It’s All About That Body


You have likely already watched the music video for “All About That Bass”, I know it has been popping up in my facebook feed for over a month now. The beat is catchy, there is a musical reference to JT’s Sexyback in the middle, and the dancing/aesthetic is perfectly adorable. The message of the song is body-positive, and there is a refreshing mix of body types represented in the music video. So, really, what’s not to love? See below:

So why am I writing about it now? While most of the dialogue I have seen surrounding this clip is positive, there is a concerning thread that I have marked from time to time. Somehow, in the movement against photo-shopping and “thinspo”, a charge has been taken up by certain communities that women who are on the smaller end of the body scale are not “real women”. You’ve all seen and heard the phrase “real women have curves”.

As a plus-sized woman (and don’t even get me started on the fact that the designation “plus-size” exists and is something humans have to shop and live by) I can understand and appreciate how this saying may have gained popularity. I spent years (and still spend long moments) agonizing over my body and all of the ways it is not what it ought to be according to the messages I see and hear. However, no matter how genuine and empowering the intention, any time a proclamation is made that “real _________ equals __________”, the truth is that whatever population does not equal that blank is being marginalized. For example, look at what else popped up when I searched for that phrase on Pinterest:

[And don’t get me wrong, I love this model and have shared photos featuring her before. It’s the callous message some user slapped on that I find problematic].

Can you see how this messaging is equally problematic?

I have felt dis-empowered too many times by comparison to want to intentionally perpetrate that dynamic with anyone else. Rather than comparing ourselves to others in order to see what is lacking, why cannot we as humans support each other and recognize the beauty that lies within each of us?

I am not being trite or disingenuous or naive when I ask that question. From personal experience, I have found that in the few moments when I am truly able to drop my judgment and tallying up of individual little bits I am surprised by how beautiful I find everyone to be. Truly. And I’m not talking inner beauty or personality either. I am talking the (purely physical) inherent majesty and artistry imbued in the human body. In all human bodies. Try it.

How ridiculous is it that we judge our body types and shapes according to some arbitrary standard, when we have no control whatsoever over our bone structure? I will add, as well, that body and physical beauty standards differ dramatically by culture, geography, time period…(not even going to touch the sub-cultural influences of so-called gender identity and sexual orientation within all of those other parameters).

Let’s take a look at that music video again. While the verse includes the lyrics I find to be the most important, “Cause every inch of you is perfect/from the bottom to the top”, there are some other lines that are not quite so universally empowering. For instance, the chorus:

“Because you know I’m all about that bass/’bout that bass/’bout that bass/no treble”.

A clever play on musical terms, the bass references plus-sized women, but through other lyrics such as “boys they like a little more booty to hold at night” as well as the booty-grabbing that occurs in the video, it is clear that the “bass” refers also to booty. I’ll admit that as much as I love the song, the first time I watched the video I felt a little sting because of these lyrics. You see, I’ve got the teensiest little bass. I mean, I happen to think that my booty is perfectly adorable, but I have certainly never qualified as having “junk in my trunk”.

Isn’t that horrible? In this body-positive video, featuring a singer that has similar physical attributes to myself, one of the few things I focused on was the fact that I do not feel that I possess enough booty for men to “hold at night”.

(Again–not going to touch on the message of women as sexual objects either, that’s another post).

What is that?!

If I had let it (and have certainly done at times in the past), that tiny little moment could have been enough for me to spiral down the body-shame rabbit hole that leads to the “this-is-why-no-one-will-ever-love-me” oblivion, which in turn is absorbed and trapped by the wet blanket of perpetual self-repugnance.

Luckily, I instead chose to acknowledge the moment as my peculiar little friend, acknowledge its existence, and continue with nodding my head and finger-tapping along. (Thank you therapy).

I have a feeling that this experience is not unique. Indeed, the lyrics that directly proceed the message about body perfection highlight the universality of insecurities, “Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches Hey/No, I’m just playing, I know you think you’re fat”. While not all “skinny” women may think of themselves as fat, there are just as many body expectations and judgments happening on the other side of the spectrum as well–just take another look at the images pasted above.

To be completely clear, I am not saying that we should not be good custodians of our bodies and our health. I have blogged copiously on the subject of my health, my weight, and my body image journey. I am currently working on this area again, and not only have I lost 12 pounds in the last few months but I intend to lose more. What I would posit, however, is that not only are we all beautiful, but our beauty is unique and not dependent on our size. In other words, comparing one person’s beauty to another’s is the surest way to negate everyone’s.

