A lot has changed in the last few months. I got a job, on top of my full time job, so I guess some would call that a second job (shoutout Brewery Bhavana). It was the holidays, 𝓃𝑜 𝑒𝓍𝓅𝓁𝒶𝓃𝒶𝓉𝒾𝑜𝓃 𝓃𝑒𝑒𝒹𝑒𝒹. I competed in a powerlifting meet the first weekend in January which had some pretty rigorous training. AND to top it all off, I moved.
𝙱𝚄𝚃 𝙰𝙽𝚈𝚆𝙰𝚈𝚉… Last time I told y’all how hard it is for me to achieve body positivity and how we shouldn’t just accept the stigma society has placed around having certain body types. Now, the question is, how do we achieve that???
It’s different for everyone. For instance, I will literally never be a runner. It doesn’t make me feel good about myself. 𝙸 𝚓𝚞𝚜𝚝 𝚌𝚊𝚗’𝚝. 5 min in and I’m done, callin’ it quits, I’m going to get a slice of pizza, catcha later.
But I was lucky enough to find MY thing about 4 years ago…
ＰＯＷＥＲＬＩＦＴＩＮＧ. dun dun dun.
Powerlifting totally transformed the way I think. It completely 𝓂𝑜𝓇𝓅𝒽𝑒𝒹 𝓂𝓎 𝓂𝒾𝓃𝒹𝓈𝑒𝓉. I became an overall more positive person in my thoughts and actions. And with that came 𝑜𝓋𝑒𝓇𝒶𝓁𝓁 𝓅𝑜𝓈𝒾𝓉𝒾𝓋𝒾𝓉𝓎 𝒶𝒷𝑜𝓊𝓉 𝓂𝓎𝓈𝑒𝓁𝒻, especially the way I looked or perceived myself to look (which is more important imo).
Powerlifting has given me the confidence and strength to succeed in almost every situation, physical and mental. I began to see myself in a new light. 𝙸 𝚚𝚞𝚒𝚝 𝚜𝚎𝚌𝚘𝚗𝚍-𝚐𝚞𝚎𝚜𝚜𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚖𝚢𝚜𝚎𝚕𝚏. I stopped having to make two trips to bring in the groceries. But most importantly, I stopped caring what people thought of me because I finally knew I was enough.
What’s funny is my body didn’t even change all that much!! I never got a six-pack, I didn’t lose any weight, (I actually think I gained it, but that’s neither here nor there).
But what did change was the belief I had in myself, and in my abilities.
Don’t get me wrong, I still face difficulties and challenges everyday that make me wonder if I should keep doing this, if I am capable of certain things, if I will actually succeed, or if I should just give up altogether.
The amount of times I have been underestimated and [knowingly or not] belittled in the gym is 𝑜𝓊𝓉𝓇𝒶𝑔𝑒𝑜𝓊𝓈.
I have had tons of 𝚙𝚎𝚘𝚙𝚕𝚎* (yes, read men) scramble to my side if they think something seems “too heavy” for me. I have been skipped (guess by who) numerous times while waiting for my turn on a squat rack. I have had 𝚙𝚎𝚘𝚙𝚕𝚎* look me in my eye and say “𝓌𝑜𝓂𝑒𝓃 𝓈𝒽𝑜𝓊𝓁𝒹𝓃'𝓉 𝓁𝒾𝒻𝓉 𝒽𝑒𝒶𝓋𝓎 𝓉𝒽𝒾𝓃𝑔𝓈”. The barbell has literally almost been ripped from my hands because 𝚝𝚑𝚎𝚢* didn’t trust my womanly strength. I have had 𝚙𝚎𝚘𝚙𝚕𝚎*** interrupt me mid-workout to ask if I know what I’m doing or offer up unwanted form critique and unsought lifting advice; when they wouldn’t dream of doing the same to their male counterparts for fear of making them feel secondary.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Not all men are like this. Some of my biggest fans are those guys who believe in my strength more than I do. But every little interaction like this chips away at the mental strength and assurance I’ve built up. 𝐵𝓊𝓉 𝐼 𝓌𝒾𝓁𝓁 𝓃𝑜𝓉 𝑔𝒾𝓋𝑒 𝓊𝓅, 𝐼 𝓌𝒾𝓁𝓁 𝓃𝑜𝓉 𝑔𝒾𝓋𝑒 𝒾𝓃.
Yes. I am a woman, but I am a STRONG woman. I am a CAPABLE woman. And I will never let anyone forget it.
Despite all of the other bullshit, the hardest part for me is the mental battle. The always looming questions: “Can I Do This?”, “Am I Strong Enough?”, “Am I Good Enough?”, most simply put; “Am I Enough?”. The answer is yes. The answer is always yes. Convincing yourself of this is the most difficult part. But I promise you, once you do this, it’s all just a walk in the powerlifting park.
I know powerlifting may not be YOUR thing. But you have a thing. And whatever that thing is, find it, do it, and do it to the best of your ability and don’t ever let anyone make you feel inferior when it comes to that thing. It is your’s. Protect it. It will empower you. It will change your life. It will change you.