What’s my power?
I’m a mom. Yep, I’m the mother of a little girl and thats’s a BIG DEAL. Having raised 2 now teenage boys, I was never really concerned with feminism, other than requiring that they treat women and girls with respect. Well, I was blessed with my now 5 year old Camryn and I’ve made it my personal mission that she never feels limited by gender and that she never stifle her creativity by conforming to societal norms.
I’m a people watcher. A parent watcher. I pay attention, listen to the stories of others, their mistakes, triumphs and general life lessons. I especially reflect on my own past. As the saying goes, ‘Why try to reinvent the wheel — just get an alignment! Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand that in order to learn and mature she’ll have to go through some stuff, but I hope to pass down some knowledge that could make her journey less tumultuous.
In that, I watch her closely and listen carefully to the impressions that people have of her. Parenting is such a delicate responsibility; we want our kids to be their creative true selves while still fitting neatly into society (yeah, right! Right?). Mostly, I hope that Camryn will continue to wake every morning with that goofy smile on her face, regardless of whatever went on the day before.
So… one of my superpowers is that I’m a fitness professional; I am especially concerned with her understanding of health and how it relates to body image along with overall wellness.
Perception is powerful!
It’s been a long road, but it was inevitable that I would find a career in health and fitness. For years I watched my mom leave the house to go to aerobics classes; I thought she looked SO cool and fit in her leotard and leggings, but there was never much talk about exercise or what to eat, mostly about how much not to eat.
Growing up, I was aware that my shape was not that of many of my cheerleader/ dancer friends. I was chubby. The solidification of negative thinking happened after trying on my Easter dress at 10 or 11 years old. I was told by my mom that she would not buy the next size up, and I heard ‘You better not get any bigger than you are right now’. Yep, that pretty much did me in. I do understand that she meant well and this was her way of helping me fit in. Today she is one of my biggest cheerleaders! Over the years, I went through the gamut of yo-yo dieting and over exercising, with a seemingly impossible goal to be thin. Who cares as long as I look good. Being healthy is about not getting fat. Right?
After my second child in my mid 20s I lost eighty pounds (of ‘baby weight’) within 2 years. Enter some of the healthy mentors in my life. The Step classes that I frequented were led by Cindy, an amazing aerobic instructor who was well into her 40s. She undeniably had the most positive attitude toward fitness of any one I had ever met. I’d never seen anyone so high on life and full of energy. Cindy decided that I was to become a fitness instructor. Still on my mission to lose weight, I just wanted to hide in the back and take the class. “You can do this. Be ready to teach this class in 2 weeks”. I did it and I was instantly hooked. Talk about empowerment, that was one the most difficult tasks I’d ever taken on. This established in me a drive to try anything that I thought was out of my reach. One of the male members declared to the class one day that I did not ‘look’ like a fitness instructor. Although that pissed me off, I used that negativity to come back during my yearly visits home very much ‘looking’ the part.
Diagnosed with pre diabetes at 26, I reflected back to my grandmother and how she would sit me down at the kitchen table and show me what she scored from the health food store. To a 10 year old, this place didn’t sound like much fun at all! “Grandma, do you have any normal chips?” I remember how she and my grandfather would go for daily walks but I thought it was because they were bored, being retired and all. She is now in her nineties and still able to live at home with some assistance from family. I so admire her obsession with wellness which has been partly responsible for many of my current habits. I used to wonder why she read so many books and articles about health and nutrition. Last year I took at least 5 of those books home with me. I get it now. That was one of her many superpowers.
It’s about more than just looking good.
In the past, I’d maintained my ‘looks’ for so many insignificant reasons, but now I focus on looking strong and healthy in order to keep up with my kids. I also try to be tuned in to my daughter’s perceptions and misconceptions of health as it relates to looks. What we say to her matters. My power is in the past and how I use it to improve the future.
So, what’s your super EMpower? Every moment you have with a little girl, use your power for good. SHARE THE KNOWLEDGE. I’ll continue to influence others to be healthy and balanced. Together we can create a female force that is strong, intelligent and compassionate!
Adora Ladisic has spent the last 15 years working as a Wellness Coach, Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer passionate about improving the health outcomes of individuals and families. Born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan she now resides in Lawrenceville, Georgia with her husband Dulle where they are parents of two crazy amazing teenage boys and a creative 5 year old girl. She is an active volunteer in her community, particularly through her church and a musician.