One of the main things dissuading me from stopping boxing was an overwhelming fear that I’d lose my hard-earned figure. I’ve only learned to be proud of my body, for the first time in my life, within the past 12 months and even at that, my relationship with my body is fractious at best. Yes, I am vain. Deal with it. Being proud of my body is VERY important to me.
I was aware that cutting the number of weekly intense workouts in half would have an impact on my body. I hoped that by continuing to lift very heavy things & do brutal circuits with Coach twice a week, I could maintain most of my muscle mass, and athletic shape. Sure, I anticipated that my body might change, and my overall fitness levels would drop, but I told myself that all the benefits of pursuing new activities, and developing the creative/artistic side to my personality that has been neglected for far too long would outweigh the physical downsides. Rationally, I still believe the trade-off to be worthwhile. Emotionally, however… I’m finding this hard. Its been a month since I stopped boxing. So far, by carefully adapting my dietary requirements, I have avoided putting on any weight. Work stress has acted as an unanticipated appetite suppressant. I’ve actually lost 5 lbs, without noticing any significant decrease in my strength and lifts. This is good news, yeah? Well…
Yesterday, at salsa, I looked good. Tight red pants, black high heels, fabulous top. I was feeling the music and ALMOST wiggling my hips. Until I noticed Beaut observing me with a perplexed air. “Vanilla… I think… I’m pretty sure… your butt shrank.” Impossible: since birth, I’ve been blessed with a lot of junk in my trunk. I am proud of the booté. I work hard for the booté to be perky and pleasant. “Ok, maybe I am wrong Vanilla, and it is just the cut of your pants… but nope. I’m pretty sure the space occupied by your bum has decreased.”
Y’all. Do you know how hard it is to dance salsa while peering into the mirror to see all possible angles of one’s posterior chain? I totally crashed into my partners, multiple times, because of my distracted, upset state.
During a break, I confided to Beaut that not only did I think he might be right, but that this had totally overset me. “Vanilla, what did you expect? You stopped training. Your body will change.” I admitted I had lost weight. “See, good! It shows! This is a good thing, right? You decreased your training, and have kept your weight under control! Nice.” Well, no, not if I am going to have a flat-ass! Consolingly, he reminded me that some men do like skinny bitches. #helpful
Later in class, our salsa teacher showed us an optional move where the guy lifts up his dance partner and spins her in the air. Beaut announced to the class that yeah, no, he would only be trying that with the wee tiny girls. Turning to me, “you’re way too stocky for me to lift you. Don’t even suggest it.” I gave him The Look. “Vanilla, you are 5’9”, and weigh at least 150lbs [I actually weigh 160lbs]. I’m not going to risk injuring myself! Be realistic here.” Beaut noticed my face redden with ill concealed rage (meanwhile, out of the corner of my eye, I could see Teacher watching our interaction with glee – all that was missing was a bucket of popcorn, and Teacher’s entertainment would have been complete), “Women! YOU ARE SO COMPLICATED. First you are upset that I noticed you lost weight and are slimmer and now you are upset that I said you are too heavy for this move. MAKE UP YOUR MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIND.”
I did make up my mind. I made up my mind to NOT chose him as my next dance partner. Hmph. But when we did dance together a few songs later, Beaut surprised me by attempting the move, which we executed with the grace and skill of two hippos dancing on pointe.
So yeah. I definitely reinforced every man’s knee-jerk reaction to tread very carefully whenever mentioning a woman’s weight. When it comes to navigating my body’s changes throughout this period of transition, Imma be THE female stereotype. #noshame #ridiculous