And yes, there are times when beautiful is the furthest thing from what I feel.

You want to know what’s funny though?

As a sort of body experiment I’ve been taking some wardrobe risks lately. I decided that I was tired of waiting to wear what I want until I feel that I have carved out a body “worthy” of being shown. So, as a result, I have adopted something I am internally calling “Slightly Skanky Saturdays and Sundays”. All this movement entails is showing more skin than usual, but in a classy Emilie way. Slightly sheer shirts with a hint of bra showing through, short skirts without tights or leggings, and gracefully plunging necklines have all been a part of this experiment. My “racy” looks are likely not even a blip on most people’s wardrobe radars, but for me they have had a profound effect. The most marked instance of success during this experiment happened a few weekends ago when I wore an actual bikini to the actual beach. I frolicked in the waves, ran on the sand, and even had some photos taken to document the occurrence.

What I have found to be the most helpful about these experiments is not what I expected. Yes, I feel beautiful much more of the time now no matter what I am wearing. Yes, I feel empowered when wearing my slightly skanky ensembles. But honestly, the most powerful realization I have had was that I actually think about my body much, much less when I’m not worried about covering it up. That’s right. Instead of the non-stop inner narration I’ve been accustomed to that tracks every inch of clothing, every roll of fat sitting or standing, every slipping strap or seam alignment–instead I am experiencing a new form of freedom.

Do you have any idea how much more enjoyable life is when one layer of background tracking and judgment is removed, even for a moment or two? This is truly heady stuff.

Of course those scripts do not just disappear. After seeing the photo of myself in the full body bikini shot I had an immediate “well, I should do some core work” reaction and chose not to post the photo online. But then I moved on. And that moving on? That is a hugely important and monumental success for me.

As the internet continues to grow as a platform for education and liberation, I want to encourage intentional thought and inclusion versus comparison in our discussions surrounding beauty and body-image. I focus on my experience as a woman because that is what I know and what I have to offer, but I know that body messages and insecurities are not constrained by so-called gender roles. Tragically, they are the demesne of all humans.

Rather than parrot “It’s All About That Bass” as an example of us versus them, I hope all-sized humans can enjoy it as a fun, and meaningful, jam.

And if anyone has a lead on that mint-green hot-pant body suit please send my way–my teensy bass and I would rock it.

Sincerely,

Emilie

 

 

 

 

 

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Hello, Beautiful!


You all know that I’ve been through a bit of a roller coaster physically, mentally, and emotionally. I went from thinking I was fat when I was sleek, to overindulging and not noticing when I became grossly overweight, to working hard and finding that healthy middle ground. While completely satisfied with my current weight and appearance, I have still been laboring to become trim and slim, with very little effect. I look great, but my efforts to bump off that last ten to forty pounds has not been successful.

You know what? I am so over it.

I am tired of trying to change my body. I am tired of feeling like I’m just not quite there, or that my accomplishments aren’t good enough.

I am done trying to be smaller.

I am not done with exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy BMI, and eating well, but I am done with that hideous business of always having a smaller goal. So what if I am a size 12? So what if I stay a size 12 forever?

I’m hot!

My whole life (excluding, of course, those troll-like middle school years) I have had people tell me I was beautiful. Men, women, children, they all said the nicest things. The sad part? I never, ever believed them.

My friends know that I have an addiction to my reflection. When I pass by a mirror, a window, a recently-shined countertop, I cannot help but to examine myself. To see my body positioning, my facial expressions (after all I have to know how I look onstage!), and to critique. For years all I saw were flaws. Now? All I see is beauty.

I obviously have those moments of regret and self doubt, where I wish my neck were longer or belly flatter or rib cage less wide but I recognize these moments as what they are, weakness, and I can see past them to who I really am. I am not saying that if more weight loss came as a result of respectable exercise I would flip out, but I am saying that that is no longer my goal.

I am here today to tell you that I finally believe. I finally feel, even on my frumpiest days, somewhat beautiful and confident and powerful and sexy and intelligent and like the force to be reckoned with that I am.

I declare, for now and evermore, an end to this frightening and exhausting business of a “skinny campaign”. I choose happiness.

