Will I Allow My Little Girl To Be A Gymnast?

Body image is currently a focal point in the media, but then it always is. The fashion industry is setting standards, yet clearly every designer has yet to follow them and Hollywood will never catch on. Our society seems so concerned with today’s youth, and how they feel about their body, but the generation they are concerned about is the first generation physician’s predict to die before their parents of health complications related to obesity. In my opinion, eating disorders aren’t running rampant. But I stand corrected, (according to a reputable website stated below), they are still on the rise and 10/100 girls suffer from an eating disorder in 2013. What I cannot ignore, however, is that between 16 and 33 percent of children are obese. Eating disorders may be on the rise, but they are clearly the minority.

I was a level nine gymnast in USA gymnastics, training forty hours a week and going to school full time. I started as a level four as did my training hours as a third grader. I am the poster child for an eating disorder: white, affluent, and a perfectionist, and later a three sport athlete. I was later a D1 college cheerleader after I quit gymnastics so instead of improving or seeking therapy, my condition drastically declined. I had an eating disorder for over a decade.

Will I allow my little girl to go through the same thing? People I have conversations with, my boyfriend’s family, my mother, aren’t “aware”, or don’t necessarily acknowledge the obvious. “Don’t ask don’t tell” applies to almost anything you don’t really want to know in my boyfriend’s and my family. Answering this question the way I wanted was very difficult.

I will want a little girl so bad and be heartbroken at the same time if she is. If she does not want to be a gymnast I will be saddened but if I have to make the decision I will be destroyed, for I know I will have to say “yes”. I cannot let my little girl miss out on the life lessons gymnastics taught me. I know they were tough to the point of mental abuse, pushed my body past stress fractures, and I found I had repressed memories in therapy, but I loved it. I did not have a childhood, but I can’t think of what I would have rather done. I found lifelong friends, and learned what a true team was like. We had sleepovers every Friday at someone’s house because of practice on Saturday morning at 8:00 am. I found that if you do something enough times you find muscle memory and perfection, and reward in winning for yourself and your team. How could I take this from my future child should she decide she wants to be like mommy?

But there is the negative aspect of gymnastics. I have terrible arthritis at twenty-four in my fingers, knees, wrist, and toes. I am a perfectionist, and it turns out it isn’t a good thing when you have to have something perfect every time or you are a failure. Oh, and that eating disorder.

I relapse almost constantly. I feel like I have it under control and then I don’t. I have met few gymnasts and even less cheerleaders when being honest did not have a disorder of some kind. When you are required to be thin, your required to be so thin that starving yourself or purging and starving is really the only solution. We all know this. What really made my condition worse was college cheerleading. We would trade what worked and what didn’t around the table or in the car.  We all had our own little disorder.

As a parent you can take two approaches, hit it head on and fight constantly, or ignore it, “believe” your child doesn’t have an appetite and watch if she gets below 85 pounds and threaten to admit her. My parents chose not to fight with me and threaten me when I got too thin. But really, what was the best option? I never would have forgiven my parents for taking me out of either, even knowing what I do now. Which is why, even now, I still am just heartbroken when in ten years if my little girl tells me she wants to do gymnastics, I am probably going to cry, but I am also going to say “yes”.

Teenagers With Eating Disorders (http://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/Facts_for_Families_Pages/Teenagers_With_Eating_Disorders_02.aspx)

Advertisements

What Clothing Reveals You

cropped-banner

When I was in high school, my mother insisted on forcing me to try on every single pair of jeans ranging from Wal-Mart jeans to Kohl’s jeans, Macy’s to Meijer, and not a single pair fit. This was because I was slightly under five feet tall, had an eight pack without a waist, and legs as thick as tree trunks from forty hours a week training as a gymnast. Finally, she conceded and we walked into the Keystone Fashion Mall and spent egregious amounts of money on several pairs of designer jeans that I was quite certain had been manufactured in mass amounts just for me. The jeans were so soft they could have been my pajamas and I was hooked.

