EDD by Amanda Ajomale
Updated: Apr 29
Last month I delved into the history of the struggle with my body, and how important exercise was to me. Sure, exercising inevitably brings with it great physical results, but it’s the mental benefits that I generally look to when it comes to getting this little body of mine moving.
For as long as I could remember, I’ve had a very stern view of my body, probably as a result of non-stop comments on my size and weight as I grew from child to teen to adult. I guess in my culture it’s just a “thing” that happens. A woman’s body is always a topic for discussion, whether she agrees to it or not. And all that did for me was highlight every single “flaw” I felt I needed to work on.
A little example – I started noticing stretch marks on my bum at fourteen. When my mother saw them, she went on rant after rant about how she didn’t get stretch marks until her pregnancy, which obviously meant that there was something wrong with my body if I had them so early into my adolescence.
A few years prior to this, I’d lost a significant amount of weight after contracting malaria while at boarding school in Nigeria. I couldn’t eat to save my life. Literally. I survived off of IV fluids and the odd snack during my stay in hospital. When I came back home, I had numerous comments about how good I looked now that I was stick thin and, admittedly, still pretty sickly. And in my mind, I began to understand that sick = good.
Soooooo… I made myself throw up on the reg so I could stay skinny.
Yeah, but no one told me that was wrong. My mother laughed at me, most likely because she thought I was being dramatic. And my friends dismissed me because we’d been taught in school that people with eating disorders would do everything possible to hide it.
So I suffered with it in silence for another ten years until I met my first Facebook-official boyfriend. We’d spent so much time together that, out of fear of judgement, I hid my bulimia from him, so well that I accidentally just stopped purging all together and instead turned my focus to exercise.
But how do you exercise when you hate the postureo and monotony of gyms?
I found joy in dance, of course!
Everybody knows that pregnancy comes with an extra side of weight gain, so I looked forward to the post-partum dance classes I would inevitably join once the baby was born – not only for the physical benefits though. In the years that I had “overcome” my bulimia, I had learnt to take so much joy in expressing myself through the art of dance and music.
Moving to the beat of an atabaque or allowing my limbs to flow like water through the air where there was no base at all.
In its conception, Body Remedy offered exactly what I was looking for: a chance to get the body moving while connecting with other people, checking in on one another, feeling the link between the mind and the body and recognising that healing one means healing the other.
It was probably the first time I actually didn’t think about my weight; while capoeira was the intense, fun workout I needed to let out whatever frustrations I was feeling at the time, Body Remedy allowed me to feel the love within my “self”, and let that flow out through my base, my stomach, and my heart.
It was like reconnecting all the broken chakras to one another again on this path to both a mental, spiritual, and bodily healing.
Atabaque – a tall, hand drum used most commonly in capoeira, Maculelê, and Candomblé.
Capoeira – a Brazilian form of martial arts combining music with movement.
Fun fact: capoeira was conceived during the Transatlantic Slave Trade as a way for enslaved Africans to defend themselves against their slave masters. Music was introduced to disguise it as a dance after being outlawed by the intimidated slave owners.
Candomblé – an Afro-Brazilian religion of Yoruba and Christian origin. Similar to Santería and Vodou.
Postureo – I don’t really know the English for this, but I think it can most commonly be referred to as “posing” or “poser”.