I will not deny some chocolate or a lazy day or midnight breakfast sausage, because I have reached a place where these silly but happy-making choices are tempered with smart healthy-making choices. Instead of being ruled by a culture of “no, no, no” I will now embrace a lifestyle of “yes, yes, yes”.

Yes to freedom, yes to running and lifting weights and jazzercising and dance and leafy greens like kale and spinach and less meat and more core workouts because they make me happy not because they make me different.

Goodbye, unhappy and “never good enough” Emilie.

Hello, ecstatic, sexy, goddess-like, roman statue stunning, free-willed and strong-willed, intelligent, wise beyond her years, self-sufficient, healthy, and sustainable Emilie.

Today is the day I declare war on my previous campaign and instead embrace a lifestyle of respecting and loving the body that I have and the person that I am.

Sincerely,

Emilie

Eating and Working My Way to a Size 8 in 2012


I’ve written about falling into an exercise plateau, I’ve written about discovering (or, finally, giving in) to Jazzercise, and I most recently wrote about beginning to run. I have been honest in my struggles, in my inspirations, and in my battle for self esteem. I thought that I had learned how to motivate myself, how to keep myself fit, and how to eat well so that I feel well.

Then, I came up against an enemy far more formidable than I had been prepared to face: an office job in the winter in the Pacific Northwest. Eight hours of sitting a day (when I am not out traveling) combined with the windy cold and interminable grey of December in Western Washington has become the largest detriment to my health since Sophomore year of college. I have somehow miraculously avoided putting on weight, but I feel terribly squishy, lacking in energy, and physically unhappy. I am tapped out, and by the time I get home at night all I want to do is watch Netflix, take a bath, and go to bed.

This past week (and upcoming one) are especially painful, because while I have been in town I haven’t been able to Jazzercise because I have had to and still have to stay late at work to call students and find out if they really want to apply to Saint Martin’s.

I have decided (and I know I talk a lot, but I mean it!) to rebel against this festering seasonal slobbery and am going to make it to size 8 by the end of 2012. There is no reason why I cannot reach my ultimate goal this year, and stay there. This is not a resolution, I am forever failing at resolutions. Rather, it is a promise.

This health journey has been eye-opening, especially in view of the recent failures. I need inspiration, motivation, and accountability.

With my job I have free access to a wonderful gym, literally a five minute walk from my office door if I am wearing heels. I have not taken advantage of this since summer–I will no longer waste this luxury. I have an hour lunch break that I often spend lazing around, traveling from store to store listlessly trying to fulfill my yearning for something more by making purchases I could probably survive without. I will make an effort to spend at least half of my lunch breaks working out.

I’ve also done something a little reckless and out of character–I have agreed to play on the Staff Intramural Basketball team. They needed women, I needed structured exercise, and I think it will be a really fun way to hang out with colleagues and make a fool of myself. I should probably start studying up on the rules of Basketball….back when I was a Drum Major I could tell when to yell “offense” or “defense” and when a time out or quarter was coming up so that I could start a song, but I think I have since then pretty effectively wiped the rules of the game from my memory if I ever knew them.

In the search for workout inspiration, I was exposed to two magazines yesterday (at a Cookie party, nonetheless) that I am hoping will be a good reminder for me that I am not alone. I subscribed to two years of Clean Eating, and I am going to try out a digital subscription to Oxygen for a while. The first is chock-full of clean and devastatingly delicious looking recipes, and the second seems to be written for female competitive body-builders but has information for women at levels of health and fitness. While browsing Oxygen’s website to see if I was really interested, I came across a very helpful tip: once in a while I ought to reward myself for doing well, but with something other than food. Interesting! I know that all of the literature in the world cannot give me the will to work out, only I can, but as a visual learner I will find the reminder to be most helpful.

I don’t feel particularly bad that my slipping has hit the heaviest during the holiday season, I actually find it rather comically cliché. I am not upset with myself, but I can feel the difference physically and mentally. As another visual cue, and a source of encouragement, I am going to print out a picture of myself at my heaviest weight, and hang it next to a picture of where I am at now by my mirror. This will be a reminder of where I never want to return, and of how much I can accomplish when I, as the maker of my new running shoes would recommend, “just do it”.

Sincerely,

Emilie

P.S. Thanks to the two “S”s for recommending the mags.

P.P.S. Thanks to Y for Jazzercise.

