The Black Swan in All of Us

Good evening bloggy boos! Hope you’ve had a great Tuesday:)

I loved reading your comments on my last post! Reading random things about you guys makes me smile and feel like less of a crazykins:)

Tonight I’d like to talk about an issue that has been on the brain for a bit of time now, and needs to let loose.

Over the weekend, I saw Black Swan.

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It made me feel so many emotions: unsettled, disturbed, sad, excited, humored, but the greatest of these was disturbed.

The main character (played by Natalie Portman) is a ballet dancer, living with her single mother as an adult and trying so hard to be the “perfect” ballerina.

Natalie Portman had to lose a lot of weight for this movie, to become what was referred to by the film makers as “emaciated”. I am not one to make judgement calls on one’s appearance, but their description of the actress’ condition certainly played to the fact that many of the character’s behaviors portrayed that of a girl with an eating disorder, which is a strong symbolic representation of the strive for perfection.

I know this because five years ago, I battled and overcame a terrible eating disorder that almost consumed my life. So, seeing this movie obviously brought back some dark memories, and was ultimately disturbing.

This intrigued me. Not because of the condition of the character, nor because of her portrayal, but because of the symbolic meaning.

She is asked to dance the part of the White Swan and the Black Swan at the same time, and through her struggle to portray the Black Swan, she ultimately finds hers.

Isn’t this quest for “perfect” exactly what we all get trapped in?

I think it is. We all want the perfect grades, the perfect man, the perfect family, perfect hair, perfect skin, perfect friends, perfect body..you get the idea.

But most of all, what we find ourselves trapped in is having the perfect diet or having a perfect fitness level.

Let me tell you a little story.

This morning, I woke up and packed my gym bag with every intention of going to the gym after my last class. I went through the day’s routine, and finally came home before I was supposed to go to the gym.

And you know what? I was tired. And every time I thought of getting on a workout machine, I cringed a little bit, and my bed seemed more and more appealing.

So, you know what I did? I had a bowl of hummus with raisins and then took a two hour nap.

And it rocked.

When I decided in myself to skip today’s workout and give my body the rest it deserved, a pang of guilt pinched in my chest for a second.

Woah, hold on there! Why should any of us feel guilty for giving our bodies rest?

Girls, listen and listen hard: exercise for vibrancy, and rest for rejuvenation.

If you need some rejuvenating, don’t put the extra stress on your body and set your body’s vibrancy clock backwards. Instead, give your body what it needs and then exercise when you’ve got your vibrancy back.

At church on Sunday, one of my ministers gave a sermon on “sick professions”. He spoke about the fact that Americans are constantly trying to be more productive in their lives and their careers instead of doing something that serves to help the world and people around them. Because of this, we end up feeling used instead of well-used.

Do you see the difference?

If not, think of it this way: if your heart is not in it, you most likely feel used. If your heart is in it, you feel that you are well-used, and part of a greater purpose.

The reason I tell you this is because it can apply to everything in life. If your heart isn’t in your exercise, don’t do it. You will just end up feeling used. Instead, take a break until your heart is in it again, and use that to find your vibrancy.

Today, I gave my body rejuvenation. I fought the urge to make myself productive in an ultimately un-productive way. That pang of guilt ain’t got nothing on me! The urge to be “perfect” consumes all of us sometimes, giving us the inability to see the good, the truth, and listen to our best friend: our own bodies.

That is my Black Swan.

What’s yours?

xoxox,

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66 Comments

Filed under Rants, Tips and Tricks, Uncategorized

66 responses to “The Black Swan in All of Us

  1. Scarlett

    As a former dancer whose career was cut short by complications from anorexia, I also found Black Swan intriguing and disturbing. Though it was a bit over-the-top in its portrayal of the ballet world, I found Nina (Portman’s character) eerily reflective of my own personality. It’s unfair to categorize all dancers as such, but her character was a great dramatization of young women driven to self-destruction in a quest for perfection.

    My “black swan” is certainly my own ED; I’ve lived with anorexia as well as bulimia for 10 years. I’m so happy to hear you overcame your disorder! You send a great positive message. Keep it up.

    • I’m so sorry about your dancing! I found it quite reflective of my old self as well. Self-destruction is definitely the perfect word here – thank you for sharing your story, and remember love, you are beautiful!!

  2. Incredible post!! I loved every word – thank you!!

  3. I agree completely. I have been dying to see the movie for real. When your body needs a rest-it needs one and I just wish that some girls would understand that.

