This Co-Founder of Dy.Nasty on scoliosis, guilt and her definition of beauty
I first met Sophie (and her Dy.Nasty co-founder, Kiera) as I spoke at Dy.Nasty's inaugural event - a space for women to meet, mingle, and hear stories of women starting out in their own respective fields (translation - Heaven!). Oftentimes, I've found that Canadian women tend to keep mum about particular stories or struggles - our hyper-kind inclination resulting in a sort of happiness-glaze that dilutes the real concerns we face on the daily. Inspired by the courage I've seen so many friends display, and also by Seventeen Magazine's latest Body Confidence initiative, I asked several contributors to speak about what their bodies mean to them.
At 15, I was diagnosed with Scoliosis, an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine. That was a strange moment, when someone prescribes you with a “condition” and all of a sudden, you’re able to blame this other thing that seems outside of yourself for your flaws. With a condition like Scoliosis, mild cases like mine can be somewhat corrected or at least controlled through a variety of different therapies, but this diagnosis becomes an extra piece of the puzzle, inevitably adding items to your already full plate.
And that’s when the guilt kicks in. This is one of the biggest hurdles I’ve reached in my journey towards developing a healthy relationship with my body, this feeling that I could always be doing MORE. More for my spine, more for my cardio, more for my mental health. This cycle of guilt about my health and in turn not feeling as healthy because I’m stressing out... well, it's counter-productive on all fronts.
These feelings aren’t always at the forefront of my mind, but every so often I tend to spin out into a ball of stress that gets exhausting. The solution I’ve found - but also the hardest part about body confidence - is in learning to shift my perspective about what a healthy body is. I’ve always held onto this idea that to become a healthy person with a healthy lifestyle, I would need to make some big sweeping changes. But now I try to remind myself that your health and physical fitness, doesn’t necessarily need a new hard-core exercise regime, and can be aided by simply becoming aware of your habits and changing the way you move and care for your body in small ways. Becoming more conscious of the subtle changes in my body and how it feels has allowed me to incorporate more movement and strength into my everyday routine (AND for the right reasons).
So, I’m now learning to do what feels good, to move when I need to, to wear what I want and to move through the world with a little more strength and purpose. Body confidence comes when I pay attention to me and less to the external factors I can’t control.