|I definitely used to "Mousercise" with Mickey|
Mouse Clubhouse. If only I could find that photo.
I remember sitting in front of the mirror at 17, pinching my belly, rounding my spine as much as possible to get my belly to look like Jabba the Hut, praying that I would be struck with enough self hatred to lead to an “ah ha!” moment. One that would make me say “enough is enough” and result in me losing 30 pounds like those lucky bitches I read about every month in Self magazine. When I was 17, and I saw my precious teenage body changing and growing beyond my control, I decided that 170 was the weight that I would start seriously considering suicide. I got up to about 170 at age 18, and then dipped down to 150 after a summer of, well, drugs. For me, at any point in my life, a significant weight loss can be a big deal.
After my teen years, I went deep down into how I felt about and treated my body. I did A LOT of inner work to change how I felt about my curves. I did have a miraculous transformation, but I didn’t lose a single pound. What changed was my belief about beauty, bodies, being a woman, everything. One of the results of this work was becoming a burlesque performer. As a woman with a curvaceous, voluptuous body, burlesque taught me that it is not the flat stomach or the perky boobs that make a woman. It is her smile, her light, and how much she loves herself that will determine how the audience, and the world, feels about her. This was a huge lesson for me that spilled over into every area of my life.
As I was performing and teaching my burlesque/seduction classes, my weight vacillated between 165 and 175. I was fine with that, and my students loved it. They loved my body. They loved to watch me dance and perform and seduce. I didn’t have the “perfect” body, but I sure as hell didn’t care, and that opened up the possibility for them to not care either. Many women told me how watching me perform profoundly changed how they felt about their own bodies. Once, after performing at a dear friend’s engagement party, an icon from the fashion world came up to me and said “Kitty, your body makes me want to gain weight”. Wow, I thought. My body is powerful.
So, after making some changes in my self care over the last few months, imagine my surprise when I hopped on the scale at the doctor’s office and the nurse reported in a blase tone “151”.
What? Check again. That’s not possible. How could I have lost 25 pounds? I knew my clothes felt smaller, but Jesus! For a girl who used to weigh herself before and after a poop just for the satisfaction of seeing the ounces go down, this was going to take some adjusting.
The most shocking thing is, after a lifetime of weight loss being a holy grail, my first reaction was to hearing that number was “Oh NO!” Who am I without my total voluptuousness? My body is my edge. I mean, who is going to trust a girl that promotes body adoration if she herself doesn’t have a belly paunch? And what about my acts? I will no longer be making a political statement with my body, I’ll look like I’m just doing it to look pretty! And what about when I meet people and tell them what I do? With fat on my body I felt protected. Like, “yes I teach seduction and striptease to empower women, you got a problem with that?” Without that protection I felt like I would be judged as slutty, vapid, without substance. Just another skinny girl trying to make women conform to what the culture says their body should look like.
Then I heard a voice (inside my head): “Hey cutie! Knock, Knock! Who’s thinking these things? Them, or YOU?” It’s kind of funny and really humbling when you realize that after dedicating your life to women loving their bodies, you actually judge the living hell out of women with bodies that look more like the culture’s feminine ideal.
So this is my next life lesson. Learning to love my body at any weight. Even a lower one. Of course I enjoy feeling more comfortable in my clothes, feeling lighter and stronger and more connected to my body. But what I am working on right now is that I do not need my body to speak for me. My body is going to change and evolve with me throughout my whole life. I have a voice. I have a life I am living. I have thoughts, dreams and opinions to share. So as I go on being myself, let’s just let her be herself too.
You also have a voice, thoughts, and opinions, and I would love to hear them. Leave me a comment on loving bodies of all sizes, your experiences with changes in weight, or anything you
would like to share with me in the comments below.
And, if body love, body worship and body adoration is something you could use a leg-up with, join me for Seduction Is A Spiritual Practice, September 14th and 15th.