I am a tall person. I have long limbs, and I am almost always taller than everyone around me. This has been my reality from a very young age. It’s not like I had a sudden growth spurt in middle school. I was the kid that couldn’t fit in the tiny chairs in kindergarten because of my long legs. My whole life I have had people point out my height as if I have no idea that I am substantially taller than they are. These years of comments no matter how well meaning or harmless they were meant to be, have caused years of self doubt, general anxiety and low self confidence. Most of my life I have tried to find ways of making myself smaller, mainly by hunching over to take up less space in the world.
In middle and high school my outlet was playing music. Music is still a large part of my life as I have made music and playing the french horn my career. While all of that is rewarding and beautiful and difficult all at the same time, I really needed another challenge in my life completely separate from music. In 2009 I got it in my head that I was going to train for and run a marathon. I accomplished this goal in 2010 at the Twin Cities marathon and ran five more marathons over the next few years. Fast forward a couple of years, and two running injuries later, I felt defeated and frustrated. I had tried crossfit at a different gym that was just not the right fit for me. After a few months away from that gym I decided to try a different place, and I am so glad I did.
Enter Solcana and with that the community and amazing coaches. I knew after my first class with coach Hannah that this was going to be my place. The only reason my height is pointed out within these walls is to help make a specific move easier for me. Every body type is accepted and there are no limitations placed on me before I even try to do something.
I recently trained for my first olympic weightlifting competition after Hannah encouraged me to sign up for it. I thought it sounded crazy. I mean really how many super tall olympic weightlifters have you seen recently? Coaches Hannah, Morgen, Jerik and Ryan were all so helpful and fielded all of my silly questions throughout the process. Hannah said to me during training, “you know, this sport was not really designed with long limbed people in mind but, whatever we’re going to make it work anyways.” This stuck with me. Why should I limit what I can do just because I do not think I have the right body type?
A lot of the gymnastics moves (especially handstands!) are still terrifying for me, but I get in there and try them anyways because I have support around me and no one cares what it looks like. Everyone in class is just excited that everyone else is there trying these things together as a group, and we even laugh and have fun while doing it.
All of these things have helped me to chip away at the substantially thick armor I have built over the years. I still have a ways to go and I still have those days that I want to shrink smaller and smaller, but it is happening less and less. Solcana has given me a safe space to explore just what these long limbs can do.