Lifting heavy things has transformed my life in so many ways that I can’t stop telling everyone I know how and why – and I’m completely unapologetic for it. This particular text made my heart feel all the feels because this lovely lady reminds me so much of my young self – in some sort of “Freaky Friday” coming of age story, but like one where I don’t have to be a teenager again and she doesn’t need 16 years to realize her worthiness like someone else we know. Ahem. *cough*
Yes, we all know that working out is great. Exercise is great. Moving your body is great and we all need to do it more. I know this. You know this. The benefits are endless – increased endorphins, better moods, weight/fat loss, better sleep, better sex, clearer minds, clearer hearts (I know we aren’t on Friday Night Lights, but YOU GET IT, right?!), increased strength…the list goes on and on.
At dinner last night with a couple of dear friends, this topic came up rather organically as we were sharing some vulnerabilities with each other – like friends do. Family challenges, relationship challenges, life challenges. We could all hear each other out and listen with intent and empathy – an amazing sign of true friendship – without judgement. I loved and continue to love this. This is safety and strength. It’s a sign of a truly strong person to show vulnerability because when you do, you are recognizing your full humanity. We all know that no one can be strong at all times. No one can be right at all times, and we definitely all have our moments in which we don’t know the answer or have made the wrong choice. THAT IS OKAY. THAT IS LIFE.
If you’ve read any of these blog entries over the last 72 weeks, it’s not hard to see that since allowing myself to acknowledge my own humanity in this way has opened my life to all kinds of opportunities I was actively avoiding in my life. As a result, I can tell you that accepting vulnerability is a straight shot to finding your inner strength. In our discussion last night, I mentioned that yes, I’ve had some struggles that have been hard and difficult and sad and traumatic. Who hasn’t? It’s all abou how you deal with them. Do you know that I used to live my life terrified of everything – scared of rocking the boat, sharing my feelings, trying new things, even just existing? I know that sounds weird coming from someone who stands by themself on a stage trying to make people laugh…but, newsflash: also a defense mechanism!
I remember the first time I squatted 95lbs in June of 2014. I was so terrified. I remember Coach Hannah telling me to my face that I was way stronger than I thought I was and that she couldn’t wait to see me realize it, too. That statement continues to stick with me and on that day, helped me find the confidence I needed to continue. Just a few weeks ago, I squatted 285lbs. It works. The positive earworms now replace the negative ones, and you know what? I am not scared anymore. I greet challenges with an, “I’ll try that!” instead of an, “I can’t.” or an, “I’m too scared!” My posture, as a result, is even different…which has changed how I approach situations and solve problems. They say the way you carry yourself also affects how attractive you appear to those around you. I’ll second this consdering how well my social life has been going. You know why? BECAUSE I take up space AND I OWN IT. Unapologetically. I am here. I have a place.
I WILL PICK THIS EXTREMELY HEAVY WEIGHT UP AND THEN I WILL PUT IT DOWN AGAIN BECAUSE I CAN.
I will see my muscles growing on my body and I will feel my brain being clearer and I will understand that I am taking care of myself because I absolutely deserve to be doing exactly that. I’m worth it.
Everything I’ve written above – and more – are reasons why this text I received from my young friend really made my life. You don’t always realize who’s watching what you’re doing, you know? We just go about our lives doing the things and talking the words and then one day, unsolicited, you get a message like the one above. And, in that moment, you realize how excited you are for a young, worthy, capable, strong, powerful woman to realize EXACTLY how worthy, capable, strong, and powerful she is…in life and in the gym.