Hope your week is off to a great start! Mine definitely is. Daniel and I went to Atlanta yesterday for our ONE Braves game of the season. Just like last year, ya know, might as well wait and go for the very last home game. Except this year, there will hopefully be more home games since they are headed to the playoffs! Atlanta is by far one of my favorite cities. The weather was perfect. The Braves WON (despite not playing many of their starters to give them some rest, and it being a frankly, pretty boring game). Anyway, GO BRAVES. Next up, everyone tell Daniel he needs to take me to a Falcons game.

Ok, so great news! I entered this little giveaway on social media this past Saturday with Brute Strength. The winner won a FREE trip to their Athlete Camp in AUSTIN in LESS than a MONTH. This is a BIG DEAL. You know how those giveaways go.. you do them, and you try your best…BUT you don’t expect to actually get picked. I actually did all 3 workouts (mostly because they were fun). I even redid the burpee/wallball one because I originally did wallballs first, then burpees… but it was the other way around. (Always working on following directions). I did it again, because if you’re going to do something, you do it right. WELL, I WAS CHOSEN! This means so much to me. I have so much respect for them. The Brute Strength podcast is one of my favorites too. And now, I’ll get to go learn from them for a few days. ANDDDD in Austin, Texas. I’ve always wanted to go there. This is a dream come true. Anything is possible, y’all! SO THANK YOU. I know it will help me to be a better athlete and coach.

Ok, moving on! The real reason you’re here. Last Wednesday was a typical evening. Daniel and I went to Chipotle. I left and ran by the store. Some kind man looked me up and down in the checkout line before saying, “Since when did they make women like you?!? Excuse me, what? I get comments like this from time to time – mostly from overweight men. At the end of the day, they really don’t bother me. They actually make for great stories.

That night, I did one of those polls on instagram – directed at girls who have more of a muscular build (maybe because of CrossFit, genetics, what they eat, and/or most importantly, the hard work they’ve put in). I can’t remember exactly what the question said, but something along the lines of… “What is the most absurd thing someone has ever said to you about the way you look?” AND THE RESPONSES WERE CRAZY! I got waayy more than I thought I would, and I was baffled once again at how impulsive, ignorant, seemingly rude, and inappropriate people can be with their words. And before I go too much further into this, I’m sure a lot of these comments may be coming from a good place. They are just misguided maybe?

And if you responded, or if you’ve ever been taken back by someone’s inappropriate comment about the way you look, know that I’m right there with you. Just a brief history… most places I go – as in the grocery store, Starbucks, the library, TJ Maxx…I get some fun comments. Ive been asked for permission to touch my arms. I get the whole, “Whoa I bet you workout.” I get the “wow, your arms are bigger than mine.” I get the, “how long did it take you to get that big?” I get the, “I didn’t know women could look like that.” Sometimes Daniel is with me, or a friend, or whoever, and it can be really awkward. Daniel has even called people out about it – right in front of their whole family.

On the other hand, I’ve had really kind people come up to me, and say things like, “hey, I just wanted to say that I know that took hard work, and I’m inspired.” They leave it at that and walk away. Or, my favorite convos are the ones that lead to a meaningful discussion about health, fitness, and CrossFit. And that’s what I want.

But back to the other side…my feelings have been hurt too many times to count as I walk into a room, and I can feel the gawking – the stares, the laughs. I see people’s reactions when they look up at me, and their eyes immediately get HUGE and I hear, “WHOAAAA” come out of their sweet, precious mouth. God Bless them.

Ok, I really could write a book. BUT before I give you the wrong idea.. the point of this post is not to sit here and bring attention to myself for weird things people say in grocery stores. I’m not trying to make anyone feel sorry for me (or anyone else). I’m not even trying to raise awareness about how “people who look ‘different’ are mistreated.” Not at all. So, before you comment on instagram telling me I’m beautiful and perfect just the way I am…just….don’t feel like you have to do that 🙂

Because I’ve learned a few things along the way…

NOBODY but YOU can define you. You are the only one who can establish a TRUTH about yourself. This is for women and men, no matter what you look like, what size you are, how big or how little your muscles are, how you dress, your skin color or shade, the acne on your face, your age, what you’ve accomplished or yet to accomplish, where you live, where you were born, what you believe, what you’ve been through, how many babies you’ve had, how many babies you haven’t had, the mistakes you’ve made…

…and you see where I’m going with this?

