I went to the circus last night. Not the traditional circus with lions, ponies and monkeys, but a contemporary circus with only human performers. I use the word ‘only’ not in the dismissive sense.
It was an incredible show. The performances were amazing and I sat through them saying “Wow” out loud over and over and over.
One of the things I loved was the ability of the performers to make such difficult things appear effortless. Sometimes its the more physically demanding movements that look effortless and the more straightforward stuff looks more impressive. I found the crowd showed their amazement at obvious tricks that we expect to see at shows like this. However, given my interest and passion in the body, I was looking at lots of other, perhaps less obvious details.
I caught a look of complete satisfaction and pride on the face of two acrobats after they accomplished something the audience didn’t respond to at all!
Perhaps the BIGGEST thing that I was impressed by, was the performers themselves had varied sizes and shapes, yet ALL of them did what was required. Their bodies can function and move in the ways they have practiced over hundreds of hours. As expected, some of the bodies were lean so their muscle definition was obvious in the way you would look at them and think “Wow, they must be so strong” which is a fair comment.
Yet, I noticed that body shape and type meant absolutely NOTHING. No matter what the bodies LOOKED LIKE, they ALL performed superbly. Now, something I am passionate about is empowering women to focus on their abilities instead of their appearance, so I know many strong and healthy women at a range of sizes and shapes. So this is not news to me at all!
In a culture which associates appearance (particularly women’s) with value and status, and celebrates ‘fit-looking’ or ‘slim’ individuals, I thought it was worth commenting on. Strong bodies don’t need to look ‘strong’.
What I loved were the performers had varied shapes including shorter/taller, smaller/bigger, lean/more body fat, muscular/no definition. One of the women had a larger build with little muscle definition, and was one of the strongest performers. If you saw her walking down the street, you probably wouldn’t class her as ‘strong’ or ‘fit’ or maybe even ‘healthy’.
Her body is PERFECT! It allows her to do her job.
Your body is perfect too!
WEIGHT is not a direct indicator of HEALTH. These bodies were different weights and sizes but they were strong and able to move well.
To me, that is what being healthy is about. Focus on what your body can do, how it moves and how well it does what it needs to.
Notice and support people, places and things that promote body positivity and being healthy at all sizes.
Be kind to you,