Welcome back to our Magnificent Mamas series, where we invite inspirational mums to share their story with you. The series had taken a bit of a hiatus but I think sharing stories is really important. It’s great for you guys to hear from people other than boring old me once in a while, so I’m planning to get this series back up and running on a regular basis.
And this month, well, we’re back with a bang. Here is the fabulous Michelle Smith, mum of two and owner of The Pilates Pod, an award-winning Classical Apparatus Studio in Hitchin. Michelle set up the studio back in 2011, with a five-month old baby and a four-day-a-week job at a studio in Harpenden. Magnificent Mama indeed.
As soon as you meet Michelle, you can see why she’s been so successful. She’s intensely passionate about her work, super knowledgeable about Classical Pilates and how our bodies work, and is absolutely dedicated to helping people improve their lives through better movement. It’s no surprise to me that Michelle has been awarded a Women in Business WOW award by Jacqueline Gold.
But Michelle has a very important message to share. Throughout her life, she has been bullied. And now, as a successful business owner, she is experiencing being body shamed by anonymous members of the public as well as by fellow professionals. And you know what? She’s fed up of it.
So Michelle has launched a brand new national campaign called ‘Your Body Rocks’ – where we celebrate our unique bodies and help put an end to body shaming. We’ll be supporting the campaign here on Mums Off Duty, and I really hope you’ll get involved too. Please read on to find out more from Michelle.
“Bad role model to Pilates profession”
These are just some of the words used, by others, to describe me to my face, to my inbox, behind my back, or on social media.
Over the years, I have been bullied by winning a talent competition singing.
I have been bullied for being flat-chested growing up.
Then bullied for having curves!
I have been followed, punched, kicked to the ground, spat on by large groups.
I have been physically attacked by strangers.
I have been sexualised by others who thought my body was infact theirs to touch and comment on.
I have been taunted by being able to speak German.
I have been threatened with a glass bottle for making others laugh.
I have been criticised to potential clients for not having any Pilates skills and knowledge!
I have been jeered at and then banned from Pilates groups.
I have been trolled directly to my inbox from (anonymous) sources pretending to be my clients, telling me I am useless, fat, a heffer, and a bad role model.
But I wear this AWAREcauses blue Anti Bullying necklace as a reminder to me, and to my bullies, and to you, if you have or are experiencing similar issues…
“Let your smile change the world, but don’t let the world change your smile.”
Join us in a celebration of what our bodies can do, achieve and have gone through, not what they look like. Let’s shake off this image of fitness perfection.
Let’s stand up and say NO ITS NOT OK to body shame.
Join a new UK campaign, Your Body Rocks. Make a difference. Spread kindness. Spread the word. Because hear me when I say to each and everyone of you…YOUR body rocks!
How you can get involved
We’re looking for volunteers to help decorate 150 rocks with body positive pictures and messages and leave them in and around Hertfordshire – the hub of Your Body Rocks.
- Share Me – if you find one of the rocks, take a photo of you and the rock of positivity and share on social media with the #yourbodyrocks
- Tell us your story – a celebration of what your bodies have achieved, have gone through and battled. Read my story here.
- Hide Me again – re-hide me somewhere else for someone else to find (don’t hide them too well!)
- ROCK OUT –Support the campaign by creating your own rock to sprinkle out into the universe. Paint, scribble with a Sharpie, decorate however you like with body positive images and words. Get creative!
- Host your own ‘Rock Party’! Get your friends round and paint, rock n’ roll!
Embrace the movement in body positivity with us and celebrate how YOUR Body Rocks.
You can find out more on our website.
This is such a lovely idea, I need some body positivity especially when embracing my new figure after giving birth.
Oh what a fantastic idea for a series. I must admit I have been looking for something that will help my mind and body and I think that this would be good for me. My body did something amazing and #MyBodyRocks
This is a great idea. After two kids I am learning to love my new body shape!
This is awesome. Hats off to Michelle. We all need more positive vibes like this – sounds like she has been through a lot in the past.
Well done to Michelle – what a fab thing to do. I wish her so much success with this.
It’s crazy that people will tear you apart for literally anything; you really cannot please everyone. I love the painted rocks idea! We love painted rocks and these have such an amazing message, I hope lots get painted.