The only voice that matters in regards to WHO YOU ARE and YOUR WORTH is YOUR OWN.

Because if you’re like me, you’ve had people say really kind, affirming things to you (my love language is affirmation BTW). And you’ve also had people say really hurtful things to you (whatever their intent was). Maybe you’re like me and you’ve had people in awe over you. And maybe even just 5 minutes later, you’ve witnessed people laugh at you (literally right in front of your face). Neither one of those reactions define who you are.

For example, this past Thursday I went to Starbucks before going back to the gym to do a foundations. It was a pretty day – one of the last days of Summer 2018 to be exact (RIP SUMMER). I had some catching up to do with a few emails and responding to people. I walked through the doors, and it was hard to miss the long table of college students on the right (the one right across from the counter). I overheard one of the girls say, “OMG look at her, as she nudged the guy next to her WHILE pointing at me. Despite me making eye contact and giving them one of my awkward looks (you know what I’m talking about) all 6 of them continued to stare, mouths open, and one even laughed). I brushed it off, and went outside (because in the sun is where I wanted to be anyway). After sitting there for about 10 minutes, a girl, who was sitting a couple tables over from me with her friend, said, “Excuse me. I just wanted to let you know that you look really good. Your arms are amazing. I know that took a lot of hard work.” I told her thank you, that means so much to me. She continued to tell me about her current weight loss journey. I told her a little about my health and fitness journey. And it was a great conversation.

This 30 minute Starbucks trip reminded me that: neither of those encounters define who I am. One was actually a little hurtful (if you want me to be real) and one was very positive. But neither one makes me who I am for two reasons:

  1. Only I can define that.

  2. My worth (and your’s too) is in more than just your appearance.

At the end of the day, my self worth is not in something so fleeting and ever changing as body image. It’s not in how I look, how many muscles I have or don’t have. Its not in how big (or maybe little) my butt is, my boobs are, my stomach is. It’s not defined by how many abs I have or don’t have. It’s not defined in cellulite or stretch marks. It’s not defined in the 5 lbs I may lose or gain from time to time.

<<Also, I told myself I wouldn’t get emotional over writing this, but somehow I am a little bit…because someone needs to hear this>>.

Because news flash…

  • If our self worth comes from others’ perceptions or perspectives on “how good we look,” or “where we are lacking,” we are only setting ourselves up for failure. Because everyone is going to have their own opinion. You may like some people’s opinions. You may be offended by others’. If we start valuing ourselves based on what other people say about us, we’re in for a rollercoaster of emotions. One minute, we’ll be proud because of someone’s kind affirmation. The next minute, we’ll be bummed because of an unfavorable comment someone threw at us.

  • Our appearance won’t be the same forever. So, if your identity is wrapped up in it, you’re headed for some rough times mentally. Things happen. We aren’t guaranteed these bodies forever. And if you take pride in how hard you’ve worked to make you look a certain way, well… we’re not all guaranteed GREAT HEALTH tomorrow. You never know what you’re going to be faced with in the years ahead. Life happens. AGE HAPPENS 🙂 Goals change. Lifestyles change. And as gruesome as this may sound, tragedies happen. We’re not guaranteed great health tomorrow. But you know what doesn’t change: WHO YOU AND I REALLY ARE: as in, our identity, what makes you, you and me, me (not in how we look).

  • We need to learn how to think for ourselves – as in, learn to be confident in the sheer fact that you and I are doing our personal best.

What are 3 things you like about yourself (that don’t have to do with your appearance)?

And with all that in mind, let’s all agree to be a community that builds each other up, celebrates the successes of other people, turns and runs in the opposite direction from judgement, and sees the good in others. This is always a work in progress for me, but I see the importance of it!

And with that, as long as the weather permits it, I will continue to wear no sleeves, shorts, leggings, sports bras when I workout, and a smile on my face when people want to talk more about this. <——Because all of that is when I feel my best in my own skin.

Peace out!