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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Be Beautiful Today

Why are we, as females, so hard on ourselves?
 I know you have heard that phrase, “We are our own worst critic” but seriously, we can be absolutely hateful!
We will say things about ourselves that we would NEVER say to anyone else.
Where does that come from?
Just recently during one of the classes I was coaching, I was watching one of my athletes do dead lifts in a WOD. It became obvious immediately that the load she was using was way too light. After class, I worked with her to help her get a true 1 rep max on her dead lift. At first, I could tell that she was hoping I would just let it go so she could just slip out the door.
What she told me was something I had heard many times before but on this occasion it was also enlightening and something that I have been thinking about for days.
She said she did not want to lift heavy because she did not want to get bulky.
Looking at this sweet, gorgeous, quiet woman, my first response was automatic and reflexive.
“You will not get bulky doing CrossFit.”
“Women are only bulky if they TRY to be.”
“They have to do “X” kind of things to get bulky!”
I gave her the answers I am always prepared to say when I hear this.
But then I LISTENED to what she was saying. I mean, really listened. Why in the world did she feel this way? This woman is not someone I would ever say could be bulky and yet, she absolutely believed she could. Why?
Then she said, “I've always been told I could easily get bulky.”
“I’ve always been told…”
Words are powerful and I knew then that this wasn't just a conversation to brush off and give the one, two, three answers.
Insecurities are real and sometimes they are very hard to overcome.
I am terribly guilty of my own constant self criticism. I have gotten better and better at keeping them to myself, but they are there and they are real.
Just the other day I was called out by a good friend of mine. He even scolded me for not being able to take a compliment. 
I suck at it. It’s true.
This seems to be an issue with almost every woman I know to some degree. Even the top athletes in CrossFit suffer insecurities. I read a blog the other day about a CrossFit Games athlete with her own anxiety about how her legs looked in short-shorts. It was a great post, and I assure you, her legs are gorgeous, but in her mind they are something to be hidden.  Why?
I promise you, sometimes I would prefer the sticks and stones.
My own insecurities go all the way back to elementary school. I moved around a lot as kid and by the time I was in 5th grade, I had already attended seven different schools. Making friends was hard. I was terribly shy and being the new kid was something I was made fun of for.
In the 4th grade, I was made fun of the way I dressed.
In the 5th and 6th grade I was teased that I was too white, too tan or just because I wasn't black. I couldn't win that one.
In middle and high school I was teased by everyone for everything, even my best of friends.
I was too dumb.
I was too blond.
I was too skinny.
My boobs were too small.
I was too tall.
My hair was too curly, ect.
Was I a depressed, sad and lonely kid?
No, not at all! I have some great memories from high school and lasting friendships. I wasn't miserable at all and I don’t want you to think that this is about bullying. I took most of it in stride and just accepted that I was “that girl. I just began to embrace it.

In my adult life, it still continues. This was who I am and this is how life goes. As a result, I have grown some pretty thick skin, but those insecurities are there. They are real, no matter how I try to ignore them.

What I am saying is that years of being told that you are not “this”, or that you should change “that”, or that you are not good enough for “this”, WILL have a lasting effect on someone.
CrossFit has done more for my self confidence and my self-esteem than I can put into words, but even now I have a hard time with compliments.
There are still things I struggle with. I have blogged before that someone close to me has always talked about how I need to get rid of my lower belly.
 If there is something I have issues with, it’s my tummy.
Don’t get me wrong, if I am working out in our box in 100 degrees, I am the first one to dump my shirt, but it’s because I can’t stand things sticking to me, not for an ab show, that’s for sure!
 Most of the time, right after the WOD, I will drape a towel over me in a way that no one can see my tummy well until I cool down enough to put my shirt back on.
 I recently went through over 3000 pictures from a competition my box hosted and found myself not posting ones of me because all I could see was my belly. All I could see were the flaws and think “I’m a CrossFitter! I shouldn’t have a belly!”

I promise you, I DO NOT do this with anyone else! I will post photos of ladies from my gym and they will ask me, “Why did you post that? I look “insert reject word here””
I always, honestly respond, “All I see is a strong and beautiful woman!”
It’s true. At my gym, I do not see old people or overweight people or skinny people. I only see amazing, beautiful people that I love to spend my day with!

So the moral of this blog is this.
I need to learn to cut myself a break.
I need to be nicer to myself.
We all need to do this because at the end of the day, it doesn't matter what you look like on the outside, it’s the beautiful person on the inside that people love.

Be beautiful today.