When I uploaded this picture to Facebook last week, I had no idea it would get the attention it got. I thought I was just sharing a great shot by my awesome photographer Dana and that was that. But I looked at that picture. And I saw a lot. More than most people saw, I’m sure. (I’ve always been told I “think” too much.) When I looked at the picture, I saw “her”; the same girl/teenager/woman who had been told so many times that she was not good enough and that she would never make it as a dancer/instructor/trainer….you name it. I have been publicly ridiculed, teased, laughed at and downright told to my face to give it up. I have a Master’s in Counseling, not in exercise physiology. I have no real dance background. I have never played any type of sport and I was always picked last for teams in p.e. (well, we called it “gym”). I am an almost forty something Black woman with a big butt teaching yoga, personal training and vegan. I mean, really? Wanna know what I learned from staring at that picture?
I AM NO QUITTER. I had somewhere to go and I was going to get there.
I cried a lot. I questioned a lot. I tried to change myself a lot. I’ve been suicidal, anorexic and a binge eater ALL BECAUSE I wanted something SO BAD…I knew I had something to give to the industry and people kept kicking me where it hurt. It built character. It built resilience. It built nicely toned arms, a decent clientele and several pounds off my frame. Just call me fierce, powerful and when I get going, stay out of my way because I am a beast.
This very same thing keeps so many people from coming into the gym. Everyone has an idea about what you should be doing. It seems like everyone is “thin”, wears expensive workout gear and knows what they are doing. You ask someone where the water fountain is and they start talking about lateral shoulder flexion. The weights look intimidating. You don’t want to look like an idiot trying to adjust the seat on the machine you don’t know how to use. You hear the kids from your past calling you “Fatso” and your grandmother telling you to just get used to being “big-boned”. You remember when you tried this before and you only lasted six days. Your friends made fun of you for not sticking to your “diet” and then invited you out for drinks. But, deep inside, you WANT it and you are wondering how in the hell do you get to it?
Does any of that sound familiar?
When the challenges start to mound and you start to feel the pressure, stick out your chest and yell, “BRING IT!” No one can release what’s inside of you BUT you. Use opposition as an opportunity to open up your cage. Think back. There is SOMETHING in your life you thought seemed so distant and it was something you’d never reach. What did you do? Where is that person? It is STILL inside of you. And sometimes it takes a bully to poke you for you to remember what’s hiding in there. At least, that’s what happened to me.
Get up in the morning and decide you are going for it. Commit to bringing your “A” game, maintain your integrity with yourself (because if you can’t keep your word to yourself, I mean, seriously?) and then BRING IT, every time. You’re not doing it to back people up off of you. You are doing it to make room for the BEAST inside of you to come out.
And if they should happen to back up, well……:)
When you are in beast mode, no mere bully can stop you.