My Move It Manifesto: Marie’s Message to You
If you’re at Move It Studio and you didn’t know this already, it’s time you did. I didn’t start a fitness studio to help you lose weight. As offensive as it may sound, it’s time to clear the air. I might wear expensive leggings and be a part of one of the fastest growing fitness trends in the industry, but I think you look just fine as you are. In fact, I know that you are already what you need to be, both inside and out. I’m not here to change you. I’m here to give you a space to find your inner dancer, to energize your life through movement, to be the strong person that you already are.
The fact that I am now making a career in an industry that has made its way mostly by playing off of women’s insecurities is baffling to me. I know I’m an idealist, but I didn’t start Move It Studio as a means of helping women get skinnier or a “bikini body.” That approach is like plastic surgery, you will never be satisfied. Growing up in the ballet world, I let myself obsess over every bone that wasn’t protruding as much as it should. When I was the most fit, I couldn’t enjoy it because I could only see flaws. I traveled the country and got to experience amazing artistry. But it was always under the cloud of never enough. After deciding to leave the dance world as I knew it, I still had artistic opportunities and a beautiful life, but never fully appreciated it. I could never be enough.
It was by chance that I fell into fitness as a career. It’s simply always been a part of my life. And not just because of wanting to look a certain way. When you get down to the core of it, I love the feeling of pushing my body to do things I didn’t know it could do. I love to be in the company of others doing the same. As far back as I can remember, moving has been an integral part of who I am. I still remember at only a few years old, going with my mom to her aerobics class. It was exhilarating to move with a group of people to the music! I started teaching my little sister all I knew when I was in elementary school, and started assisting with beginner dance classes when I was eleven. I love seeing people discover how strong they truly are.
That feeling. The feeling of accomplishment. The feeling of pride in what my body can do. That’s why I have a fitness studio. I want to share that with as many people as possible. I will not apologize for not looking perfect while I do it. Yes, I often have my shirt on inside out, hair unbrushed, or stickers on my grippy socks from my kids. I will not apologize for not having lost all of my baby weight. And guess what? If I don’t lose it all (gasp) that is okay. Whether you haven’t lost your baby weight or you can’t have babies or you’re going through menopause or struggling with chronic illness, I’m here to tell you, you can still be strong. In fact, you already are.
Society has for too long found many insidious ways to make women feel lesser than. One of the main ways is body shaming. It’s become so deeply engrained, we even body shame each other. Here’s the secret, if we all decided to ditch the idea that we are only as good as our body looks, we can spend our energy elsewhere. Maybe lifting each other up and recognizing each other for the amazing beings we are. So amazing in fact, that we are the ones entrusted to carry on the human race! How do we allow ourselves to discount that power in honor of some ideal created by a nebulous force that we can’t even define?
Can I tell you something? I might not be changing the world by starting a charity just yet. But I get emails every week about how Move It Studio has changed someone’s life. And it’s not just because of weight loss or a pant size. Those things come and go and if that’s all you want, you probably won’t find what you need here. You will get results, but that’s not where we focus our energy. We are focused on creating a countercultural fitness movement. Maybe you’re a client, and you didn’t even realize you’re a part of something so much bigger than a workout!
I’m all for celery juice, supplements, shakes, whatever makes you feel strong, healthy, and able to be the change you want to see in the world. I’m also for fries and wine when you’re celebrating or ice cream with your kids in the summer. There is so much more to life than being skinny. Trust me, so many of life’s beautiful moments have been lost on me because of self-judgment. It’s not worth missing out. In my weaker moments, I do miss those smaller numbers of years ago. But I absolutely do NOT miss feeling unhappy or feeling starved.
It is time for us as women who love to move, to fully embrace who we are. Not just as bodies, but as multidimensional warriors. I refuse to let my daughter grow up in a world that says her only value is in how she looks. I refuse to rob her of the joy of movement for the sake of its own beauty. I’m calling an end to that nonsense. Recently, there was a quote circulating in mindfulness circles that read something along the lines of this,
“Just being who you are, shining your light, showing up as fully you, that is activism.”
Every time I put on my leggings and show up in front of my class as a woman who is more than her body, that is my statement of freedom. I work every day to show up as who I truly am: a complicated, messy, imperfect, passionate being who loves to move, loves her family, and loves to create. I’m so thankful for those who show up beside me every day. If you want to join me, it’s time to show up together to stand in the greatness we already are. If you’ve taken class, you know that sometimes means wobbling on one leg or stumbling over choreography. It also means trusting that you’ll find what you need to keep going, knowing that you’re surrounded by a group of people doing the same. Let’s not only stand, but move together into a new vision of fitness. One that empowers and uplifts. Let’s Move It together.