of the feelings and perceptions for those of us who are thin. As a 100lb petite yoga instructor, I am constantly bashed then idolized for my figure. Somehow in the culture to take back the “woman” body, it has become okay to make nasty comments to someone for being small.”

Another chides me “ judging women’s bodies (i.e. assuming you know what blonde, thin yogi pictured above has been through spiritually) is *not* the way we’re going to progress as a gender. I challenge you to keep bringing these thoughtful, intellectual messages without throwing a woman…

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It’s just different enough

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Snippets from the first month or so:

Walking along the highway-ish road the first day, a black man with bright purple hair (and shoes) speaking French to his young daughter who clutched a stuffed animal.

That was the second child that I’d seen walking along the street holding a stuffie. For some reason it struck me as different. That and the purple hair. I can still see them walking in front of me.

When I bothered to order a sandwich in my clumsy french, and the man at the restaurant spoke with me, slowly. A small and encouraging breakthrough.

There was this loud buzzing sound sometimes. I heard it when the patio doors were open. I asked my niece what it was, thinking of some power line type of issue.

Cicadas, she said.

Little moments of different.

The kids playing on the fenced-in, cement playground at the school on the (busy) corner, French-accent shouts bouncing off brick walls.

The brick seems to sharpen already bold soundscapes.

The way that the neighbors fighting sounds more like a play than a real thing. Maybe it’s the thicker walls, the fact that I don’t know them, the fact that it sounds more like drama than real problems…but I feel more removed, as if it is some sort of performance. My last neighbors were too close to home.

I couldn’t stand the fighting anymore.

The cab drivers are animated, chatty. Most people seem simultaneously more and less friendly…at least, less forced happiness. There’s flairs of charisma but it’s not vacant charm. It’s authentic and vibrant. No sugarcoats.

I feel like I’m in a movie—not acting in it, just watching characters.

The night I flew out was the night the man burned. I went to a party that I wasn’t invited to and watched that on a TV. Surreal, fitting…especially the way the screen separated us and the man, but also ourselves.

I had felt disconnect for a while and this was symbolic of a real distance that I’d been feeling for so long anyhow.

It was fitting of the shit that I’d shed, the new horizons that I couldn’t wait one more minute to miss. I didn’t idealize the other side at all; I knew it would come with it’s own set of imperfections and trials.

But first would come some semblance of clarity that I’d been craving for so long.

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Bearing Down, Shedding Layers, Saying Goodbye.

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One week from now I will have shed all of my stuff, left attachments behind and will have landed in Montreal.

Currently my emotions waver from love of this city, a few things, some key people.

The last week:  Bandida’s and sangria, mimosas in a nearby park,  white russians at the Big Lebowski.

A Joni Mitchell tribute night at a house nearby that has a covered balcony with couches, glowing lights, vines.

And he read me Bukowski and she braided my hair.

Then pie, a seawall walk, a film noir, a special dinner at Espana with my soul sister.

A going away party with mad libs, bow ties…open hearts.

The day after that lounging in bed with someone that I wish…no, I’m not wishing anymore.

A last write-night with a bottle of pinot and I felt light, ready.

I felt loved.

I know there are still things eating away at me – literally they eat away at my stomach lining. And I feel ill.

Getting rid of old things (I mean stuff/attachments, not beings!) is liberating…and scary.

The hour before the vet appointment was the longest hour in the world. I just wanted it done. And then in that room how she nuzzled into the crook of my arm.

I’ve been listening to old mixed tapes and wondering why I kept them so long. I suppose at some point in time we couldn’t just find any old music anywhere …so it was more special. More valuable.

I’m wondering whether sentimentality has a purpose; is it good or bad that I want most of my things gone like this? It feels crazy.

And there is just so much stuff. So much.

Even with relationships – we have access to more relationships at a time with travel, globalization. It’s a double-edged sword in that there is always something new – so possibility is around the corner – but then we maybe aren’t as motivated to hold onto the good things. Maybe we just don’t focus enough on quality.

Is there someone out there for me? A new best friend? A more suitable lover? Will I see my old lovers and have it not be wrong?

I’m confused, a little; and I still feel judged.

Frankly (feeling) love is exhausting these days. I’m spent with feeling so good one moment and then rotten the next. I am not giving it well enough either, for the most part. Not in the right directions.

For that I am sorry. I wish I’d loved you (you, you) better.

I will really miss my friend-family here…but I’m also spent. I take responsibility for participating in some of the dynamics that exhaust me (and them).

Mostly, these relationships lift me. But sometimes not.

I guess that is normal… but here things just run so deep. It’s beautiful and intense and I would not trade it for the world.

But I’m okay to go, maybe just for a while.

Is leaving really going to be better? Is it a relief, a healthy change, or a distraction? Will I really be okay…let alone better, like I envision? Or is it just false hope?

We may attribute meaning by choice, but I can’t just leave the feelings behind.

Or can I, in a positive way? I guess the question is: should I? Is it right to somehow want to feel less in some ways?

There are loved ones on the other side and that will be a whole new set of feelings, dynamics. Not always simple, I’m sure…but solid. So incredibly solid. And how lucky am I to have community in both places? 

So, we can relax or we can worry (this video helps me all the time): 

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