P.P.P.S. Thanks to A and K for constantly recommending running, even if it took me years to believe you.

and finally, skipping the P’s and the S’s, a funny article in the New York times about how technology is ruining common plot devices.

How the 2011 Summer Martha-Approved Exercise Plan is Going to Help Me lose 30 More Pounds:


Martha Stewart may be my greatest female role model.

I love her more than Meryl, which is quite shocking to think of loving anyone more than I love Meryl.

I haven’t always been this way, there was a dark time in my past (I shudder to recall) when Martha and I were enemies. I misunderstood what the Homemaking Queen was all about, and mis-labeled her as a fraud. I thought that she cheated by using ideas made by other people and then branding them with her name. Several years ago I was given her house-keeping handbook by my mother (long before it was relevant to me) and liked Martha even less for enabling the giving of such an odious Christmas non-present.

Then something beautiful happened–Martha went to prison for insider trading.

Now, I realize that this may have been a negative turning point for some Martha-lovers but for me, an avid Martha despiser, it was an epiphany. Martha Stewart was, and is, a visionary–she recognized that women (and men) deserve and desire confidence and elegance in their homes, but were clueless as to the “how”. Ideas were around but scattered, and Martha gathered them together (as well as offering some herself) and made them easy, user-friendly, and extremely aesthetically pleasing. Martha liberated home-making and made it kosher for the liberated woman to participate in, freeing the remnants of “crafting/baking/cleaning is anti-feminist” clutter from the minds of powerful women. Martha is a savvy businesswoman, promotes healthy body image, and a satisfyingly constant breeze of fresh, albeit somewhat cleaner and sparklier, air.  When Martha got locked up, rather than resting on her laurels or spending all of her time and energy trying to lie and hide, Martha took the opportunity to spread some of her signature magic to the lives of her fellow inmates. This made me respect her. Martha’s conviction made me a convert.

Ever since then I’ve delightedly perused the pages of my housekeeping bible, determined to embroider month labels for my mattress so I know when to rotate it and resolving to clean up everyday. (Something which worked well for a week until I took a break and bang–a mess appeared! I’ve swiftly started again.) I check her website(s) frequently, and have spent many an hour following link after link that have helped me to better my living.

The reason for this gushing Martha endorsement is that I have been having some trouble lately with my Healthy Me Campaign. Yes, faithful readers, I hit a genuine slump. You all know that I took a break from serious exercise for finals, and afterward it was hard to begin again. I re-started up daily exercise, green smoothies, and calorie tracking recently (and was sticking to it–minus theatre/theater outings) but somehow the same old plan wasn’t quite as shiny as it was before. Effective, certainly–the original plan helped me lose thirty pounds. But this time, I wasn’t enthused. Also, because of graduation my workout buddy can no longer come to the school rec center, whereas I can because I am working on campus. Sadly, it isn’t very much fun to do machine weight training on my own without the conversation to spur me forward. In other words–last year’s plan is now boring.

I want to lose another 30 pounds, but I can tell you right now that I wasn’t going to make it if I stuck with the same old routine, especially on my own. I decided to start google-ing. I wanted something that incorporated weight training and cardio, preferably something I could do a lot of at home, so I could use the rec center mostly for cardio and then beat the traffic rush home to continue there with very loud music.

Martha Stewart (via WholeLiving) to the effervescent rescue!

I followed a link on Martha Stewart Living to the WholeLiving website, and this delightful (and beautifully photographed) amalgamation of yoga, pilates, and weight training popped up with focus on different areas of the body. I was sold. The website has cool healthy me tips and worksheets, tools, skin tips, exercise tips, and a whole lot more in exemplary Martha presentation. I highly recommend checking it out if you are looking for something to do. The only thing I didn’t like was that I had to click to different photo galleries for the different break-ups of exercises, but I compiled it all in a Word document for myself. A lot of the stuff I was already doing, and doing more of, so I’ve modified the routines a little. It does have a fresh new feel, and Martha endorses this, so I’m sold. I’m also excited. I can do all of this at home, and Martha can smile down on me from above. (Or from the East Coast. Wherever.)

Just as a comparison, here is my old exercise routine, Jakercise (named after its creator):

And here is my new routine, thanks to the gracious Martha and her faery-like minions:

I’ve already purchased my tennis ball and I am ready to begin tomorrow.