    • I completely agree! We all need to take that time to realize that we should not be overworking ourselves – our bodies are our temples, and they should be treated with love!

  4. I agree with consuming yourself with trying to be perfect. I love my body but at times I hate it. I am comfortable with my weight but in the back of my mind I want to be thinner. I want to better, smarter, prettier, when in fact I should just be grateful and happy for the blessings I have. I loved Black Swan, it’s a great movie that deserves a lot of praise. Ballet was a major part of my life and quest to be thin. It’s about taking things one day at a time 🙂 Great post!

  5. Hey Katelyn! I just found your blog through Confessions of a Young Woman. 🙂 I’m excited to follow as you share your life with us!

    I’d have to say my black swan is being a people pleaser-sometimes it’s tough to just do what you know is right when you have a lot of outside opinions. That’s when I have to stick to my belief that God is in control and if I follow Him, everything will fall into place. 🙂

    • Thank you for stopping by!! I hope you come back soon:)

      That’s one I never thought of – I am guilty way too often of being a people-pleaser! You’re right, outside opinions take way too much precedence over our own thoughts. God has a plan for us, I’m so glad you see that too:)

  6. Beautiful post Katelyn. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is what we really should do- take a rest, take time to ourselves, do what makes us happy. I struggle to do the things that make me happiest sometimes!

  7. Such a good post. So glad you shared that – it is so important for people to read and KNOW. Too many of us just push ourselves or do what we think we have to do …I am always “fighting” with my mind and it’s not easy. At all. I don’t listen to my inner me at all.

    Why does exercise or food have to define us?

    I’ve heard that that movie is triggering for people. I find it disturbing that people would go to extreme lengths for any role honestly. I don’t like “disturbing” movies and stay away from them, but it would be interesting.

    Oh well…I’ll just turn on Dinner For Schmucks 😉

    • Thank you girl! It is so true, we’re always fighting with our own minds! We need to listen to our inner selves more often.

      I was afraid it oculd be triggering, but thank goodness it wasn’t! In fact, it lead me to this post:)

      Let me know how Dinner for Schmucks is! It look hilar:)

  8. This was a great post. I definitely agree that I can feel that pang of guilt when I skip a workout, but you’re so right. Sometimes our bodies need to be rejuvenated 🙂

  9. What a beautiful post. You are such an inspirational young lady. I think body image (whether you suffer from an ED, or not) is an issue that affects every single one of us. Our self-image is so important, and yet so fragile. Thanks for being so honest. I love your posts!

  10. Great post girl! I felt the same when I saw Black Swan. And naps rock 😉

  11. Best post I have read all day, hands down. You said it perfectly girl! I haven’t seen Black Swan (yet) but know that people were remarking about the actresses being really skinny. I used to get caught up in being the “perfect” everything until I realized that I was being self-destructive. I am way more easy-going now and don’t have to do things “my way” all the time. It has opened so many more doors for me and I look forward to knowing that every day is going to be different from the last. If I have a crappy day today, well maybe tomorrow will be friggin’ awesome. It’s all about letting the small aggravations slide and moving on with life! Thanks for sharing your Black Swan 🙂

    • Thank you girl!! You absolutely MUST see it. Self-destructive is the perfect word! I’m trying to loosen up a bit too, my Type A personality can get in the way sometimes. Exactly, let the aggravations slide and move on!:)

  12. I struggle with the thought of perfections a lot. Thanks for the insightful post! I’m sort of afraid to see Black Swam though!

  13. This was beautiful! Mine is definitly my ED as well! This was awesome. When you said you got a two hour nap I just felt like floating! That sounds so beautiful! Hah

    • Thank you girl! I try not to call it by a name like “ED”, I’ve found that it gives the memory more power. Instead, I call it “that annoying voice” because that’s all it is…annoying! So, once we start to realize that it’s just annoying and nothing of much value, it can easily be ignored and avoided in the future. And oh girl, the nap WAS beautiful:)

  14. you are absolutely beautiful.. ! this post is unbelievable and so well written! i am so saving this post to look back on when that PANG of guilt kicks it.. thank you

  15. Whew – preach it, girl! I adore this post! There was a time when I would seriously beat myself up if I wasn’t in the gym an hour & a half everyday. But now I try to focus on listening to my body. If it needs rest I have to give it that or I’m just going to regret it later. This isn’t a sign of weakness but a sign of me really caring for myself.
    You’re awesome 🙂

  16. I really loved this post. It is well written and I can really relate. I haven’t seen the movie (I am a little afraid it is going to upset me, as well). Striving for perfection and not giving myself a break is a daily struggle for me. I also don’t like that they made Natalie Portman lose all that weight..she was tiny to begin with!

