It's Museday! Meet Kiersten.
Welcome to this weeks feature. My Body Muse is a weekly series where we talk to people about their bodies and the weird/beautiful/messy/awesome/crazy-making narratives we build around them. Shoot us a note at email@example.com if you’d like to be featured.
1) Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What you do? Where you're from?
Sure! I'm a yoga teacher by profession, a Muay Thai fighter by passion and I also love to read, cook and meditate. I grew up in Seattle, been living in NYC since August 2012.
2) Can you tell us a bit about what you love about your body?
My feet. I used to hate them because I thought that feet (all of them, not just mine) were like, weird deformed hands with stubby fingers and on top of that, my toes are hairy like a Hobbit. Maybe it's just because yoga made me bring my feet to my face (and chest, thigh, behind my head, all sorts of crazy places my feet never went before), I started to notice that there really is a purpose to their unique structure. They are really strong and they help me balance for things like kicking and walking and dancing. I think this is true of my whole body -- each part is there for a reason and now I think it's so much fun exploring the relationships and possibilities of each part. I like to think of my body as a really advanced machine and I am trying to learn what all the buttons and levers do. I'm lucky to have it.
3) Have you ever felt inadequate in your body? Do you feel comfortable sharing that story with us?
All. The. Time. I still do. In 6th grade, puberty started to put a little more meat on my thighs and I immediately saw this as me getting fat. Which of course I thought was the worst thing you could be. So I got really self-conscious about eating, to the point that I skipped lunch every day because I didn't want to eat in public and risk looking disgusting to everyone around me. In high school, this evolved into bulimia and that is something I still struggle with. Fighting Muay Thai is like any other combat sport -- you are matched with an opponent by weight and your "fight weight" is usually lower than your normal weight. So I spend about a month training super hard, eating well, losing weight the right way. I end up getting a lot of "compliments" from people about how "amazing" I look. It kills me because I know that in order to be healthy and train well and replenish my muscles, I'll be gaining back at least 10 lbs after the fight. And people will see it as me "getting fat" when I was at an artificially low weight to begin with. I still care what they think, though.
4) If your body were you friend, how would you describe it?
She demands respect. Like, DEMANDS it. My mind is polite and cares what people think and will take shit for days to make other people happy, but my body is not afraid to call bullshit and sometimes it's like she sticks up for both of us. My body really likes hard work, but if I push her too far, she will push back. Most of the time, though, she's really sweet and fun and we do crazy stuff and test our limits together. And some parts of our relationship just work, like we figured out how to sing and we used to hate running, but now we figured out how to do it together and we have a great time.
5) Fill in the blank:
My body does__everything I need it to and more!___
My body does not like __being treated disrespectfully.___
My body's theme song is__the sound of Om.____
6) Do you have a favorite affirmation?
My body is a source of joy
7) What else? Final words?
I love my breasts. Love them. They are possibly my favorite part of my body. I wrote that in a health class workbook in 10th grade and it's still true.