Sincerely,

a re-animated health-seeking

Emilie

P.S. I am going to be doing a weekly poll from now on. Please vote on it. Really, it’s not that hard to look at the right hand of your screen and click a button. I see my blog stats–I know you’re out there.

Essentially Three Months


Classes will be all over in essentially three months.

Some days this seems to be far too far away.

Then I remember…oh, that’s really soon!

I got in the graduating mood today, when my official Chickasaw Nation High Honors stole arrived in the mail. I have to get it approved by the graduation committee (whoever they are) but I’m really stoked.

Yes, those are real feathers.

Be jealous.

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I’ve embarked on a 21-day guided meditation challenge, and so far its been delightful. I missed the links to the first couple so had to double up on two days in order to catch up, but now I am right on track. This has come at the perfect time; I’ve been struggling a lot for peace the past week or so.

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I’ve started writing down my dreams. I keep a spiral right next to my bed, and immediately upon awakening I write my dreams down. May I just say, my dreams are incredibly vivid and they continue to get more so? Sometimes I wake up disoriented because everything seems so real when I am sleeping. Two days ago it took me a half hour to write everything down. I may need to adjust my wake time accordingly. I shudder to do this as I already get up at 6am every day anyway.

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The oral surgeon at the follow-up appointment said, “Oh, they’re healing really well”   “Good patient!”  “Keep rinsing” “I don’t need to see you again, goodbye.” That was all he said.

—————-

I am really in love with my vocal music this semester.

For NATS I will be performing:

Classical—Amorosi Miei Giorni, A Cantar A Una Nina, Where Corals Lie

Musical Theatre–But Not For Me (Girl Crazy), Getting to Know You (King & I), Last Midnight (Into The Woods–my all time favorite song in my all time favorite musical)

(P.S. I’m starting to sound pretty good!

P.P.S. I’m going to have a blast as Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus)

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The antibiotics I was on were messing with my digestive system and made me gain a little bit of weight suddenly. Now that they are done (why did I have to take sooo many?) things are finally returning to normal (thank goodness!) and I am starting to look my new normal again.

Click Here for an update to my Healthy Me page where I show you the progress I have made on the weight loss road.

Of course, I’ve still a ways to go, but I am quite proud of what I have done so far. Slow and steady makes for permanent loss.

 

I’d be tickled pink if you had a lovely evening, on me.

Namaste.

Sincerely,

Emilie

Changes (Not the Butcher Novel)


Although wasn’t the ending to that book so delightfully cruel?

 

As I have been growing this year into myself, I’ve also been changing. I am surprised everyday at the little things I learn about myself, and about the woman I am becoming.

Some of the changes:

1–PEACE: It had been so long, I’d almost forgotten what that was like. I’m talking deep, in the bottom of my soul, underneath the surface peace. Like a vast body of water, my outside can get a little ruffled but my inside is still.

2–CONFIDENCE/PURPOSE: I have a feeling that these two might be related to the first item. Again, for the first time in about six years, I am feeling confident in myself and in my life-direction. I may not know all the steps, but I can tell that the general direction is healthy and beautiful and bigger than I ever dared to imagine before. (Insert chorus to a certain Jay-Z feat: Alicia Keyes song here)

3–TASTE BUDS: I like vegetables. I enjoyed a slice of pumpkin pie. I (dare I say it?) don’t actually hate cheesecake anymore. I cannot tolerate nearly as much sugar, and my portion sizes are much better. I even enjoy being…healthy!

4–ASSERTION: I have been coaching the ever-lovely Y on how to stand up for herself, and giving her ample opportunity to do so as my wonderful one-liners are not that funny when they are delivered over and over to the same person. (I am so sorry, I am trying to improve, I swear!) The funny thing about this, is that up until very recently, I was the pushover. I said yes to everything and everyone, and I was always the one capitulating in order to smooth over the situation. Then I went through that phase of quitting things, which led to me loving “NO”. Now, I guess I have improved so much in this area that I am helping others 🙂

5–CONTENT: While the very well-placed “that’s what she said” or frequent round of “FMK” still make me laugh, I’m finding my sense of humor to be restoring itself to its former, more mature levels. I think I have gotten over my delayed “high-school mentality”. I was rather lofty of mind in high school, so I reverted a few years when I got to college. I think my sensibilities are resurfacing due to over-exposure. Sure, I can appreciate a bawdy joke here and there, but the inundation of being on a college campus is becoming a tad tiresome.

