BOAW: The Beauty of A Body in Motion

Closeup decorative grunge vintage woman with beautiful long hair

Today, I’m participating in August McLaughlin’s Beauty of a Woman Blogfest (BOAW). It’s a celebration of  beauty and/or beauty and sexuality, however you define it!

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For too long beauty required a number on the scale and a specific size of clothing.

Now I see how my clothes fit, I feel how my muscles move, and I think this is beauty.

That this body performs so many tasks a day to keep me functioning is amazing. I now devote an hour each day to it. To exercise and make it grow stronger.

After my spine surgery, I punished my body for a long time. Not consciously. But now I see what I did.

I was getting even with it for all the pain it put me through. I ate badly and didn’t exercise. I seized on every short-term pleasure food provided. And I avoided any and all sources of pain.

I feared one wrong movement would undo my surgery.

I was a coward.

There is good pain. There is the pain of a muscle straining and becoming stronger. There is the soreness of a new movement surprising a muscle.

These are pains that can be taken on and should be part of life.

Because they mean there is change and growth. Good things.

I’ve got a long road ahead, but challenges are what give life meaning. So here’s to the challenge of true beauty–to strength, grace and agility.

To the beauty of a body in motion.

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There are also some awesome prizes for the blogfest–there is the classic Beauty of a Woman Blogfest and the Girl Boner Beauty of a Woman Blogfest. I’m sure you’ll find posts that make you laugh, cry and nod in agreement.

Head over to August’s blog and check out some of the other fabulous blog posts  between Sunday February 24th and Wednesday March 3rd to read submissions from both fests and for chances to win prizes!

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69 Responses to BOAW: The Beauty of A Body in Motion

  1. I know the pain of spinal surgery, having had two myself. I’m thankful to be able to exercise every day because there was a time where I couldn’t get out of bed. Great job, Kourtney! Keep moving, that’s what our bodies are made to do.

    • Jill, I knew you would understand. 🙂 I was so afraid to do anything but my back exercises and walking and I became very inflexible. I also was petrified of any twinges and would flash back to the months of nerve pain before surgery. You are right though. We need to be grateful we can move. Will do. I feel better and stronger for it. 🙂

  2. Bodies are also forgiving. So few of us realize how vital its health and wellness is to every aspect of our lives. thanks for turning us on to August’s blog. we’re going to head over, xo LMA

    • They are pretty amazing. My hour a day of working out has eased my stress, helped with my productivity, and made me feel more energetic. It spilled over into many facets of my life. August is amazing. I hope you enjoy her posts and the other blogfest posts–I’m so glad she created it!

  3. Kourtney, that’s such an inspired way to look at making changes and owning past mistakes. My mom would love it as much as I do. As she’s always said, “Your body is a temple, so you must treat it with the proper respect you’d have for any house of God.” 🙂

    • Thanks Kitt. It’s funny how you can see what you’re doing but your true motives remain murky so you can’t really change things. And then when you realize you can suddenly do something. Aw I’m so glad your mom would like it. She is 100% right on that. 🙂

  4. Ally Bean says:

    Your words hit home with me. I’ve had some back probs, been reluctant to move too much for fear of causing more trouble. I hear ‘ya, sister.

    But now that March, the action verb month, is almost here, I’m ready to get walking again. Thanks for the encouragement.

    • It’s scary. Especially when you’ve had severe pain that you never want to trigger again. Take it slow. I did physical therapy stretches for several months and eased back into working out. Every other day–30 minutes, then every day 30 minutes, and slowly built up to my hour a day. Gwen Stephens inspired me with her commitment to 30 minutes of running a day. Since I’m bigger and in worse shape, I felt 60 minutes should be my goal. 🙂

      • Ally Bean says:

        An excellent plan, Kourtney. Thank you. I don’t know that I’ll ever be a runner, but I’m sure that I could be a good walker… if I applied myself to this, of course. 😉

        • Ally, I will never be a runner either. That’s why I increased my time because I won’t burn the calories Gwen can. I dance, walk, do toning exercises, even some light weight lifting. I mix it up so each day is different. Walking is great. Since it’s winter, I find the treadmill aggravates my knees if I use it more than 2 x a week. So I had to get creative with indoor activities. 😉 It’s really about will power and effort–everyday. It’s hard work. But when you make it a priority–even just 20 minutes a day–you’ll notice a difference.

