Much like I wrote about in my “Merfolk and their Weight” blog, fitness is very much a personal journey. I started documenting my fitness journey almost a year ago on this blog. For this entry I want to give a summary of the year, share some wisdom with my personal trainer, and let you know what I’ve come to learn is important for mermaids with their fitness!
A lot goes into being a mermaid. Whether you’re doing it for fun, or doing it as a job. Hair, makeup, costumes, and yes… fitness. It takes a lot of strength and stamina to be a mer, and being a mer can add an extra layer of stress to your body. You’re swimming, often in a very heavy costume, lugging loads of gear and sometimes kids, balancing precariously, and dealing with often stressful situations. Your costume puts a lot of pressure on your hips, knees, and ankles. The dolphin kick can put a lot of extra force on your lower back when it’s coupled with a tail that is either heavy or creates a lot of drag (resistance) in the water.
Back when I started researching for my third book: The Fishy Business Handbook for Mermaids, I asked the community what sort of information they'd like to see in the book. I had an overwhelming response asking for the experiences of other merfolk in different demographics. So I began running surveys and collecting experiences from different demographics from our mer-world. This included asking men about their experiences, asking the merfolk who are trans/non binary, looking at issues specific to merMAIDS, and a big request was research into the area of weight and body image. The information I collected went on to be in my book, and other blogs, such as the recent on on Mermen.
I ran a survey for months where anyone who identified as "plus size" (a term suggested) within the mer community could share their experiences. The survey results were published in my book, and now I'd like to share some of them with you all here! All of the photos you see were submitted by people who self-identified as "plus size" (or a similar variation) and were happy to contribute.
Over the years I have done my best to be an advocate for the male fish in this fishy world. From blogposts about how boys enjoy mermaids (and why we should let them), to interviews with prominent mermen to talk about the role men have to play in this female industry- I have really met some mermazing mermen.
As mer-biz owners or mer-biz performers, we often have to juggle many things on the go!
For the first part of this blog I’d like to get you thinking about the factors that determine how much you can invest in your business both with time and money, and what that investment means for your business. If you find this topic interesting, you can find further breakdowns of mer-demographics in my third book: The Fishy Business Handbook.
HOW DID I GET HERE? - The Back Story
If you told me all those years ago while I was in student teaching working toward my teaching degree, I’d have never believed you if you said I would open a mermaid school. I always envisioned myself as an elementary school teacher with a very linear path. I didn’t think that my classroom would end up being the local pool.
In the first years of my mer-career I worked part time while pursuing my two degrees and other employment. In those days mermaid schools didn’t really exist, but a company in Canada run by a woman and her Olympian husband would travel down to southern places and run seasonal tourism workshops. As mermaiding became more assessable, the Philippian Mermaid School opened to much criticism in the mermaid world. Nobody really understood at first how something like that could ‘work’, be sustainable, or be assessed. The joke was on us, because the school went on to be very successful.
Authors note: While people from all demographics enjoy mer-swimming and are represented in this article as well, I wanted to focus a bit on how this is a feminist issue and can negatively affect girls who experience the bans. Bans are bad for everyone, but add to a growing list of limitations placed on young girls.
If you’ve been watching the news in 2015 and 2016, you’ll see that mermaid performers, companies, and tails have been popping up more than they ever have in the 100 year history of the community.
Media pieces went from sensationalism toward something they saw as “fringe”, to interest and inspiration, to fears over drowning and exaggerating and misrepresentation.
I am here to set the record straight, backed up with facts and citations, on the use of mermaid tails and why I think the media and many pools are embracing the wrong mindset.
Free diving and breath holding often go hand and fin with the work mermaids do. Even if mers aren’t getting to do glamorous photos and video shoots in the open ocean, the basic safety skills for holding your breath and being underwater apply to everything we do.
Free diving – for those who don’t know- is a form of underwater swimming or diving that relies on the swimmers ability to hold their breath until they come up to the surface, rather than relying on a snorkel or scuba gear. It is done as a sport, recreationally, or even used as a tool for underwater fishing/scavenging. Aspects of free diving are also used for synchronized swimming.
One of the trickier things in the mer world, is getting people to accept you. What we do is a bit of a niche, fringe, and unique thing. This can be hard for people to wrap their heads around. Sometimes it’s the media, sometimes it’s family, and sometimes it’s just people on Facebook. This blog is going to look at some of the more common issues.
I do not have any formal business background like my partner Sean who has multiple degrees and certificates. I have sought out my own learning by taking workshops, seminars, professional development, and reading books. A professional development workshop I took recently, focused on looking at why Walt Disney was successful, and how we can apply his method to our own businesses. I’d like to share with you, what I learned from this workshop!
Are we as business owners mythical creatures?
In today’s blog I want to talk to you about the role that our cultural histories can play in our mermaid persona.
With so much buzz about “cultural appropriation” in the media, I have been working hard to understand it and know what I should be changing about myself. It is tricky, because some things are fairly obvious, for instances… I am not an aboriginal or native person. Thus, I don’t have the right to wear a war bonnet. Wearing an “indian” costume at Halloween? Blarg!
Other things are trickier. If I put rhinestones all over my face, am I appropriating bindis? At what point does cultural exchange cross the line to appropriation?
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The information in these blogs and video posts are for informational purposes only. Trying any of these suggestions are done so at your own risk. The creator/owner assumes no risk or liability and urges you to seek out professional training and advice.