6–HOPE: As I am sure you could tell, I had been despondent for quite some time, refusing to believe that I could be successful or happy, or even have a purpose. I am SO over that. Hello potential, I’m so happy you’re taking the time to emerge!

7–JOI DE VIVRE: It’s back, and it is not leaving. (Also, I had forgotten for a while, but it is the little things!)

8–FASHION: My look has always been mostly polished, with a zany Emilie twist. Now, however, I have come to the conclusion that buying casual clothing is not a good idea, as I simply refuse to wear it. I’ve embraced shorter hemlines and lower necklines, but my sense of taste is, I think, still classy and not trashy. Now that I have a skinnier bod, I am going to dress to flatter it, but not to hide it. After all, I have a reputation to keep up, as according to the flowering compliment giver, G-Force, I am the best dressed girl at SMU.

9–EXERCISE MIND/BODY: This one came with practice and vegetables…but I have to admit that I love going to the gym. I am now one of those girls who loves to do cardio, lift weights, dance, walk, dust off the yoga mat, and then finish up with a green smoothie and a copy of Eat, Pray, Love. I never saw that one coming…

 

I am growing up, I am growing strong, and I am growing happy.

 

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The first week of Grease went very well personally, and I think it is a fun show! Thanks to all of you who came to support me!

To those of you who haven’t made it to Grease, I would like to encourage you to do so.

The show runs next Thursday, Friday, and Sunday at 8pm and next Sunday at 2pm. (The Sunday evening performance is pay-what-you-will due to its sing-along nature).

 

 

Have a calm, restful, and beautiful evening.

Dream True.

Sincerely,

Emilie

It’s Good to be an Emilie


If you don’t believe me, let me share a few reasons why the FFF have been rather kind lately and why my mantra “Everyone gets exactly what they need exactly when they need it” has proven again and again to be appropriate.

1–My University is putting on Grease the Musical.


I was cast as Rizzo!

I am extremely excited; two songs, fun lines, and described in the script as “skinny and unconventionally beautiful”. The show will be the weekends of November 11-21, if you haven’t yet seen one of my shows this would be a wonderful opportunity to attend.

2–My cape was successfully sewn, and I love it. Most other people love it too. I need to put up a picture of it soon.

3–I am looking hot. This whole workout thing=genius.

Time for another one of Emilie’s excellent lectures:

If you are serious about performing, you need to know that diet and exercise (being healthy and fit) are just as important as vocal and acting exercise. If you want the character roles, you can be only 50 pounds overweight (no more and no less) but you still have to be physically fit. (The last coming from several industry professionals giving a panel I had the opportunity to sit in on.) If you want to play any other role, you cannot be overweight. More than this–you have to be physically fit. Having a healthy body improves singing, and it is important to make these positive life changes now. This lovely woman in Salt Lake summed it up quite nicely, “If you cannot lose weight and become healthy in college, you [probably] never will”.   *I added the “probably”.

For the longest time I hid behind excuses on why I didn’t work out, and I was the only one who could motivate myself to change. I was in denial for years, and horrified when I finally recognized how much weight I had allowed myself to gain. I began to realize that I would never have much opportunity to be cast if I continued to stay in the atrocious state I had reached, and it has only been with serious hard work that I have reached the new, healthier, stage of my life. I am still about 40 pounds from my goal weight, but I know that with continued diligence I will be able to reach the optimum health for my body, without taking dangerous shortcuts or causing new problems.

Lately I have run into many many people who compliment me enthusiastically on the way I now look, groan about their current state, and then ask what magical secret I have. They all seem to be rather disappointed when I let them know that there is no secret…just hard work. One and all they walk away depressed, resigning themselves to remain at their current weight because they do not want to put in the work.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again: From all of the research I have done, I know that permanent weight loss is slow. It can be frustrating. It can be painful. But it can also be successful. Fad diets and exercise binging are just that–fads. They work for a while and then either burn you out or stop working and you are back where you started.

For all of you who are curious as to what I have been doing (and will continue to be doing) I have put up a new page called “A Healthy Me Campaign“. I am in the process of finishing it, but when it is complete it will hold many different things.

