The Stories

Why Do You Bar: Sara Scott-Curran

June 8, 2010

As we’ve seen from our growing collection of Why Do You Bar stories, students find an incredible variety of  inspiring reasons that keep them coming back to Bar Method class. Sara Scott-Curran, The Director of Retail at Bar Method HQ, recently shared some notes about her own journey and how taking class has made her stronger, healthier and more confident.Sara Scott-CurranSara says:“Yesterday, my seven year old daughter, Skyler, came up to me and asked if I could tell her what she needs to do to have muscles. “Mom,” she said, “I want strong arm muscles and big, strong calf muscles.” I stopped and asked her why, and she replied, “Because you have muscles and I want to be like you. So, what do I do?”The conversation stopped me in my tracks. I felt relieved, because in my life, and at her age, my question was always about “How can I be skinny?” When I learned I was pregnant with a daughter, I always worried that my own relationship with body image would shape hers. And, here she was asking me about how to be strong. It was a parenting victory that I didn’t see coming, but one I am grateful for.

From a young age, I was well aware that in our society, a woman’s value rested a lot on her appearance.  It was something you learned viscerally, without a word ever being directly spoken. The message was that you need to be skinny. You need to be thin. You need to be slight.  But, what I didn’t fully realize until recently was that the true message being passed on was don’t take up too much space. Make yourself, your body, voice and opinions fit into as small a space as possible.

I took this subliminal message to heart in so many ways when I was younger. I can still remember my first diet. Spurred on by a fight with my first boyfriend. I felt like if I could just lose a little weight, that I would be that much more attractive and that I would have the upper hand. What an odd thought, the only way to have power is to become so small I could disappear.  I covered my walls with images of Kate Moss, who was the Supermodel of choice at the time, ushering in that 90’s era standard of beauty. Over time I have been praised for the way my hip bones protrude, I have had boys remind me that I should “eat like a girl.” Looking back on it, I want to cringe.

With age comes wisdom, and a slower metabolism. Over time I have watched my male counterparts power pose in meetings and “manspread” on trains. I began to retrain myself to feel empowered and to take up more space. In conversations, and within the room. With that shift I have stopped valuing working at being skinny and started investing in being strong.

I don’t know what caused the shift in my perception of what type of body I find attractive. Maybe it started with the #fitspo revolution on Instagram, or maybe it started when a couple of close friends of mine started taking fitness really seriously, and I watched as they started to smile more and carry themselves differently. Maybe it was starting to think of my upcoming 40th birthday. But, in the last year there has been a palpable shift in the body type I am striving for.

There is a huge internal shift that happens when you start to truly appreciate your body and to take care of it.  When I took my first Bar Class, the teacher suggested a heavier weight for me, because I looked strong, and I just beamed. That comment washed over me like a ray of warm sunshine. It was a kind of pride that I never felt when someone complimented me for being merely thin. Strength was something I had earned. It was a badge of honor.

Bar Method has been a gift that  I never saw coming. It has strengthened every part of my body. And, while it gives a lot of women a dancer’s body, and a dancer’s grace, it has given me the “Momma muscles” my daughter now wants to emulate. She wants to take care of herself, the way I am.

I may not be a supermodel, and I am okay with that — I’d much rather be a role model.”

How has Bar Method helped benefit you? Use #whydoyoubar on Facebook or Instagram to share your story.