Gratefulness Challenge Day 4

Today is the first day that while writing I am reminded of why blogging scares me a little. This is the first post I am putting out there which includes opinions of mine that I know some people are strongly opposed to. So if you don’t like this one, maybe this blog isn’t right for you…? Don’t worry, I won’t take personally. And now back to your regular scheduled programming. The gratefulness challenge continues…

1. My C-I Training practice: When I was completing my dance degree I had this phenomenal professor, Donna Krasnow, who absolutely changed my life both on a personal and professional level. Meeting her might just end up being another item on the list on a day to come because she was THAT influential. Along with being a spectacular artists and teacher she was also profusely educated in a diverse range of subjects, including dance science. One of the thousands of wonderful things Donna has accomplished is to use her knowledge of dance and science together to create a conditioning program specifically for dancers. C-I Training, which stands for conditioning with imagery training, specifically targets the trouble areas dancers often have, therefore helping artists prevent and recover quicker from injuries. Furthermore, the use of imagery in the work helps the skills learned during the training transfer easier into more traditional dance settings.

In the first year of my degree I took an entire semester of C-I Training and though I enjoyed the program it wasn’t until I was injured myself that I began to understand the true genius behind the work. Half way through my third year I developed plantar fasciitis in my right foot. This lead to a slew of related injuries, a ton of doctors visit, a year and a half of recovery and not very much dancing. Suddenly understanding my body from a scientific perspective seemed even more important than it had before. I began to take more of Donna’s courses as well as to regularly practice my C-I Training work.

C-I Training helped keep my body in shape even when I could barely walk. It also helped heighten my awareness of my body’s alignment and natural movement tendencies. When my injury finally healed C-I Training had helped keep me in shape so I was actually able to return to dance without running a higher risk of becoming re-injured. I have now gone through the process of becoming a level 1 certified C-I Training teacher and plan on completing my level 2 certification in the coming year. I use the exercises in the program as part of my warm up, cool down, and teach components of it to my students. I also personally complete the program weekly and it is one of the best tools I have found for staying in check with how my body is doing and what it needs from day to day. I love that I can turn on the DVD, open the book or do it for myself all without spending money or leaving the house.

2. Public librairies: So first a funny story. When I was a kid (probably 4 or 5) I thought that we paid to borrow books from the library. Why is that? Well every time my mom and I went we had to pay fines. Our appetites for reading were apparently bigger than how fast we were actually able to read. I went to the library today and I owed them forty cents… I guess my mother taught me well.

In all honesty though, how cool is it that you can walk in to a building, browse shelves upon shelves of books, pick up a few that interest you, sign them out and then just take them home a read them. I mean yes, I can go to the store and buy a book, but what if I don’t like it? At the library I don’t feel bad if I get ten pages in and decide not to continue. It gives me the freedom to pick up things that I would probably never read if I had to pay twenty bucks for them for fear of not finding them interesting.

You may find my love of libraries outdated considering the modern world we live in where information is always being thrown in our faces but there is just something so great about the fact that anyone can get a library card and read a book. Education is empowering and making it accessible gives everyone the tools for self empowerment.

3. Reproductive Freedom: Ok so here is the point I was mentioning about putting my opinions out there with the knowledge that many people strongly oppose my beliefs. I actually thought of writing an entire post simply about this one topic today just because of how passionate I am about it.

I have never really thought of myself as a “feminist.” Probably because the term is generally associated with hippie women who burn bras and grow their leg hair. Personally I love my bras and am not so fond of my leg hair, but whenever the subject turns to an inequality a woman is currently facing I become EXTREMELY passionate and engaged. I’m suddenly ready to run out in the streets with a giant sign yelling and screaming on her behalf. So if that makes me a feminist I’ll wear the title with pride.

I was raised to be a strong, independent, and complex young woman. Never was I made to think that my gender was in any way an advantage or disadvantage for me in life; it was just my gender. I was allowed to like what I like, hate what I hate and speak my mind freely, as long as it was with respect. I’ll admit that the environment I was raised in slightly resembled a utopian world, but this utopia served the purpose of instilling faith in me that I was worth as much as anyone else.

My reproductive rights as a woman were on my mind yesterday for a few reasons. First because I watched a TED talk a few days back by Leslie Morgan Steiner about the cycle of domestic violence and why women don’t leave these relationships. Her talk had me heart broken and frustrated over the idea of a woman feeling powerless over her own life. Second I had to go get my health card renewed this week which caused me to contemplate my current health as well as my access to care. And then, while sitting in the Service Ontario office yesterday I got sent an article by Joyce Arthur talking about how Monday January 28 was the 25 year anniversary of abortion being legal in Canada.

And I literally sat there in shock because I’d had no idea that the decriminalization of abortion had been so recent. I felt a little ashamed that I was uninformed about the history of how abortion became legal in Canada. I started looking around at all the women over 25 around me realizing that when they were born abortion was not a realistic and safe a option.

I can walk in to a doctor’s office tomorrow and take my pick from a list of birth control options which will be prescribed to me with little hassle and ideally no judgement. If that doesn’t work I can go to a drugstore and for about $40 buy a pill that will protect me from whatever didn’t go as planned the night before. And if that isn’t successful I can go to a doctor and within a few weeks be scheduled for an abortion. I actually know people who don’t take birth control seriously because, as they put it, “Well if I get pregnant, I can just go get an abortion.” Not that I personally support that sexual choice, but the fact that you even have the option to treat the possibility of pregnancy so casually is (as much as I dislike this term) a privilege.

Then I started to think about my mom and what her reality was at my age. Sure birth control was available, but that’s not perfect. I have distinct memories of talking to terrified friends who thought they might be pregnant and, as a form of comfort, saying “You can get an abortion if you want.” That sentence wasn’t a part of my mother’s reality at 22.

There are still a lot of obstacles to overcome. Many women are still fighting not only for the legalization of abortions but also access to birth control, the end of child brides, greater access to education for girls and the list goes on. I look at the map below outlining where abortion is 100% legal around the world and I hope for a day when the entire planet is coloured green. I know that there are still millions of people around the world, even in my own country, that have strong moral opposions to planned parenthood methods. I myself choose to be grateful that those individuals have no hold over what I choose to do with my own body, and hopefully never will. I am grateful that my country views me for more than just my reproductive abilities, but as a valuable, equal member of society.

Abortion Laws Map

Referenced/Related Articles and Videos

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