Today's Thin Girl is the brilliantly superb Alison Vodnoy, an actor from Cincinnati, Ohio. Alison is the best way to start off the new year here at SmellyGirl. Listen to her words of love, common sense, wisdom, and start redefining your sense of body and health. Happy New Year Week!
As a thin girl, what advice would you give to anyone losing weight?
I don't know that I would call myself a thin girl. I'm just a girl, living in this gorgeous world, surrounded by gorgeous people. And that's the advice I would give. Let go of your perceptions of yourself, let go of the labels you've heard or created or internalized as the definition of You. Release the ideas of "skinny" or "fat," "good" and "bad," "attractive" or "unattractive"; someone else made them up, so they have nothing to do with the truth of your body.
Letting go of what people told you to do with your body, and moving past what they defined it as, will help you find the purest form of what you are. Then you can lose the weight of the heavy definitions and expectations that are placed upon women from external, inauthentic sources.
How do you feel about your body?
When I listen to my body, and respect its needs, I love my body. During the times when I allow my self-perception to be altered by external notions of what my body "should" be, or what it "should" do, I am at odds with it. Frankly, that doesn't make either one of us happy. Women are so inundated with expectations for their bodies - what to wear, what not to wear in order to avoid the dreaded skankiness, how many people to sleep with, how much to eat, how much to exercise, what is being a "good" or "bad" girl. We're caught between chastisements for going too far or not far enough in every single one of those aspects, and if you ask me, it's all bunk. When I stop asking other people those questions and I ask myself, I find the answer that vibrates the truest in my body, and my cells. That's when I'm happy, that's when I'm full, that's when I can shed the pounds of guilt, that's when I can love my body.
What is the one habit you swear by?
Yoga and Veganism. That's two habits, but for me, they're connected. In both ways I feel that I'm honoring my body, and creating a better awareness of it. Why? First of all, both make me feel f-ing spectacular! Second, both promote peace and openness in the world, and putting that energy out, I also feel it within. Everyone has a different path to feeling that same thing, but for me, in becoming vegan I felt more free because I was no longer putting things into my body that had suffered. When I stopped consuming pain and violence, it was no longer in my body.
What inspires you?
The strength of the human heart. We experience so many things, and we go on. And we try again with the potential that anything could happen. The human heart has the potential to be a bottomless source of trust and love. When it breaks, it grows back stronger. When it's burned, it comes back cleaner with things we didn't need to begin with burned away. The strength of the human heart, and the power it has both alone and united with others, inspires me.
I recently got sick and was faced with a lot of challenges in continuing to rehearse and perform a very physical play, and teach yoga during the days. I found myself constantly frustrated and disappointed with my body. In my mind, my body was failing me and keeping me from being able to do everything I wanted to do. What I realized was that, my body, and all of the things it went through during that time, was a miracle. It didn't let me down - rather it tried to tell me what it needed, and I let it down by not listening. A body is like a lover - if you ignore it, or deny it when it speaks, eventually it will fight back. Or even worse - it will stop speaking all together. But if you are dedicated to an open communication with your body, and to giving it what it asks for - whether it's food, rest, activity, sex, or stillness - you can find that elusive and complete union where you're both happy. When I practice that, I find the purest form of me. And that form is not my body - it is my heart. It is my ability to love.