Thursday, April 24, 2008

Appreciation for my body

Yesterday I found yet another reason to appreciate my body and all it can do.

For the non-horsey folks, let me explain that "longeing" a horse means to ask them to move in a circle around you at the end of a long flat nylon rope called a longe line (Americans tend to spell it phonetically, i.e. "lunge" line). I was longeing Sunshine (a Belgian draft horse) and when I asked her to trot she decided she'd rather have a freak-out and bolted away at a gallop. That's usually the point at which people either let go of the line (and hope the horse doesn't step on it and break their neck/leg since the other end is attached to the side of their head) or get pulled right off their feet and dragged across the field. I'm not used to letting go (yeah yeah, Freudian much?) so I just took a good grip, dug my heels in and threw my weight backwards and down against the weight of the horse. Of course, no human being can really win a tug-of-war with a 2000 pound scared animal who's really determined to go away. On the other hand, if a horse is well trained, they may stop if they feel enough resistance to be convinced that they're attached to a stationary object.

I can apparently be a very stationary object when I want to be.

She actually ended up repeating the trick a few minutes later, which tells me that she's so used to it working (and consequently getting back to the barn and not having to work anymore) that it's more a show than an actual panic. After the second runaway (where she actually managed to drag me a few steps before stopping) she was very well behaved. I think a few more sessions of "who's the boss" and her manners on the ground will improve considerably.

The point is that I very much believe that if I were the medical world's "ideal weight" I would have been face down spitting dirt and watching the horse disappear through the gate. As it is, I thank the powers that be that I took some online advice and wore gloves, otherwise I'd be out several layers of skin. It was my weight that made the difference in winning that particular contest. I've been fat all my life so I rarely take notice of how much I use my weight or my fat to physical advantage in life. The difference Fat Acceptance has made is in noticing how much my body does for me. I have hips and a belly to balance heavy boxes when I need a hand free. I have strong legs to climb with, strong arms to lift with. I have a butt to pad my falls and thighs to wedge against heavy furniture when it needs moving. I have 300+ pounds of living anchor to drag a bolting draft horse to a stand-still.


What wonderful gifts to have!

11 comments:

Karen said...

Yeah, Sunshine never would have noticed me, though, even with only 105 lbs, I likely wouldn't have let go either.

If your body does what it needs to, such as getting you around, lifting, and not falling apart, plus a few extras, like winning a tug-of-war with a beast of burden, then I think you're doing pretty damn well where you are and giving that up just doesn't sound very reasonable.

Jen said...

Such a great post to read. It's really gotten my day off to a good start. ^__^ I'm glad you weren't hurt by Sunshine's antics!

Shinobi42 said...

HAHA! YAAAY!! I had a similar experience with a horse once. It was a "camp" horse and I was asssigned to it for a week. We had tiny stalls where we would groom and tack the horses, and my big gelding "Big Red" decided to try and SQUISH me in the stall. Well I used the leverage in my hips against his shoulder to knock HIM off balance. Score 1 for the fat chick.

leafeuille said...

I really like what you are saying here and it is inspirational. Accepting our body allows us to *appreciate* it! Personally, I am finally beginning to love the fact that my 220ish lb self takes up room, and literally gives me more emphasis, physically. It's really pretty cool, when thinking about it form this perspective.

Laura said...

Shinobi42, did you go to Camp Farnsworth in VT? They always made me ride Big Red 'cause he was the biggest horse and I was the biggest fatass. I never got to be in the horse program though- it filled up so fast every year. But I still got riding lessons whenever I went to camp and I loved Big Red!!

sleepless said...

Excellent! What a great inspiring story.

Fat Bastard said...
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Fat Bastard said...
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Aaron said...

I fell out of my chair laughing after I read this - because I so know what you're talking about. Working as a vet assistant, there are so many opportunities where it smacks you in the face that your weght can be a good thing. Like convincing a Cane Corso (HUGE Mastiffs. I mean /huge/) that he's not getting off that table until his nails are all trimmed. Now, a 150lb vet isn't always going to win a wrestling match with a dog that outweighs him by 50lbs, but his 245lb assistant is going to win. Every time. Simply because the dog can't buck her off once she's got a grip on his neck and the table and simply lays on him. And I'm stronger and smarter than the dog. Not to mention the vet, at times, but that's another story.
But at any rate, rock on, Diva! Rock on!

Natasha said...

This story is so funny. I am not a 'horsey person' but I have 'throw my weight around' as a Prison Officer in the past. Literally trying to subdue would be assailants with physical presence. I have used this large frame to stand between a potential victim and a very angry man with a large sweet chili sauce bottle (glass), only to have the assailant actually 'bounce' off me. This very comical act amidst anger and hate turned a life threatening situation around and lightened the very dark moment. Carrying our persons around for so long in these current states affords us the opprotunity to forget our amazing potential. It also lulls us into false senses of security so when we are confronted with narrowminded people who verbally express their distaste and discust for our 'choices' in life - without provocation - we are taken aback. Well I know I am. At this moment I say 'Hold your horses a minute' (pun intended) 'You don't have to hate me for who and what I am'. - I love the fact that I am not seen as weak, mild or meek and I have my physical presence to thank for that.

Lorrie said...

Thank you for sharing this. Your power obviously comes from more than just your girth. It comes from your understanding amd acceptance and love for who you are. Bravo, my dear. You are an inspiration to us all.