I would like to dedicate this post to my Nana whom my family lost Sunday morning. She was a Nana of grace, wisdom, and most importantly of quiet strength. She did not powerlift in the same way we do, but she carried a great deal of joy and of struggle in her life teaching us all how to “lift” more than we think we can. May she continue to watch over as my journey of strength both spiritual and physical as well as the journey of my entire family continues. Thank you Nana, we can carry it from here, you made sure we were ready.
Strength……….what does it really mean? I’ve written guest posts in the past talking about how I’ve grown physically stronger working with my coach, and other teammates, but real strength transcends the obvious sometimes. When I first joined Gym Laird over two years ago, I wanted what we all want when we join a gym……”to get in shape”. If you really tune in though, really listen to yourself, your fellow gym-goers, your teammates, your coach, your “tribe”……something else will happen that will make you stronger in many other ways.
See, I have always had a certain image of my body and ultimately myself that has been a driver for big and small decisions throughout my life. As it relates to the physical, I used to wear clothes that were much bigger than they needed to be. Enter psychoanalysis…..what was I hiding, what was I hiding from? Okay – skip the analysis and just tune in. Through the process of getting physically stronger, I developed relationships with my teammates who I now know as my friends that helped me come out of hiding in other ways, helped me to get stronger in really important ways.
Being a new Miss Fit, I’ve followed and read posts from different members of The Miss Fits who take great risk to make themselves and their process vulnerable to their readership. As I’ve come to know them as the tremendously strong women they are both physically and emotionally, I’ve come to admire that vulnerability but I’ve also seen the necessary process it takes to get there. I have heard them supporting one another, I have seen their comments on their Facebook page and blog whether it’s responding to an online stranger’s support or criticism they rely on their strength – individually and collectively. Recently, as I listened to two teammates go back and forth about a photo to post that shows some before and after images, I was reminded that the way we see ourselves and the way we need to express what we see in others is often at a crossroads. Those images are not posted to invite criticism or evaluation of how they look or whether or not they should have posted them in the first place. Those images are meant to expose a vulnerable process we all go through. This courage is not about “look at me, look at me”, but rather it’s about “join me”, “find YOUR process”, “take a step” as hard as it is because I’ve done it too.
I now wear clothes that fit better and I’m less anxious about being “seen” for having a body. Does that mean yoga pants and tank tops for me…………not yet. It does mean that if I want to admire courage then I must exercise courage. I don’t look better than you or anyone else, but I do look better to myself, and as women we need to shower each other with genuine support for where we are and where we want to go. Each path is different, each goal is different, but tearing each other down, criticizing the courage it takes to try to inspire, and expecting our fellow women to have the same goals as we do is simply not the point. Congratulate each other for the day we start to make small changes and encourage each other to step into clothes that fit, to wear that bathing suit we always wanted to, to start with the tank top at home and eventually make its way to the gym, to stand on a platform in a singlet. Whether it’s the strength we carry on the bar that’s on our back or the strength we carry in our heart to be courageous and vulnerable, we should do our best to commit to trying.
Don’t be afraid to share your “I didn’t think I could” stories with each other because trust me, they are not isolated, we all have them. Strength…………..it IS more than the physical and once you start to let it nourish yourself, your attitude, your perspective, then so very much more can change than the clothing size you pull off the shelf!