Some of you don’t understand the connection/obsession with the barbell but that’s ok. Keep reading, it will all come together.
I’ve had a few conversations lately about my love of lifting. All of these conversations have been with other ladies. They just asked, “Do you REALLY love lifting?” I was quick to respond with a resounding “yes”. No hesitation noted, no need to think it through. Yes, all day long and twice on squat days, yes! I have always felt this way. When I think back to my first introduction to a gym I remember wanting to be there all the time. I was only 14 at the time so I never admitted it. I was too scared.
My mother always told me, “you’re so strong.” Not, “you’re so pretty” or “you’re so beautiful”. No, I got “you’re so strong”. Today, in 2013, it is encouraged to tell your daughter that but back in the mid 1980′s that was the last thing I wanted to hear. I didn’t want to be strong. I wanted to be Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles. I wanted to be a cheerleader and date the football star. I didn’t want to have strong shoulders, I wanted to be thin and wear tight Guess jeans. But I wasn’t; I was “strong”. And so, the love/hate relationship with my body began.
I was constantly at battle with myself. I loved the way I felt when I was in the gym but hated the way I looked. I HATED myself so much that I never let people take pictures of me. I’m still incredibly uncomfortable with having my picture taken. If I’m in a picture then I’m always in the back, hiding behind someone else so they can cover up all the imperfections I see. But that is changing. Slowly, with hard work, I’m allowing me to like me.
This is where the bar comes in. It’s a piece of steel. 45 pounds of polished steel with ball bearings and knurl marks. It hurts my hands and leaves me battered and bruised. But I go back because the bar is where I like myself. It’s where I accept my wide shoulders and ever-increasing in size lats that pull and shrug and move more weight over my head than I ever thought I could. The bar is where I accept and love my legs. The legs that squat and lunge and step and drag heavier loads than I thought possible. The bar is where I adore my arms when they are pressing or pulling or swinging or pushing. The bar has given me the confidence to accept myself where I never could before.
Some of you don’t have a bar, you have a paint brush or a pair of running shoes. Maybe it’s a bike or a camera or lump of clay. It’s whatever makes you feel good about yourself and gives you confidence. Whatever it is, go to it and do it often. Make sure it’s part of your daily routine. With all the negatives that are thrown at us we need to fight back by being good to ourselves. Learning to love our imperfections while we are on our journey to improve isn’t easy but necessary. My goal to be better has not changed. I have a long way to go to get there but starting to like the person I’m on the journey with makes all the difference. If my constant battle is with myself then I can’t expect to make any head way towards my goals.
I hope you have found your bar or bike or lump of clay. Life is too short to spend all your time working. Find something that brings you passion and confidence. You’ll know what it is when you can’t stop thinking or talking about it and how good it makes you feel. Your life isn’t a John Hughes movie where the script plays out like a fairy tale. We have to make our own happy endings and it starts with you accepting yourself, squat booty and all.