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Raising Children to Love Their Bodies (When We Don’t Love Ours)

October 14, 2014
Celia and I messing around in the gym. Photo by Tim Aguero.

Celia and I messing around in the gym. Photo by Tim Aguero.

I am terrified of flying. I am the crazy lady who delayed a flight from New York to Spain while I had a panic attack that I really believed to be a heart attack. My infant daughter was in my arms, and as horrified as I was that I was inconveniencing everyone else, it was having her in my arms that made me realize how big a problem this was.

Not the delay (which we probably made up in flight,) but my fear. Specifically, that if I didn’t get it under control, I was going to pass it on to her, and the last thing I wanted to do was burden her with my irrational fear of flying. What am I supposed to say, “the world is your oyster, kid, but whatever you do, don’t explore it?” Read more…

Ballet, Barbells and Body-Image

October 4, 2014

10599703_713796575361818_2301331820203949218_nI’m sitting in the corner of the gym, watching my daughter lift seemingly impossible weight. I can see the bottom of her quads dovetailing to cradle her kneecap, the definition in her deltoids, the puffy-cheeked grimace as she takes a deep breath, tenses, inhales, locks down and gets ready to pull a bar that weighs almost as much as she does over her head and stand up, in one surprisingly graceful move.

I am watching her, but I see her, at age 4, in ballet class, with her underwear bulky under a pink leotard as her feet disobediently jitter about like a drop of water on a hot skillet.

This is my baby. Read more…

How To Find A Good CrossFit Gym

September 19, 2014
Just another morning, hanging around at Rocket CrossFit.

Just another morning, hanging around at Rocket CrossFit.

Of all the things I’m asked about CrossFit, the one I’m asked most often is “do you know anything about this gym?” or its variant, “do you know a good gym in this city?”  The answer is usually “no,” because it’s not like we all know each other. Even in Seattle, I don’t know thaaaaaat many of the bajillion gyms that are popping up. So I do what I do when I’m curious about anything, Google it. And although there is NO substitute for going in and getting the feel of a place, I will weed gyms out pretty quickly based on their Web sites.

The people who ask  me this are “regular folk.” Not people who want to compete in any real way. People who have jobs and kids and usually a handful of injuries that make them think they can’t do CrossFit. People who have seen all the bad press that CrossFit gets, but are still curious and interested. And they just want to make sure that they don’t go to one of the bad gyms. Read more…

Mom’s Bikini Body, For Better Or Worse

September 16, 2014
Me, this summer, paddle boarding with the girls. Joy. That's what it was, JOY.

Me, this summer, paddle boarding with the girls. Joy. That’s what it was, JOY.

It only tangentially matters that I was in bed with my husband when I retold him a conversation that I had with my 16 year-old daughter. And that “conversation” is an overstatement of the few sentences that passed between us, somehow filling me with hope for the future, and a little bit of pride in my parenting and, as always, more love for my daughter than I know what to do with.

She and I were driving to her Olympic Lifting training. (Which, is probably not tangential, now that I think about it.) I was remarking that we’re getting ready to embark on a Whole 30 Challenge at the gym, something that we do 3 times a year. I off-handedly said that I was extra motivated, by vanity, this time. She looked at me like I was speaking Chinese. Read more…

Online Dating Photos & Self Identity

September 5, 2014

This photo was the lead photo on my OK Cupid account.

This photo was the lead photo on my OK Cupid account.

It’s been three years since I had, and took down, my OK Cupid profile. I can only imagine how strange it would have looked there, amongst all the sexualized party-girl shots. The women made up and looking their best. My “cover photo” was a photo of my dirty feet. Filthy feet. Hadn’t-been-washed-in-a-week-and-somewhat-covered-in-blood-feet. But I was trying to catch a very particular match. A guy who would look at those feet and think, “I want to do whatever she’s doing.”

Not, “I want to do her.” Read more…

Integrity: Keeping it Together While Running A Small Business

August 31, 2014

10339352_10152575462050921_7190131724315349070_oBrady and I recently went to a seminar about running a CrossFit gym, by Ben Bergeron of CrossFit New England. (As an aside, if you’re running a CrossFit gym, and get the chance to go to this seminar, it’s totally worth it. Ben’s great, he represents the best of what CrossFit has to offer. Totally worth it.) In it, he talked a lot about “integrity.” It’s a word that people use a lot, but I don’t think that many people use it the way that I think is most powerful. The way that is hard. The way that, literally, keeps it all together.

People talk about “integrity” in a way that is interchangeable with “manners” and “proper” behavior. As if “integrity” means “doing the right thing.” And it can mean that, or has at least come to mean that. And that’s awesome. I think that most of the world has a long ways to go in terms of both having good manners and doing the right thing. Read more…

Don’t Eat The Placenta In The Fridge

August 29, 2014



“I’m sorry, what now?” My ex-husband often looks confused when I say things to him that made perfect sense in my head. “Don’t eat the placenta in the fridge.”

Really, this seemed like simple – and rather obvious – advice. Like it shouldn’t be confusing at all. Placenta probably tastes nasty, and you shouldn’t eat it, at least not in the same way you’d eat a steak , or bacon, or any other meaty type thing. If a placenta could be considered meaty.

“Why is there a placenta in the fridge?” Read more…

Sexual Shame Survey Results: The TEDx Talk

August 27, 2014

Screen Shot 2012-01-06 at 9.37.41 AMThe idea of sex without shame may sound about as beautiful and possible as a world without war. But we need to work towards both, (and will try to avoid mentioning the porn collection found in Osama Bin Laden’s den when he was killed, illustrating, perhaps, a metaphorical link between shame and violence. And the fact that you never know what’s going on behind closed doors.)

That was the point of the TEDx talk that I gave on sexual shame. As I was preparing to give the talk, it occurred to me, perhaps a little too late, that there was very little research on sexual shame amongst “straight” folks. And that no matter how compelling I was (which remained to be seen, because I was so nervous I could barely think about it) I would still need to find a way to show people that they were part of the shame soup in which we all swim. Read more…

Women’s Bodies, CrossFit & Advertising

August 25, 2014

Let’s get something straight, something that I think we can agree on: BODIES ARE AWESOME. I’m not gonna pretend that one of the best parts of my job isn’t watching strong bodies do amazing things all day, all glisteny with sweat and making sounds that, I mean, really, sound kinda naughty-fun if you close your eyes. Also not gonna lie and pretend that I don’t love looking at pictures of women’s bodies, generally speaking. Yum. I don’t know whether it’s aspiration, inspiration or just admiration, but yes, a strong woman doing hard things (no, not that kind) definitely gets me to pay attention.

So I am not even going to come close to saying that it isn’t okay to showcase strong women when you are trying to sell products to CrossFitters. In fact, I’d like to see a lot more of it. But, what the fuck is this: Read more…

VIDEO: Setting Goals & Taking Responsibility

August 7, 2014
Brady and Alyssa on New Day Northwest. August 7, 2014

Brady and Alyssa on New Day Northwest. August 7, 2014

Although a much longer piece of writing about goal-setting, managing expectations and taking responsibility will follow (I am, after all, a writer. I have to write) here’s the video of today’s segment on New Day Northwest. Brady and I had fun, of course. Even though he was tired from a night on duty at the firestation, and is never all that excited about being the center of attention. (Me, on the other hand, I love the spotlight more than makes any sense for a hardcore introvert!)



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