An expert analysis of Wilson Phillips’ Hold On.

break free from the chains | kourtney thomas fitness life coach

In case you don’t happen to follow me on Instagram and keep abreast of my running commentary of 90s nostalgia…I’m an 80s baby and a 90s kid, and I have no shame in my pride about it.

Because let’s be real, the 90s were weird and wonderful and truly, a decade like no other.

We had moon shoes and snap bracelets and Lip Smackers. BFF necklaces and Skip-Its and those Velcro hand paddle tennis ball game thingies. And then there was Sun-In and Magic Eye posters and Starter jackets. Also, Doc Martens and plaid and girl bands aplenty (ALL OF WHICH NEVER WENT OUT OF STYLE, THANK YOU).

I could go on (it’s really hard not to go into Zack Morris and jelly sandals and Clueless), but that last bit I wanna talk about. Girl bands. Specifically, Wilson Phillips.

If you’re not familiar, Wilson Phillips was pretty ubiquitous in the early 90s, with their debut, and of course, most famous, single, Hold On, knocking Madonna’s Vogue off the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100 in June of 1990. Other singles did well, but this one holds a special place in a lot of our hearts.

Personally, I can remember belting this one out riding around with my parents in the car, watching the music video on MTV, and listening to my cassette tape through my big ol’ wired up speakers or Walkman. You know how it goes (even if you don’t feel this nostalgia and just like the movie Bridesmaids):

SomeDAY someBODY’S gonna make you wanna turn around and say goodBYYYYEEE-YIII!

This song always gets me cranking up the volume, and it always puts a smile on my face, remembering the video. (Which, by the way, I watched again recently, and while I remembered the awkward beach-sitting, I didn’t remember the exceedingly awkward mountain sitting. Check it out for a laugh.)

Now, here’s the thing about this song: it’s actually pretty freaking good.

Both the Wilson sisters and Chynna Phillips came from musical families (The Beach Boys and The Mamas and the Papas, respectively), and they know what they’re doing. While the pop culture surrounding this song over the years has erred toward comedic, the lyrics aren’t.

So, every time I hear this song, yeah, I belt it dramatically. But also, I feel it dramatically.

The best thing about it is that it’s kind of intentionally vague. You can interpret the pain they’re singing about as that of a broken relationship, as internal pain, as trauma. I’ve felt it as bullying, insecurity, and confidence issues. And in the past couple of years especially, I’ve felt it as an awakening, a call-out, a reckoning of sorts, with the BS we’ve been told our whole lives about how to live and who to be.

For how many years – decades – have so many of carried the weight of conditioning, manifested through guilt and shame about who we are and how we live our lives, especially as women? And for how long has that been specifically related to our bodies?

I know there’s pain.

God, so much. It does feel like we’re locked up in chains some days. And honestly, I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. I’ve heard from too many women, too many friends, colleagues, clients, and perfect freaking strangers, that that’s exactly what it feels like to live inside a body that doesn’t seem to meet society’s standards. Or, to live in one that does. This kind of pain doesn’t discriminate.

Now, the great part about the progression of this song, and perhaps why I like it so very much, is that it’s direct. I don’t pull any punches, and Wilson Phillips don’t either. They confront the pain, the struggle. They own the fact that we have choices.

You could sustain. Or are you comfortable with the pain?

While I won’t go so far as to say you’ve got no one to blame for your unhappiness in this department – again, toxic fitness and diet culture have played a role for generations, so you didn’t really get yourself into this mess – there is something to be said for the sustaining part. It somehow becomes easier to bear the weight of every external expectation placed upon us rather than disrupting that pattern, unlearning that behavior that keeps us in our pain pattern and choosing a different path.

So, we keep buying shakes and disgusting diet meals in boxes. We sweat until we feel like we’re going to puke. We buy every new book that comes onto the market. We stuff ourselves into shapewear so uncomfortable we can barely breathe or move. We even take dangerous supplements. We talk shit about celebrity bodies and ourselves.

Don’t you think it’s worth your time to change your mind?

(Whooooaaaa-whooaaa!)

I came into this year focused on hope. Kinda bursting with it actually. Still am. And one of my biggest hopes is that someday, somebody’s gonna make you wanna turn around and say goodbye to every should and every bit of BS you’ve ever believed when it comes to what your body needs to be.

Don’t you know things can change?

It’s so, so hard to believe, I know. I’ve been through it too. (Ask me. Never assume what someone’s been through just by looking at their body type, please.) When this is so familiar to your everyday, it seems like a completely foreign concept to even entertain the idea that things could be different.

That you wouldn’t have to constantly count calories or look at labels or worry about every bite you’re putting in your mouth or feel like a terrible person every time you eat something processed.

That you wouldn’t have to force yourself to exercise when you’re so exhausted you can hardly think or put up with a screaming trainer who’s essentially fat-shaming you for an hour.

That you could go for one whole day without obsessively thinking about your body, how it looks, how it moves, what it wears, how big or small it is, bulky or soft, attractive or ugly.

That you could actually be content in the body you have, accept it, maybe even one day embrace it and be truly happy and fulfilled in it.

But what if you did, just for a little bit, entertain those ideas? You’re here, so you’re a conscious, interested, and self-aware person. Isn’t it possible that this could be real in your future?

Just open your heart and your mind.

Breaking free from the chains of shoulds and BS fitness lies is exactly what Fitness Unraveled will help you do in the next three months. You don’t have to let anybody hold you down and make you cry any longer. If you let me be your somebody, I promise, things’ll go your way.

Just think about it:

Is it really fair to feel this way inside?

It’s not.

It’s not fair to you to have to hold on to this burden, to keep going the same way you’ve always gone, to sustain this pain. It’s possible to make change, if you’re open to it. (Remember the client I mentioned yesterday.) And you don’t have to do it on your own.

Break free, break from the chains.

 


By the way, it’s not lost on me that Carnie Wilson has been scrutinized by the media for her weight struggles since the beginning and to this very day. In fact, check out the video again – you’ll notice she’s wearing a blazer to Wendy and Chynna’s bare arms. Because obviously, we gotta cover up the fat one! Ever notice that stuff? Yeah, that’s internalized conditioning, and it’s stuff we’ll work through in the group. If you have questions, email me, or check out the FAQs.

Coaching can be daunting, so let’s ditch that and just talk about what you need.

Book your (completely free) call to see how this feels in your guts.

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