I agree completely to the statement above. Girls aren’t born hating themselves/their bodies- we teach them to. That power- the power to influence someone’s life, we all have it. We have the choice to negatively or positively affect another person’s life.
I went with my mother to JC Penney’s recently, so she could buy a swimsuit. I stood outside of the dressing room, and couldn’t help but listen to all of the other people talking in the dressing room. All I heard were things like: “Ugh, I look awful!”, “I’m too fat”, and “I need to go on a diet”. I was upset. How could these people all have such a negative attitude towards themselves?! No wonder we grow up hating our bodies! I took a Child Psychology class in high school because, well, it fascinated me. Have you ever heard of “Monkey see, Monkey do”? That’s a real thing. We grow up watching every little thing that our parents/elders do, and we start doing the same things. We soak it all up like sponges. So, when I stood in the dressing room and heard all of the awful things people were saying it upset me because of the battle I’ve had with my own body. I grew up hating my body, and the thought that my niece could go through that scared the hell out of me. I grew up wanting to look like the people in the magazines. You know those tall, skinny, airbrushed people on the covers that don’t really exist… (Because let’s be real here, perfect doesn’t exist.) I was never enough for myself, and feared that I wouldn’t be enough for anyone else. Those fears came to life when a family member told me, “If you just lost a little weight, then you’d be the prettiest girl in your class.” That crushed me. That same person then would go on to give me dieting pamphlets multiple times. This started before I even hit puberty. So, no wonder I grew up having such a negative relationship with my own body. I bought into it. I believed what someone else wanted me to for such a long time. I am just now starting to have a body positive relationship with myself. I am enough. I am strong, and have a good heart. The shape of my body doesn’t determine who I am as an individual. *Mind blown* I determine who I am as a person, and I am choosing to be great. I am choosing to accept me for me. I don’t just work out to change my body. I make the choice to go to the gym to be able to live my life the way I want to live it. I do it to be physically and mentally strong, and to be the best that I can be. My body changing is just a perk of it. My whole life isn’t about being skinny and perfect. Being able to accept me for me is huge, and I am proud of the things I am learning and accomplishing on this journey. I hope that on this journey I am able to be a positive influence for someone. I want to be the person in the dressing room that says, “DAMN, LOOK AT ME! I’M BEAUTIFUL!” Sounds super cheesy, but it might rub off on someone and give them a different perspective when it comes to their own body. That would be something incredible.
Who’s your person? Who do you run to when you have some juicy news, or need some really good advice? Mine would be my father, or it used to be. See, the beauty of the whole situation is that I’m learning to depend on and trust myself. That’s kind of big a deal. Well, to me it is. I still second guess myself from time to time, but I’m making progress! I’m trying really hard to find the beauty in all of this, and working on focusing on the positives because the negatives can really suck the life right out of you. It’s pretty easy to get wrapped up in it, and can be pretty hard get out of it. It’s a choice. I also believe that each day is kind of like a test. What choice are you going to make today? So, I get up and put a smile on my face because I can. I get up and go to work because I’ve been given that opportunity to learn and grow as a person. I go to the gym after work because I’ve been given a body that is able to do some seriously cool stuff, and I’ll be damned if I let it go to waste. While we’re on the topic.. I broke the women’s deadlift record at the gym! 295lbs! Holy schnikes! I didn’t know my body could do that!! I’m a freakishly strong person.. I definitely surprise myself sometimes because I’m unaware of my own strength. At one time I was afraid to lift weights because I thought I’d get bulky. I was introduced to the weight room in junior high. I loved it. Had no idea what the heck I was doing, and neither did the adults in there, but knew I loved it. I felt right at home. You see though, there was this slight problem. I was one of the young girls that worried about what the guys would think. Boy crazy is a real thing! At least it was for me growing up. I was afraid of being strong. I was afraid that if the guys knew I was stronger than some of them, then none of them would want to be around me. Silly right? My dad noticed when I started to back off from the weight room and asked me what was going on. I told him I was afraid of getting too muscular. I was afraid that the boys wouldn’t like me. I’m shaking my head as I write this. What a silly reason to stop doing something you like. I didn’t know much about health and how the body worked at the time, and am still no expert by any means. I know more than I did back then though! So, there’s that! My Dad looked me right in the face and said, “You aren’t going to bulk up like a guy, and if a guy can’t handle your strength then he’s not someone you want around anyway.” BOOM. His advice was always perfect. Still is! We then started working out together at the gym in town, and he helped me find my strength again. Just like he is today, and everyday. He’s led me to a pretty incredible gym. One full of greatness that continues to amaze me. I even saw a sign hanging in the wall that said something about how girls shouldn’t be afraid of being strong. I knew I was right where I was supposed to be the moment I read that sign. I have me to thank for my hard work, but without that advice and push from my Dad I wouldn’t have the strong mentality that I do have. Some days it’s a little stronger than others, but it will always be there! I hope to pass it on to my kids..just like my father did for me. So, for me, strong is a choice. One of the best choices I’ve made and will continue to make on a daily basis. My next choice? To break my own record of course.