  5. Pingback: The Beauty of a Woman BlogFest III: Original Edition | August McLaughlin's Blog

  6. It must have taken such huge motivation to exercise after spinal surgery. It’s hard enough without that difficulty 😉 Well done!

  7. You are an inspiration, Kourtney. Huge kudos for valuing strength and body-feel over the numbers (not an easy shift for many to make!). We take so much for granted, don’t we? No one would meet you and imagine that you face the challenges you do physically — yet it’s unsurprising that you do so with such grace. Thanks for participating in the fest!

    • Thanks August! It took me a long time to value my body for its resilience. It was one of the darkest times in my life. I’ve been blessed with 5 years of spine health. But the memory of that pain really held me back for a long time.

  8. I believe with all my heart that the challenges we face add to our beauty.

  9. Carrie Rubin says:

    Inspiring words, Kourtney. With only one body for each of us, it’s sad how often we misuse it. Glad you’re treating yours well!

    • Sometimes the hardest things are understanding our own motivations. I really didn’t realize how angry I was at my own body for failing me. For causing me such unrelenting pain. I didn’t realize I had to forgive it. I kept pushing myself for a reason for why I kept derailing my own healthy eating and then I realized what deeper issue was underlying it.

  10. jmmcdowell says:

    Popular culture is insidious. It creeps into our perceptions of what our lives should be like, even when we know how unrealistic and unattainable the “models” are. Good for you for finding your way back to a truly healthy perspective!

    • I always wanted to be strong and healthy. My body type is not ever going to be tiny. I accepted that years ago. I refuse to read fashion magazines. And I buy men’s jeans so the numbers game never gets going. 😉

  11. Great post, Kourtney! And keep up the good work. There’s nothing better than knowing you’re treating your body like the temple it is 😉

    • Thanks Kate. I feel so much better. My stress is more manageable. My asthma has gone dormant again. I have way more energy and I feel more positive about things. 🙂

      • Isn’t it amazing what good health can do for you? And when you stop and think about it, it’s really just good common sense, yes?

        I used to feel sluggish, and my stomach always hurt. I was always in some kind of pain or discomfort. Now I have energy, and like you I can manage my stress much better.

        Yay for us! 😛

  12. katybrandes says:

    We take our bodies for granted until something goes wrong. I hope you continue to heal and get stronger!

    • We do. And when something goes wrong for a while it can really mess with our mind body connection. Because we do tend to see them separately even though they are truly so interdependent.

  13. So glad you are doing well. Walking helps so much. Guess that’s why we went ahead and got a forever dog. It’s Molly’s job to keep us moving. Hope the weather gives you some sun

    • Thanks. I’m in NYC today walking all over the city. Been up since 6 am but it feels great to be out and about. We’ve got another snow storm coming this weekend. Ugh. But I am sneaking in fun when I can. 🙂

  14. Raani York says:

    You know, I wouldn’t want to “excuse” what you did… or find “good explanations”… but sometimes people are cowards – and nobody is really crazy for pain. (unless masochists – but that’s not the point here)…
    As I said: I don’t want to find “lame excuses for you”… but it was understandable after what you’ve been going through. Isn’t it strength you found when you decided to face the “pain” again?
    This is part of what your beauty is, strength!

    • Thank you Raani. I guess I consider it cowardly because it was 5 years after my surgery and I was still letting the pain control me. Only now it was the fear of it returning. So I let myself get very stiff and inflexible and avoided all bending. I was being too conservative and too risk adverse. But you are right. Maybe I needed that time to heal and find my inner strength. 🙂

  15. Oh, that sounds difficult. Sorry to hear, but glad you’re recovering well. There is good pain, indeed, and all pain is part of life. But it takes time to accept that, like with everything, our human nature, doubting, gets in the way. All the best to you.

  16. I’m so glad you found a way through a tough experience. I can see the light of it shining through on your face!

    • Thanks Audrey. A lot of the pain in Kai came from that experience. I think it helped to talk about my back injury as inspiration for the book too. It made me realize how much it impacted me and continued to impact me. Hugs!

  17. Cheers to strength, grace, and agility! I hope your spine has healed and you continue to grow stronger each day.

  18. 4amWriter says:

    This is a wonderful idea. What a well-written post, Kourtney. I can understand being afraid to move for fear of reinjuring yourself. Funny how we can tell the difference between good pain and harmful pain. I always feel satisfied after a bout of exercise, though my muscles are crying in complaint, I still know I did ’em good.

