Lessons in body positivity from an unexpected source

Last week I was very sick courtesy some cute lil germies in my tum courtesy my cute lil nieces and nephews who had the same lil germies in their tums the week before.

It sucked. Especially since I had spent the week before that with a head cold. Sick and tired of being sick and tired, or something like that.

As I lay nausea-stricken on a bed of applesauce-soaked crackers and a mountainous pile of unread emails, I considered how sick I’ve gotten this past year. It feels like it’s been more frequent than ever before? Is that right? Is my immune system caving? Or am I just paying more attention to my body than ever before? Both?

That, of course, rendered me helpless to do nothing but steer down a rabbit hole toward the dimly lit Hall of Fame Of All My Other Major Sicknesses. My 32nd birthday is this week and, with that time marker in sight, I remembered the stomach flu I had had a week before my 29th birthday.

Aw, poor poopy birthday girl!

Between bathroom bouts I made promises to my body to take better care of it as soon as it felt better. I acknowledged my sins against it and recognized that though I don’t put it through the ringer anymore with alcohol, I still fall into some traps that are the opposite of that totally-having-a-moment”idea of self-care, which is ultimately all about slowing down to take better care of your mind and, thus, body.

For example, I don’t eat well and sometimes I don’t eat at all. I’ll get so focused on a task I forget to eat. Or I’ll be weird about what to eat — because I’m trying to be either a) healthier, ironically enough, or b) a guilt-ridden veg and not a health-positive one. And when that happens, I don’t get enough calories that a body I’m making go-go-go all the time needs. I follow the same extreme patterns with sleep. It’s a deadly combination. Or, well, one that leaves me, I think, more vulnerable to catching any cool ass looking germs that fly my way.

This meme making the rounds is too real.


At one point in my sickness boredom last week (you can only spend so much time on Pinterest), I started combing through body positivity apps, of which there seem to be about two, to download on to my phone.

I’ve never gotten too into the body positivity movements. Not because I don’t care. It’s just that one only has so many hours in a day.

But if there’s anything I’ve learned in sober recovery, it’s that help can come from the strangest sources and you have to just go with it. I used to listen to motivational speeches for weight lifters to get myself in a good headspace to go to a brunch sober. Ha!

All these things are tools and, like a castaway trying to make it on a lonely island, you gotta use that shit in whatever way you need to survive. Start thinking of your phone as your Wilson Volleyball, ya dig?

“Stop crying and take some Pepto, biatch!”

I downloaded the free Rise Up app, which is for self-monitoring eating disorder recovery. I know I don’t have an eating disorder, but Rise Up is more about offering friendly reminders to check in with yourself and how you’re thinking about food. I just want to make sure I eat breakfast more often instead of waiting until 2 pm to finally eat something–and Rise Up’s meal tracking helps me do that. The app’s “911” and stress management tools have actually been super helpful as I get nicotine cravings.

I love how technology has made independent recovery like this possible. You can cobble together tools from all over the place, for whatever it is you’re struggling with, from big problems to tiny-tummy-flu-induced self-awareness about something you’d finally like to address.

And the more you do that hodgepodging of skill sets, the more likely you are to find positive coping techniques in the strangest places.

Like… the wrestling ring…

Swoggle vs. Craig Mitchell!

I love watching Chicago’s Freelance Wrestling matches. It’s like watching sweaty, sophisticated choreography but with a lot of grunting and cool intro music. We went to Saturday’s event in Logan Square Auditorium and it didn’t disappoint.

I’m not naïve enough to think that any industry based in physicality, especially pro wrestling, isn’t without pressures to conform to a certain body standard. But there’s certainly some atypical beauty about something that’s part theater, part sport — it just wouldn’t be as fun if everyone looked the same.

The Freelance lineup last weekend included bodies of all shapes, sizes, abilities and genders. Watching Gregory Allen, AKA Iron Curtain, AKA an awesome wrestler who also has cerebral palsy, dominate in the ring was magic. Cleveland, Ohio, represent!

But the best part is that they’re all running around in their skivvies. And if not their skivvies, super tight pants, brah. It’s excellent eye candy, sure, but I appreciate that so many bodies are on full display, in all their glory, without that being the main issue.

We didn’t have to take a moment to pause about how brave some of them were being for bearing all nearly 300 pounds of themselves. We paused for how brave they were for willingly flippity-belly-flopping onto a hard surface.

The main issue is some made up, stupidly delicious story line. (And, for fair-weathered fans like me, if Stevie Fierce is wearing a shirt or not.)

And that’s it.

In wrestling, the body love doesn’t necessarily rely on what that body looks like. It matters what it can do.

And how strong it can handle the blows thrown at it.

Now there’s a lesson, punks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.