  17. runyogarepeat

    Rest days are so necessary, especially after pushing your body hard in a workout. I’ll admit that sometimes, I feel guilty for skipping a run, but if my body needs it, I’ll rest. Instead, I’ll do yoga, which makes my muscles feel awesome. The best part is it relaxes and calms my mind and gives my whole body a rest!

  18. Such a great post – so so sooo true!

  19. Katelyn, this post shows so much heart and thought and so much you. Thank you for sharing. You’ve got it down, girl 🙂

  20. Just found your blog!! Love it! You are totally gorgeous by the way! 😀

    And this post is SO amazing!! I used to really feel exercise guilt, but thankfully seem to have (mostly!) gotten past that mindset! I still get that with food sometimes though…it is hard but I try extra hard to ignore it! 🙂

  21. Very touching post. Kudos on treating yourself to some well-deserved down time rather than spreading yourself too thin! Hadn’t thought about my black swann…will have to mill it over and get back to you.

  22. Black Swan was a bit strange. I do have to admit Natalie did a fantastic job, but the plot of the movie was dark and I had a hard time following it.

    side note: I’ve never heard of anyone eating hummus straight…BUT ME. I am no longer embarrassed! haha

    • It was dark, but I thought it was one of the most beautiful works of art I’ve seen in a LONG time.

      Haha I am so glad you’re not embarrassed anymore! We should have a hummus eating party:)

  23. I really needed to read this today… because I’ve been feeling unsettled about my body requiring extra rest of me the past couple weeks, but it’s purely my perfectionism yelling at me. I’m going to try to keep reminding myself “rejuvenation… rejuvenation… rejuvenation!”

    Thank you! (Found you via FitBlog daily!)

  24. beautifully written and passionate post, I agree with everything you’ve said! 🙂

    You go girl! 🙂

  25. Wonderful post! I love the “exercise for vibrancy” and “rest for rejuvenation”! Most women/girls have battled with disordered eating/exercising at some point in their lives. It is great you are so honest and open about it and have a very healthy heart-centered mentality on eating, the body and living life! Woohoo! =)Also, I know you’ve mentioned you do yoga– and in my path it has helped tremendously to instill the belief system that you have expressed in this post. Just breathing and ‘listening to your body’ is a powerful tool to really begin to meet your constantly changing needs. One thing we need to remember is that we are always shifting to maintain balance– and to be open to flowing with that change is one of the best skills you can master in this life!
    Namaste.

    • Thank you!! It’s true, it seems that we all have dealt with it in some form or another. Thank you, it’s not always easy to be so honest! I agree, yoga is a GREAT way to help create self-peace! I love that – to be open to flowing with the change…I am writing that down!! 🙂

  26. GREAT post!! I have refused to see the movie so far because I have heard it was very disturbing, but you by far have the best outlook on it. And I think listening to your body and napping instead of working out was the best idea!

  27. Well said. I’m writing down what you said, exercise for vibrancy, and rest for rejuvenation. I LOVE that. It will help on the days I feel guilty about not exercising when I.am.so.freaking.tired. We need rest!

  28. The whole trying to be perfect thing is all too consuming. Some times I do things and then wonder who cares, no one saw that, no one is going to know I did that or didn’t do that, but in my mind it is another step towards perfectness. And that is exhausting.

  29. Great blog girl- know that everyone in the ‘blog’ and real world is there to help you always. No one is perfect and it’s hard to accept that but once you do- life is so worth living 🙂 ps you are gorrrrgeous as well xoxo

  30. LOVE this post! 🙂 Thank you for sharing this girl. 🙂

  31. Such a wonderful post!!! I too sometimes feel SUPER lazy for not going to the gym when my body was screaming REST!!!! But you know, I need to listen to my body. I need to live in balance with and within myself.

    Just wondering, how did you make your signature? It is beautiful! 🙂

  32. What a beautiful post! You are so right that none of us should EVER feel guilty about allowing our body to rest and rejuvenate. It’s all a part of a balanced life. 🙂

  33. Hi there, the picture towards the top of this blog post is launching a little bit weird in my opinion? I tried delivering an e-mail but it bounced again.

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