Monday, August 31, 2015

Unbothered Day 31: Use The Body You Brought With You

I can take the stairs 10 times a day, and it would be none of your business ALL 10 times.

Indiana University has a Stair Well initiative.  On their website, they list the health, environmental, and social benefits of choosing to climb stairs over taking the elevator.  I posted this picture on Facebook and remarked that this is an example of fatphobia meeting ableism.  By telling someone riding an elevator that they should consider taking the stairs (ps: who asked you?) because they will then be living their best selves assumes a few things:  

  • Everyone can climb stairs.
  • People ride elevators because they don't want to climb stairs.
  • Climbing stairs is a good way to "move more."
  • "Moving more" is how you "live your best you."
  • We elevator riders want (and need) to know how you feel.  

News flash!  There are plenty of reasons why someone would choose an elevator over stairs, and none of them have anything to do with their desire to live their best selves.  I work at the University of New Hampshire in 2 buildings that do not have elevators.  Because these spaces are inaccessible, all my students cannot visit my office or participate in university events.  This means that I make appointments with them in other locations. When people are unable to navigate stairs due to any of the reasons that can make stairs inaccessible, we are left to scramble and find solutions.  This blatant ableism keeps members of the university community from fully engaging with one another.

Perhaps we need signs that say "Have you considered installing an elevator?"  Live your best you, UNH!  *eyeroll*

As a way to close out the Unbothered series, I want to take this discussion a little deeper and connect it to the project of making health and fitness goals. 

On any given day, with any activity, use the body you brought with you.

There is an elevator at my 2-story gym, and I'm quick to use it.  You might be surprised at how many people get on the elevator and immediately apologize and offer explanations for being on it.  Girl, I don't care!  I'm not the elevator patrol.  Truth be told you're probably interrupting my daydreams and/or breakfast planning.  Most importantly, it violates one of my favorite rules, "Chile, who asked you?"  If you need to use the elevator, use it.  You don't have to explain yourself to a stranger.  I ain't nobody!

I like to use the elevator on days when my knees are feeling extra stiff.  I like to use it when I'm finishing up a text or an email.  I like to use it when I see somebody near the stairs that I don't feel like talking to.  I like to use it because I worry that they will become obsolete and future generations will forget how to use them. (just like VCRs!)

My point is that if your body feels like it needs the elevator or a chair or lighter weights or a shortened workout session, go for it!  Use the body you brought with you, not the body you think you should be aspiring to. Honor everything you do with that body, not because you're "working on it," but because it is your reality.  The most important thing I tell coaching clients is that showing loving compassion to your body is the best way to reach your fitness goals.  This quality will sustain you through times of illness, injury, decreased motivation, and changing capabilities.  Be kind to yourself. Always.

Thought For Today:  Do I really feel like taking the stairs?  I mean, really feel like it?

Not Really A Closing
I can't believe that we're at the end of the Unbothered series.  When I made a month of daily blog posts my big scary goal, I didn't know what I would talk about day after day.  I mean, how many ways can I say that I love you and I love me and we don't need to lose weight to enjoy movement? I've found that I have a LOT to say about diet and weight loss culture, inclusive models of fitness, and ways to do everyday body activism.  I really enjoy getting notes and comments and hearing your thoughts about these issues.  I want to keep the dialogue going!

I'm going to keep posting regularly and am expanding my video offerings.  Be on the lookout for lots more fun stuff.   In the meantime, help me expand these conversations.  Share my work!  Let me know what you want to see me talk about.

Also, if you dig what you see here, catch me on social media.  Let me know what you think.  

"Wrong Is Not My Name: Black Feminist Fitness"
Instagram: blackfeministfitness
Twitter & Periscope: feministfitness

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