Tonight it was a bit chilly on my evening run, I was in my ¾ length lulu lemon pants thinking I need to go back to store that is also a yoga studio in Hyde Park and purchase winter running gear, and it occurred to me one pair of pants alone would cost a little under $100.

$100 pants to run in. Why? And why would I think it’s a good idea to buy them?

Simple! I grudgingly walked in there the first time after an exhausting day searching for running shorts and yoga pants only to find that once again ten years later (yikes I’m feeling old!) not a single item of clothing tried on that day fit me. When you are tiny, there is nothing more upsetting, and I will go without before I will wear something that does not fit. I am not spoiled, or trying to look attractive, I just will not look sloppy and giant clothes simply aren’t comfortable. Lulu Lemon’s clothes fit me like a glove, they are also the perfect length, wash wonderfully, and last forever. They are simply worth the investment. Once again I find myself asking: “What’s in a name?”

If you can look beyond the price, the place of purchase, and the designer, there are still multitudes of factors that affect purchasing decisions. Once the item is purchased, it is still situational based on the aggregate of psychological and sociocultural factors acting on individual or groups affecting behavioral patterns.

I CAN MAKE THIS SIMPLE

My name is actually Kelli and the situation is real as is the dress I bought. Forbes will explain it below:

I ruined my favorite “power” shirt for interviews but it clearly wasn’t working anyways considering I’m still unemployed. Mom immediately took me shopping to fix me superstitions I developed from gymnastics and well….. I found an amazing blue Banana Republic dress in a 00 Petite for a silly amount, but not necessarily a deplorable amount, either. I will take it home, after receiving excellent customer service, crop it 3 inches since I’m still too short, and wear it to Summer interviews to make me feel better to the people, who already presume they know who I am, just by looking at me.

American’s rely on clothing because there isn’t an official way to socially rank people such as a caste system or aristocracy. Therefore clothes are our economic and social indicator. It gives us comfort; it lets us know where we sit in the world. The doctor cited in the article on Forbes tells us that there isn’t a particular article or style that makes a person look unsuccessful, but not taking the time or the effort, or hiding and undoing who you are does come across badly.

I however disagree. If you previously purchased your jeans that fit and flatter you, and you absolutely know this because your personal shopper informed you of this, and your cashmere or cable knit wool J. Crew sweaters are in perfect condition as well as your puffer jacket, and your Tori Burch riding boots are timeless as well as new, you can get dressed in less than 2 minutes (I did today) and be out the door and look timeless and “put together”. Hiding parts of your body sometimes do wonders for certain body types, and everyone has to dress for their own body type. But sadly yes, clothes immediately tell a story about you, and are used as a wicked weapon.

Interviews are SO tricky. Everyone interviewing has been incessantly warned about colors. I provided a link instead of going into details. My conundrum has always been: my full suit (a jacket and pencil skirt which fits me amazing but makes me look terribly uptight), my suit jacket with a tan pencil skirt, or my dress. The level of “dressiness” was in descending order and it is my job to decipher the type of job, the atmosphere of the office or corporation, and the formalness of the interview.

After, if I ever manage to land a job, Pinterest is here to assist me, I don’t need assistance after I get a position, but if I did, for outfits, classic wardrobe makes, and what young professionals need to wear to work is all on the internet to assist us. There is also tumblr, WordPress obviously, and many other links to blogs from Pinterest I have yet to discover to assist the confused ones. I provided just a few, including my own Pinterest site, where I post outfits I’m in love with.

How do I want to feel? It doesn’t matter because “I am what I wear” according to Dr. Baumgartner, the doctor citer in Forbes who recently wrote the book titled appropriately, “You Are What You Wear: What Your Clothes Reveal About You”

So, “What’s in a name?” It’s “The brand name”. It’s the social hierarchy that makes all right in the world. Our own caste system that allows Hollywood to be our aristocracy and lulu lemon to be the higher caste “go-to” for workout clothes because they are simply amazing.  So really, the answer to this question is simple too.