    The body is designed to move, no question, so we just have to make it happen in our own way.

    • I was very skittish and over conservative for 5 years. Taking any pain similar to what I felt as a dire event. It took me a while to realize sometimes muscles trap nerves and it feels just like a disc pressing on a nerve root. The difference is it stops. Now I take it slow and gradual and expand my horizons a little at a time. Definitely feel more alive than I have in years. The body wants to move and it rewards me for moving it too. 🙂

  19. I love your take on beauty Kourtney, being about what our bodies can do rather than what they look like – if only the world focussed on this inner and outer strength rather than trying to make beauty fit into a certain package. Congratulations on your willpower in being able to get through the pain and come to such an accepting place afterwards.

    • Thanks Andrea. As I get older, the outer becomes less important to me. Because it changes, the inner however gets richer and more vibrant and defines me more and more. 🙂 The memories of the pain still haunt me, but I try to stay in the present and build a better me now. 🙂 Hugs!

  20. Great post, Kourtney. Beauty is also taking care of the wonderful body you have and satisfying it in healthy ways. Mathair taught me that from the time I was a little girl and it’s a mantra I live by to this day. She was in a car accident in 2008 and flipped our Tahoe six times. Since then, she’s strived to regain the fitness she’d had before . It’s a struggle, what with pins and screws in her ankle, but she’s a warrior, as are you. Happy BOAW 🙂

    • Thanks Inion. Mathair sounds incredibly wise. 🙂 I’m so sorry to hear about her accident. It’s so hard when our bodies break and won’t mend quickly. I hope she continues to finds ways to strengthen her body. She is definitely a warrior! Happy BOAW!

  21. Letizia says:

    “The beauty of the body in motion” I love that phrase. Having dealt with serious health issues, I worked on finding that appreciation and respect for what my body could do – pushing it without overdoing it. Your post really resonated with me.

    • Thanks Letizia. Sometimes I think without the back injury I wouldn’t appreciate my body the way I do. But I also wouldn’t have been so frustrated with it for so long. Pushing but not shoving is the way to go. I’m so glad you connected with my post. 🙂

  22. Chris Edgar says:

    That’s interesting — I had spinal surgery myself — in my case, to correct scoliosis — although perhaps I was fortunate in that I had it when I was fifteen, and thus the inactivity that was required after the surgery didn’t affect my health as significantly as it might have done if I had been older. I’m glad to hear that you found a way to adjust to your new range of motion — I know it took me a while.

    • Wow, that’s major spine surgery. Especially at 15. It had to be very hard to be inactive. It was tough to learn what I could and couldn’t do. And if I rushed anything, there was hell to pay painwise. I’m still learning that I can move and feel twinges but it doesn’t mean things are going back to that bad place.

  23. Eden says:

    I can’t help but think of the poem “I Sing the Body Electric”, because we’re truly amazing creatures. I’m glad you’re finding your peace with the messages your body sends you….even the less than comfy ones. Best to you, Kourtney.

  24. Marcia says:

    Courage and the willingness to learn and change – the beauty of a woman. You have it all!

  25. TBM says:

    I admire your bravery. Spine surgery would intimidate the heck out of me and make me fearful to move. Best of luck to you!

    • Thank you. Because I had unrelenting nerve pain, the surgery didn’t feel scary. Another day in that kind of pain, however, was terrifying. It’s been 5 years since my surgery. The artificial disc can last 2-20 years. I’m hoping mine is closer to 20. 🙂

  26. Aquileana says:

    Beauty of Women Blogfest sound really awesome Kourtney…
    I love your words, really touching..
    I would to highlight these one in particular: “These are pains that can be taken on and should be part of life. Because they mean there is change and growth. Good things”.
    That was beautifully penned and I smiled as I read your words above. Cheers and best wishes, Aquileana 😉

  27. Sandra tansley says:

    Great commentary

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  29. Pete Denton says:

    I’ve not had to have spinal surgery, but was diagnosed with arthritis in my spine recently so feel your pain. A long journey usually gets easier the further you go so fingers crossed 🙂

    • Sorry to hear about the arthritis in your spine. I’ve had that for a while too. Mine’s mild though so it’s not something I think about much. Very true. I’m seeing changes and feeling so much better so I feel pretty good about this journey. I expect bumps. For now, I feel up to facing them.

  30. Beautiful blog. And thank you for sharing. I know all too well what it means to feel limited physically. But once you start moving, it’s amazing how much better we feel!

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