*UPDATE* That sign in the gym said, “The MYTH that women shouldn’t lift heavy comes from women who fear effort and mean who fear strong women.”
It has been a year of insane growth. We used to depend on my father for a lot of things. He was the man of the house. He did so many different things for all of us, and that’s how he wanted it to be. He loved providing for his family. So, when we no longer had that, we were lost. That was honestly one of the scariest parts of the whole process. It’s like figuring out how to navigate through your own storm without a compass. There are some rough patches…and at times you really don’t know which way is up. You have to learn how to trust yourself and the process, and it’s scary as hell at times. Trusting yourself can be hard. But you’ll then find that you aren’t as lost as you thought you were, and you actually know a thing or two. You find hope. Your faith in yourself (and the process) grows, and slowly but surely you start to find your way again. I’m missing my dad quite a bit today, and can’t help but think of how things would be if he were still here. It’d be so different. I wouldn’t be half of the person I am now. I feel bad saying that. I’d give anything to have him here, don’t get me wrong, but I probably wouldn’t have learned how to fight for myself in the same way that I have this past year because I’d still be pretty dependent on my dad. I’m proud of the strides I’ve made, and I think he would be too. He’d be proud that his daughter took matters in to her own hands and got herself in to a gym to better herself. He’d be so proud of her courage and strength. He’d be proud that through out some of the hardest times of her life she’s managed to become better, not bitter. He’d just be damn proud. I recently got a tattoo in honor of him. One that might not really make much sense to very many people, but to me it has depth and purpose. I got 2-01-16 tattooed on the inside of my ankle. That’s the day he passed away, and if I were to think about it from another person’s perspective I’d think, “Why would she tattoo such a sad date on her ankle?” Well, to me that date is one of fear, courage, and strength. It’s the day that changed me forever. It’s a mixture of dark and light phases of my life. There’s so much meaning wrapped up in those little black numbers, but if I had to simplify it, I’d tell you that I carry that day with me wherever I go. Every step of everyday; not a minute goes by that I’m not thinking about it. It’s a reminder to never take a moment for granted because each one has purpose. I’m starting to find my purpose, or so I think. It’s a pretty great one too. So great that once I get to the finish line not only will my dad be proud, but I will be insanely proud too.
Trials and tribulations. The rise and fall. We go through hard times, and then through easier times. Things are constantly changing. That’s life. In fact, change is the only constant we can really depend on. (And it can be a bitch for someone that sometimes struggles with the process.) I surely have some dark things to work through, but today is about some of my more recent challenges. Someone once told me that I’m a hard person to read. I don’t open up that easily to people I don’t know well- it takes me awhile. It’s been a goal of mine to be a more open and honest individual this past year, and I’ve felt like I hit a roadblock recently. I’ve been letting a lot of things get to me. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be this perfect version of me that doesn’t exist. I’ve been carrying this negativity everywhere with me, and it has slowly been wearing me down. The stress levels at work have gone up, and I started having stomach pains and problems sleeping. I became very frustrated with myself. I’d start crying any time I was alone from the frustration of not feeling like myself. By the time I’d leave work I was already spent. Worn out. Then I’d go to the gym and release some of my frustrations, but I felt like my work outs were slacking because I was so tired already. Then the frustration cycle would start all over again. I finally caved at work one morning and decided I needed to go to the doctor. I was thinking I had some kind of imbalance or hormonal issue going on. I rarely go to the doctor’s office unless it’s something that I feel needs attention. My blood pressure was higher than it’s been, and that’s when I knew that this was a bigger deal than I had been making it. Long story short- I’ve been dealing with some mild depression and my stress was starting to affect my health. It took a few days and I finally told my Mom about what was going on, which went well. We made a plan for both of us to start working on the things we need to work on. We are the same in the fact that we don’t like to keep our hardships on the surface for everyone to see, but rather bury them deep for no one to know about. That’s not healthy. The baggage is heavy and it’s time to lighten the load! I think we find our inner strength and courage when we bring our troubles to the surface and fight. When we face our fears. Fight for yourself, and know that you are worth it. Know that you are enough. It’s hard giving yourself credit sometimes too, especially when you’ve been so hard on yourself. Loving yourself can be both the hardest and easiest thing you will ever do. But man, is it worth it! It’s also one of the best parts of this crazy beautiful thing we get to call life. So, here’s to loving me. Here’s to the good fight. Me against me, and I’m one determined son of a gun.
