In the months before we opened Remedy, I got the opportunity to take new and different classes at other studios in the area. As a fitness professional, even I thought I would feel cool, calm and collected walking into a different gym or trying out a new class. But it had been a while since I had ventured beyond my familiar spots, and to be honest, I felt a rush of insecurity and a tinge of anxiety stepping into each new place. It made me acutely aware that when you enter into any fitness studio, everyone is making themselves vulnerable. We are asking for help. We are soliciting guidance.
I learned a lot from those visits and I have tried to incorporate the best of what I experienced to create a welcoming and inclusive vibe at Remedy. But recently, I took the time to listen to a conversation between our friend Haley Winter and Sparkle Thornton about what it’s like to walk into a massage session as a Transgender person. This conversation, in combination with Pride month, made me reflect on what it might be like to walk into fitness studios that continue to perpetuate a gender-binary culture. It made me consider how uncomfortable that could be and how much courage it would take to walk into such a place. It made me acutely aware of how heteronormative barre culture is and made me want to change this so that Remedy can be a space where everyone in our community can feel empowered and gain a greater sense of ease in their bodies. It made me want to become a stronger ally.
When I first started practicing barre ten years ago, I am not going to lie, I did it because it gave me the results I wanted - results that were based on some patriarchal ideal of what an attractive female is “supposed to look like.” I am not going to tell you that I have completely moved beyond these notions. They are ubiquitous and persistent in our society. But I will tell you that after some humbling injuries, my motivation for moving and my language for teaching has drastically changed. At Remedy, we are about helping you feel healthy, mobile and in charge of your body. We are not about getting smaller or tighter or hard. We are sensitive to beauty, but not in any static form. It’s the kind of beauty you get because you are feeling yourself from inside, and the kind of beauty that, as Ani Difranco sings, “don't take good pictures 'cause” it’s “the kind of beauty/that moves.” It’s the kind of beauty that comes with the deep satisfaction of embodiment, free from gender constructs and liberated from heteronormative bullshit.
We don’t pretend to have figured this out. Maggie and I are white, heterosexual women and we are aware of our own experience, but we are striving to learn and grow from all the communities around us. We invite you to share your experience with us and call us on our blind spots. We wish everyone a very happy month of Pride. Our hearts are open and full of “love is love is love is love…”
For July’s First Friday, we are holding a donation based 30:30 class followed by a donation, happy hour wine bar to benefit The Trevor Project, a national organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth. We hope you can join us!