A: A meter measuring my weight loss. Is it a little scary letting the whole world know where I am at? Yes. But I am also proud of my progress and I want to celebrate it. I also believe that this is a way to keep myself accountable.

B: Pictures. Ugh. These pictures will chronicle my weight loss journey, and I will hold nothing back.No matter how much they make me shudder.

C: The IE & Y Exercise Plan. (formerly titled “Jakercise”) If you are looking to start a workout routine but do not know what to do, here is a great plan. It’s been effective for me, and caters to all different levels of physical fitness.

D: Other. I will include updates, words of encouragement, breakthroughs, healthy recipes, tips, and anecdotes.

Back to reasons why I love being me:

4–In Music History we were studying Gregorian Chant the other day. We had three actual monks (who chant every day) come into class and demonstrate, and then invite us to participate. Where else would this sort of thing be possible? And what could be a more lovely way to study?

5–I am back in piano lessons. Even though I have to sacrifice my beautiful nails to the Spirit of the Keys on a weekly basis, I consider it a fair trade for the abilities that are slowly coming back to me. Quitting piano lessons has been one of my biggest regrets (although at the time it was undoubtedly what I needed.)

6–One of my bosses in Admissions recently moved on to a new position and before she left she assured me that I could email her at any time for a reference. I feel so thankful that I am largely respected by the various adults in my life.

7–I am learning how to say “No”. Or perhaps I’m past that point? I’m excited, I’m reveling, I’m rejoicing in the ability to say “No”. You want to know what is better than saying “No?” Saying “I Quit!” I’m on quite the roll…It all started when I quit Residence Life, then I quit being “in charge” of Theatre Workshop, and then most recently I quit Student Liturgy choir. All of these things were wonderful when they were in my life, but I have reached a point where I needed to move past them. As a part of becoming “healthy” I am trying to learn balance in all aspects. My entire life I have been a “doer” and a “fixer” who signs up for everything because I thought it was my duty.

After a kind of disastrous year last year I had the realization (although those wonderful voices around me had seen this long before me, and I thank them for their patience in waiting for me to come to the same conclusion) that many of the things I had been doing were based on Ego and were taking a serious toll on my success. So I am trying not to sign up for anything new this year (although I am in the advanced choir, so that is new but I traded Student Lit for it), and to really reevaluate everything I am doing. I know now that it is very important that I set aside ME time every week, schedule in both practice and exercise times just as seriously as work and classes, and to realize that I don’t owe my friends anything. I like to spend time with friends but I have to pick and choose very carefully which social things will be uplifting and rejuvenating, and which will be draining or not as important as other things.

Every time I let out a “no” I get this little surge of excitement, which eventually leads to me joyously shouting while hopped up on endorphins from exercising, “NO NO NO NO! I said NO!” (as my workout partner, Emily, will tell you.)

So if I tell you “no” don’t take it personally, it is just another segment of my journey.

I hope that you are loving being yourself, because I definitely am! (Most of the time.)

Have a lovely, healthy, balanced, and cheerful evening!

Sincerely,

Emilie

Just around the semester’s end


Changing changing, my life is all about change lately.

And it’s weird.

And I like it.

And it’s unsettling.

And I hate it.

Next year I will be commuting from Shelton for my final year of college.

I only have one year of undergrad left–and then it is on to the rest of my life.

I am changing as a person. Growing stronger, growing weaker, discarding that which is unhealthy.

I am growing as a musician, and although my journey seems to be strewn with obstructions (rocks in the road of life) I am slowly and meticulously working my way through them. Painfully. But meticulously.

I am changing and being challenged in my faith. I have not lost it by any means, but I am definitely separating the trappings of Evangelical Christianity from having a faith and belief in God.

I am coming to terms with the fact that I’ve got issues.

I am coming to terms with the fact that it is ok that I have issues, and that everybody else has them too!

My whole life I have tried to hide my flaws, put on my “performance face” and act as if everything is a-ok.

It is very frightening for me to drop that facade and acknowledge that things are pretty messed up but it is something that I need to do.

How can things change if I refuse to admit that something is wrong?

Goals:

1–Learn how to clear out my sinuses by tipping my head forward and shooting salt water through my nose

2–Design a dress and make it

3–Stop agreeing to do things because I ought to, but do them because I want to. This isn’t me being selfish, this is me trying to keep myself mentally and physically healthy.

Sincerely.

Emilie