HOLD UP. UPDATE. I forgot to mention one of the best parts! I had my one year gym-a-versary recently! One year of working out at one of my favorite places! ❤️Me some Grit Gym. Go check them out on Facebook and Instagram! Lots of good stuff on there!
It’s that time of year again. I usually look forward to the holidays, but I’m kind of fighting them this year. Yesterday we had our big family Thanksgiving for my dad’s side of the family at my mom’s house. It was rough even though we all went on acting like everything and everyone was fine. It becomes more clear every time we get together that my Dad was the center piece that held everything together. He loved the holidays. He was the one that cut the ham and turkey. He was the one everyone joked with, and the grandkids/nieces/nephews all flocked to. I kept waiting for him to come around the corner and sit down next to me like he used to. I wanted to hug him and just hold on tight. I miss his hugs. I miss the way we used to pick on each other. I miss how much we’d laugh at each other. I miss him telling me everything was going to be ok. I miss how he made me feel safe and secure when I needed it. I miss the way he and my mom used to stand in the kitchen and hug each other and then whisper, “I love you more.” I miss seeing my mom be happy and feeling complete. I miss his presence in general- he was my friend, my dad, and my rock. I find myself doing things to feel closer to him, like wearing his old shirts to the gym, or carrying this dove pin I wore on the day of his funeral with me(because it was the last place I actually was able to touch him and see him). As I write this, I realize that part of me is embarrassed for exposing my sadness, and part of me is proud that I’m letting myself feel it instead of run from it. Why am I embarrassed? I think it has a little something to do with wanting to be that happy-go-lucky positive breath of fresh air kind of person. Being sad is a real downer, and I’m not very good at it. I’d usually try to stuff that deep down and just keep on keepin’ on, but that can’t be good for the soul. I’m working on letting myself be vulnerable instead of shaming myself for having feelings other than being ok. I’ve been constantly wondering if I am playing the victim. Let’s face it, my dad died in this super traumatic and horrible way, but the only thing I can think of is that someone has it worse off than I do. I feel guilty letting myself be sad because of how blessed I am. I feel guilty being happy every once in a while too, but that’s a whole other thing. Its crazy stuff. I know he is here with us, but all I can think of is how things used to be. I’m fighting my new normal pretty hard. I’m sure it will get easier to accept as time goes on! My dad has been making his presence well known. He’s still an ornery little shit, so there’s that. So, it’s no secret I’ve been working on myself, and I’ve noticed I’ve been changing in quite a few ways. I’d like to think that I have my dad to thank for that. If it weren’t for him, then I probably wouldn’t be the person I am becoming. Sure, I’ve had something to do with it too, but he’s had a lot to do with bringing me to where I am. And to Grit Gym. My favorite place to be really other than home. (Or the beach) I am 100% positive that my father played a hand in that too. No doubt in my mind. I’ve met some of the most incredible people in there. Adam- he’s the owner/head coach. He is one of the most influential and genuine people I have ever met. The first time I met Adam was at my Strategy session. I was so nervous to go into a gym I had never been in before and ask for help. Before my dad died I would have waited for him to go with me because I was afraid to do things like that alone. To push myself out of my comfort zone. Adam made me feel like I still had a place in the world in all of the darkness I was experiencing, and that I could do anything. He helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel, and for that I will forever be thankful. He’s destined for great things, and I hope to have him in my life for a long, long time. Next comes Evan and Brent! They are both very funny people, just like me, so we all mesh very well. Brent was all business when we first met, but he eventually let the guard down. He’s another genuine and thoughtful person. Brent is a natural at what he does and I know he will go far in whatever avenue he chooses to pursue in life. He’s one of the good ones! EvDog(Evan), he’s one of a kind! I mean that in the best way. He started working at the gym not too long before I started going there, so we’ve been learning things on the fly together. I’ve noticed that he hates making mistakes, and tries his hardest to keep his cool even though he’s freaking out a little bit on the inside. All 3 guys hold a special place in my heart and came into my life when I needed good people in my corner the most. People seem to be around a lot the first week after someone dies, and then they all kind of disappear. So, perfect timing to gain three great friends. I hope they know I don’t plan on going anywhere any time soon, so they are stuck with this lady for as long as they’ll let me be in their lives. As far as the whole holidays thing goes, the only way out of the hard stuff is to go through it. It’s going to be tough. I’m sure it will hurt, but I’m strong and will come out of it(even if it’s on my hands and knees).
