Amanda Kovattana

Middle-aged musings in interesting times

Monday, May 13, 2019

Celebrating This Body Of 61 Years

I posted this story to FaceBook earlier this month and it received more attention than almost any other post to date. Women rarely celebrate their body in quite this way. At least not very often given women's battle with body image. It was my version of Gloria Steinem's "this is what 50 looks like". (Gloria who is now 85. Long may she reign.) I also wanted people to know that I did not come by this body without attention to its maintenance and a fitness regime. My friends often assume I have an Asian genetic advantage for thinness and natural fitness. This has not proven to be true among my own Asian family members. I also hoped that my story would inspire others to take care of their "earth suit" as one of my mud hut sisters put it as well as staking out ground for a non-medicalized body as much as I can which is to say free from pharmaceuticals. And finally it is a post to celebrate a butch presentation and a female persona that does not connect with the male gaze or any other gaze as I look heavenward for my inspiration. A tripod self portrait.
On my birthday I did this photo shoot to celebrate this amazing body of 61 years. I'd show more, but my channel is PG. heh.
Here's my story: When I was in my '20s I hadn't taken up any form of exercise or sport. I was a proud slacker and only cared about getting to the movies on time. When I was late to a movie and had to run for it I would end up in my seat breathing hard and sometimes coughing. I thought I must be seriously out of shape. So me and my movie buddy took up running the Parcourse which was a new thing then. An outdoor running circuit with stations for doing push-ups et al. They were installed in communities all over. We picked the one that went around Lake Lagunita at Stanford. This improved my stamina and I was proud to increase my reps of push-ups and pull-ups.
A few years in I attended a celebration at the International House at Stanford where it was Asian night and the entertainment was a man and woman from China in silk costume doing martial arts. I fell in love and that's when I started looking for a kung fu class. Once there the movements were so similar to Thai dance that I felt at home, plus it brought back all those kung fu movies I had watched as a child and yes the TV series Kung Fu. The horse stance fixed my bum knee that still bothered me from a ski incident and the exercise improved my lung power further.
Fast forward a few decades later and I am late for a train. Now I have the power to run for it, but I still landed in my seat breathing so hard I was coughing for a good few minutes so I asked my family doctor what I should do. She had me breath a full lung full of air into a measuring device and said I only had a third of my lung capacity, did my parents smoke when I was a kid? Yes my father did from the time he was 12 to the time I was 12. Well there you go, she said, that's why I tell parents not to smoke around their kids. I was so mad at my father.
"I could have been a contender," I said. Then I thought what am I complaining about? I'm already up for my black belt. And I am injury free because I couldn't quite push myself hard enough to seriously compete because I'd end up coughing. The doc told me I had exercise induced asthma and gave me an inhaler to use before exercising. Well that's not going to help if I'm late for the train I thought. I tried it a couple of times and refused to use it. What was the point? Why become dependent on this device and whatever chemicals was in it when I already had what lung power I needed? The doc agreed that exercise itself had helped. Ok then. I don't need to go further than what my lungs are capable of. And it is still my lungs that are happiest when out on the mat being stretched to their capacity. I was now too old to be a contender, but I am still kicking.

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At 6:50 AM, Blogger Ann said...

You look great! Looks like you're not only kicking but capable of kicking booty! Here's to many more healthy year!

At 9:36 AM, Blogger AK said...

Thanks so much Ann. And thank you for coming by to read my posts. XO


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