Do I Belong in the Body Positive Community?

In the body positivity world, I often hear self love adages like “love your cellulite” and “eat what you want.”  I love these and have since added my own affirmations to the list:

  • Eat what feels good (like pizza for breakfast!).
  • Relax and release my stomach, taking up the space I deserve.
  • Release food from being the enemy; instead thank it for nourishing me.

I love these affirmations and strive to live by them every day. But these sayings are dominant in the bopo community, while other things I enjoy feel wrong to mention — outlier affirmations I haven’t found space for.

These are happy-moment tickets like:

  • Splurge on the pre-made salad: I love it plus it spares me from cooking.
  • Be bold and beat yesterday’s spin class PR.
  • Get curious around recipes, replacing applesauce for eggs and almond flour for all-purpose, to make them more filling and satisfying.

I love vegetables, I love my dairy-free zucchini bread, and I love to sweat. But I also love my stomach rolls (#feedthepooch!) and am a student of intuitive eating (eating as I please, without assigning value to foods).

So where do these pleasures fall? Are they invisible peripheral dwellers that no one talks about? Or worse, are they outside of the body positivity world and counter-productive to its efforts?

I have chosen to make them a part of my body positive world. I shout for inclusion of these happy-moment tickets and simultaneously make sure I’m shouting loud for inclusion of all bodies: for mine, for a friend’s, for the oppressed’s, and for the underrepresented’s. There is no difference or value attributed to eating a salad versus eating a cake, just like there are no good bodies and no bad bodies.

I refuse to think I need to act, eat, or be a certain way to join the body positivity movement. In my opinion, doing so would degrade the body positivity movement to match the dangerous exclusivity of today’s whitewashed “wellness” clique (where anyone who doesn’t juice cleanse and can’t meditate for 30 minutes on a white sand beach need not apply).

Body positivity does not mean I change what I genuinely enjoy: it means loving myself regardless of size, shouting loudly in support of all bodies, and creating more spaces where bodies can be loved, not judged.

Wellness Today: Women! Stop Saying “Sorry”

I consider myself a feminist. I consider myself a strong woman. I consider myself a person who has learned to not let others trample on her. That’s why a piece of feedback from a colleague today really shook me. It was one of the most intentional pieces of feedback I’ve ever received: she had obviously thought about the phrasing of it. Stop apologizing for setbacks or issues, especially those that are out of your control, she wrote. I thought of all the times I had probably apologized when aspects of our project didn’t work out. I can’t specifically recall having apologized, but I believe it.

Around friends, I am more aware. Around likeminded women, I keep my “sorry’s” to myself. But put me in a room where I am out of my element and likely intimidated, and I begin to apologize.

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It has been debated whether encouraging women to stop apologizing is actually shameful in and of itself. Although there is a linguistic argument, I think the most personally compelling part of this argument is that setting parameters around what women should and should not say is stifling. That said, I am still of the mindset that I need to stop apologizing.

When I apologize, others just hear an “I’m sorry.” Whether or not I register as inferior to them at that moment is not the issue. The real issue with apologizing without warrant is that it constructs the belief that I am inferior: that I have failed and I was not worthy of the challenge presented. With every apology, I carve the belief that I am less-than deeper within my psyche.

The real issue with apologizing without warrant is that it constructs the belief that I am inferior: that I have failed and I was not worthy of the challenge presented.

I don’t want to doubt my badass self. I don’t want to wake up one morning realizing I’ve apologized myself into a self-deprecating, self-depreciating hole. If I’ve learned one thing on this journey of reinterpreting wellness, it’s that wellness wholly depends on self worth. I won’t shame myself when I apologize, but I will be intentional about categorizing impersonal changes/issues/setbacks as just that — and not accrue the blame myself by implementing the s-word.

La Primera Cita {& otros encuentros}

Yesterday, I went on my first date with an Argentinian. It was exciting! We had met at a boliche, called Makena on Thursday. I was there because my friend’s band was one of three playing that night. The music was a mix of rock and ska, and all were SO good. I was jumping up and down with all my friends, when he asked me to dance, and then later asked for my number to take me on a date.

I had no expectations that he would actually call… well, he called! So at 1900 we met close to my apartment, walked around Palermo, and then went to this Venezuelan restaurant called Caracas. I found and posted some photos below of the place, because it was so pretty/lively/funky.

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He studied something similar to me at University of Buenos Aires, and now works for the Congreso here. We talked mostly in spanish, but he had studied english so (whenever I needed help), we switched over.

Probably the best part of the date was me trying to explain Eggs Benedict to him. He had asked me what my favorite thing to cook was, and I replied Huevos Benedicto and then proceeded to try to explain it to him. First of all, he had no idea what a poached egg was, and my explanation of a cracked egg, boiled in water, then finished with a white film over the entire thing, apparently didn’t sound very appetizing. It got worse when I tried explaining why you can’t let the sauce sit out because it’s made with raw egg.

….but hey, I think I got out of cooking for him, ever. It was the best date I’ve been on, and I can’t wait to hang out again!

While I’m at it describing first encounters and such, I’d like to introduce you to some other amazing people I’ve met here!

Meeting & playing with street musicians on our 1st day in BA

There’s a lot of musicians in my program, since half of the courses you can take are music studies (“From Tango to Techno”). Each musician is so talented. There’s an opera singer, a rapper, a guitar player (Chrisman, pictured above. I videotaped his whole collaboration with the street artists, but the file’s too large to post here), and an ethnomusicology student.

Nacho giving besos to his owner

This man was born in San Francisco, but moved to Buenos Aires decades ago to inherit Nacho, his horse, from his grandfather. He’s married to an Argentinian woman and works daily giving carriage rides throughout the city, but still carries SF with him (literally, he has a tattoo on his upper arm of the Golden Gate bridge).  Nacho was the cutest thing!

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I was matched perfectly with my roommates. From left to right in the picture above, it’s me, Sarah, and Tania. We’re all from UC Davis, and roughly the same age. We get along so well, like the same things, but are still different enough to expose eachother to new experiences.

Performances in Plaza Serrano

At lunch on the first day, we met this deaf/mute magician in Plaza Serrano. Josh, a UCD student in our group, volunteered to be the magician’s subject and stood there as he stabbed him with a burning cigarette (but didn’t even leave a mark).

el grupo

Pictured above is Paul, Sarah, Alex, Sabrina, & Joey during our stroll around “El jardín de las poemas” in the Parque del Palermo (or just, Palermo, as my date said porteños call it). We’ve gone on a lot of adventures juntos and I’ve enjoyed every second!

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Oh, and that’s my really attractive friend, Joey. Argentinianssss, hollaaaaa at him!

We’re off to the San Telmo markets now! {I’m on the hunt for some linen pants to bring back to Maxine} And later today, there’s a bike extravaganza and we’re gonna rent bikes and pedal them around El Centro. Lots of pictures to come  ~besos~

Meet The Gawkers {Part I}

Preface: Buenos Aires is the city that sucks you in. You’ll come to visit, and never leave. Yet if you come wanting something, you’ll most likely leave without having attained it. You want love? You’ll get dated, duped, and dumped. You want to work abroad? You’ll get so frustrated with Buenos Aires bureaucra-crazy that nothing will come of it. You want kids? You’ll get put in handcuffs right as your kidnapping that cute Argentine toddler off the Subte. However, the city will always, always, ALWAYS give you what you need.  While laying in a hospital bed in Peru, I asked myself, where do I want to BE? The answer: Buenos Aires {or Chipotle, but that was less feasible}. Read More »