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Monday, December 19, 2011

I Feel Fat All The Time

Recently a friend told me she wants to love her body but she always feels fat. I dedicate this article to her.
No woman is immune from "feeling fat". But notice we don't say "I have fat on my body all the time." What we are describing is the FEELING of being fat. For every woman, the feeling of being fat represents something different. Try completing this sentence: "I feel fat, and that means I am _______." Some examples would be: unattractive, too much, not enough, gross, unlovable, a mess...just to name a few.

Now, continue the sentence with: "if I am _____, that means__________, and that makes me feel__________."

For example:
"If I am unattractive, that means I will never live my dream of having a partner who truly loves me, and that makes me sad."
"If I am not enough, that means I will never get anything I want in this life no matter how hard I try, and that makes me mad!"
"If I am too much, that means I am different than everyone else, that no one will ever understand me, and that makes me feel sad and alone."

What is fat? Fat is a tissue. An assemblage of molecules and acids. But for a woman who is feeling sad, lonely or angry in a world that takes drastic measures to prevent her from feeling the fullness of her truth, it is easy to trick ourselves into believing that if we did not feel fat, we wouldn't have to encounter these intense feelings so often. That's what it looks like on TV anyway. So we put all our attention on how we can reshape, reform and reinvent our sweet, precious bodies. But as many of us have discovered, you can still be lonely in a differently shaped body.

So, what is the antidote? Well, it sure as hell doesn't begin an X or end with a drine. Have you ever met a girl who looks really pretty, but because she so clearly doesn't love herself, she is really un-beautiful? Her beauty is there, but it leaves you with a feeling of emptiness? And then, have you also met a girl who is incredibly "imperfect", yet completely enchanting because of how much she enjoys being exactly who she is? Her self-love is infectious, and you cannot help but fall under her spell. With this kind of woman, it's not in what she has, it's in what she believes. She refuses to buy into the idea that her scrumptious self could be anything less than lovable.

Burlesque is the living practice of being this kind of woman. There are some who think that burlesque is a step back for feminism, and that stripping is an objectification of women, period. To me, it is the exact opposite. When I went to my first burlesque show five years ago, what changed my life forever was seeing women who looked exactly like me, with real bodies, making the rules about what it means to be beautiful . They were not trying to fit into someone else's definition of sexiness, or waiting for something to change in order to feel the fullest expression of their beauty and power. And if you couldn't groove to their beat, well, you could just move on over. The same bodies I would see being squeezed, cursed and quickly covered up in the gym locker room were being flaunted and adored. I saw teeny-weeny AA cup breasts, G size breasts that came down to the belly button, and each woman walked around in mere pasties and a g-string with an ease and confidence that was impenetrable. These were not mere objects of male desire. These were objects of pure feminine power. The kind that is gorgeously unapologetic, perfectly imperfect, simultaneously embodying the beauty that dwells in the darkness and the light.

Today, act as if you are a woman who has the world in the palm of her hand. A woman whose beauty is eternal, and leaves a legacy in her wake. Act as if you are a woman who turns every head as she walks into a room. A woman that is flown across the world because her beauty is legend, and someone is prepared to pay millions of dollars for the inspiration that comes from watching her take one sip of coffee. When you live your life from this spot, you evaporate the chains that tie us down to the belief that we will only experience our fullest power when we don't feel fat. That is bullshit. You are this woman. Feel your power now.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday Morning

Feeling so grateful this morning. Yesterday I taught my Holiday Charm and Cheek 101 to an incredible group of women.  It is always so powerful to see the moment when a woman forgets about getting the dance moves right and just has fun with her beauty.  When you can see on her face that she couldn't be more pleased with herself, and nothing has changed on the outside. Imagine seeing that look on the face of every woman in your subway car in the morning? That is my dream. 

This Sunday morning I woke up early and put the lights on our little New York City apartment tabletop tree to surprise Kev when he wakes up.  I flipped channels between Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Cancer and The Birdcage while drinking piping hot Earl Grey tea. Today we will decorate the tree, and Kev will slow roast something, his favorite thing to do on Winter weekends. Then I will head over to my dear friend Dara's studio - Sacred Brooklyn - to teach another Holiday Charm and Cheek 101.  I love teaching striptease over the holidays. The two go together like eggnog and nutmeg, really.

                                                          What are you doing with your Sunday?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Personal Is Political

One of the first things I read this morning was the following article in the NY Times:

KABUL, Afghanistan — When the Afghan government announced Thursday that it would pardon a woman who had been imprisoned for adultery after she reported that she had been raped, the decision seemed a clear victory for the many women here whose lives have been ground down by the Afghan justice system.       

But when the announcement also made it clear that there was an expectation that the woman, Gulnaz, would agree to marry the man who raped her, the moment instead revealed the ways in which even efforts guided by the best intentions to redress violence against women here run up against the limits of change in a society where cultural practices are so powerful that few can resist them, not even the president.       

The solution holds grave risks for Gulnaz, who uses one name, since the man could be so humiliated that he might kill his accuser, despite the risk of prosecution, or abuse her again.

I am enraged. I want to flail myself on the floor in heartbreak and pound my fists.  How can I, as a woman, even get out of bed when across the world one of my sisters is enduring this kind of atrocity because she is female???!!!! I could cry a river of tears.

I am writing this blog because I don't know what to do, other than tell everyone I know about this and get them as fired up as I am.

This morning I woke up feeling aimless, concerned mainly with what I could achieve and entertain myself today. The positive is that after reading this article, my passion to celebrate the feminine and strengthen myself could not be burning brighter. Because I know for a fact, that every time I celebrate myself as a woman, it sets another woman free.  Good breeds more good. Freedom breeds more freedom. 

Today, I did yoga to strengthen and center myself. I called my best friend and told her I love her madly.  My husband drove us to a different store to get the organic, free range chicken to stand for the Great Mother of us all. I looked into holding a fundraiser/movie screening for the film Miss Representation. I chose to save my money and not spend it on unnecessary items just to fill the void.  I dedicated my self-pleasuring to Gulnaz, her lawyer, her sisters in prison, even to her rapist and the judge, that my love of my body and the part of me that is most feminine would send shock waves of love and pleasure across the world. 

The personal is political.  What are you doing today to celebrate and give thanks for being born a woman? Share with me below....