Things will never be the same. How could they be after losing someone you love so much? I won’t lie I do struggle with this whole grieving process, but maybe that’s the beauty of the whole thing. I might not realize it just quite yet, but I’m making strides. I thought that it was going to be easier than what it is, and that I’d cry for a few weeks (maybe months) and then things would get back to normal. But what is normal? There really is no such thing. At least I don’t think so. And how could things go back to the way they were with such an important piece of the puzzle missing? I’ve been looking for answers. Wondering why and how life is the way it is. Long story short- I didn’t find any mind boggling answers… I just found more questions. I ended up reading a book about mourning and how you need to give yourself permission to go on that journey. It also talked about how it will hurt and be a struggle, but it will be worth it. The book was an eye opener for me. I haven’t been giving myself that permission. I’ve been running from my feelings and closing myself off. Maybe that explains why I’ve been so worn out lately! (And it’s resulted in some serious sandbagging at the gym.) It’s frustrating as hell! I honestly have grown to love working out. It’s therapy for me. I wake up looking forward to being in the gym, and that’s a great feeling. I was trying to talk my Dad into getting back in the gym a few weeks before he passed away. Creeping in the back of my mind is the thought that maybe if I would have gotten him back in the gym sooner that he might still be here. Maybe if I would have pushed the subject a little harder, then he’d still be here. I have to quit thinking like this, and quit beating myself up for something I had no control of to begin with. The book also talked about inner strength. The kind that helps you get up after you’ve been taken out at the knees. The kind that helps you decide that you are worth it, and that you can keep going even though the only thing you really want to do is give up. The book talked about not knowing how strong you really are, which is true. I’ve been unaware of my own strength all this time. I’ve learned and accepted that it is perfectly fine to be a strong independent woman. (In fact it’s kind of encouraged now) It’s taken a lot for that strength to build and this girl is proud of what she has! Shortly after I started working out at the gym I would catch myself looking around at all of the signs hanging on the walls. I would get lost in thought because of those dang things because each one of them had such a powerful message. I couldn’t help it. One was about how women shouldn’t be afraid of being strong. We shouldn’t fear our own strength, and that because we are strong men won’t like/be attracted to us. My Dad used to say the something similar to me. I would tell him in high school that I didn’t want to lift heavy weights because I was afraid I’d get bulky and none of the boys would like me. I could also probably put lift a lot more than the boys I went to high school with. I’m freakishly strong. My Dad Would then tell me that there’s nothing wrong with being strong and if a boy couldn’t handle my strength then he didn’t deserve to be around me in the first place. That sign at the gym..it was meant for me. Just another reminder that my inner strength is going to grow through out this process as much as my physical strength. That’s amazing to me.
One of these days my posts won’t all be about my dad dying, but for now the loss of my father is still relatively new and this is how I am choosing to work through it. I never got to say goodbye to him, or thank him for everything that he taught me. If I could have had that chance, then these are just a few of the many things I would thank him for. I’ll keep this one short and sweet.
First, I would thank him for the common sense that he instilled in all three of his kids. Having common sense is like having super powers some days. Seriously, some of the people I encounter on a daily basis blow my mind.
Second, I would thank my father for showing us how to love, and how to treat your significant other. He taught us that a lot of work goes into having a good relationship/marriage, and it isn’t something that just happens like the movies can make it seem. It’s like building a house. The foundation has to be strong to ensure the house will stand through the storm.
Third, I would thank my good ol’ dad for teaching us that less is more (it is the little things in life). It isn’t about all of material things that you own. I’d rather have the memories over “the stuff”. At the end of the day that Gucci bag isn’t going to bring a smile to your face or hug you back when you need a hug(and if it does.. well, then so be it). To me though, at the end of the day it is all just stuff.
Fourth, I would thank my father for passing on his great sense of humor. Being able to joke around with people is awesome, and it’s even better when someone can throw it right back at ya.
[I have my mother to thank for all of these things too. My parents were like a power couple- they worked great together. I can only hope that I will be as blessed to find someone to build a relationship with!]