While seeing the awesome pictures of Amanda Bingson: ‘Athletes come in all shapes and sizes’, I am glad because it is something we all face with social constructed ideas of what does fit look like and what should it look like. Although, the images are empowering, make sure you read her interview too.
While ESPN’s coverage and writing is unsurprisingly problematic, I am still pleased as Bingson generally has an attitude I much admire: “You might be prettier and skinnier than me, but I’ll kick your ass in a game of one-on-one.” Which is for sure how I felt yesterday (minus the pretty part—I know I am the prettiest ;-) )
I had a woman I’ve never met, come-up to me yesterday in a ropes class during the water break and tell me to “not give-up” that I could “do this” and I wanted to respond “Bitch, do I look like I’m giving-up or doubting my own abilities?” I turned to the instructor and asked “When is the warm-up over? I am ready for the real stuff to start.” Also, that was my third hour of exercise at that point in the day (each a different training).
The women I train with have given me lots of confidence, like National Strong Woman Sharon Moss and World Champion Power Lifter Hannah Ghindea; but not just my competitively elite friends but the numerous badass women around me who set personal goals and train to become fiercer for themselves. Those goal setting women invigorate me. The stronger we women become the more we give zero shits about what others think and the more we love what our bodies are capable of—it is liberating.
No athlete I’ve trained with, no coach, no physical therapist, has ever expressed doubt in my abilities because of my body (this isn’t to say I haven’t encountered douchebags). I’ve been lucky but generally those who are good at knowing how to push their bodies (and others) know that much of what we push our bodies to do is mental. Yes, of course physical training and ability is necessary but at some point, it becomes wanting it more than anyone else, working harder than anyone else, and being in the right place at the right time–and none of those have to do with body size or type.
Which also reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:
“I’m just into physical intensity. I’m not saying, like, clamp my nipples and stick pins in my nuts. Because that’s like some passive please-hurt-me thing. Ask any Olympic athlete, they’ll say, ‘God it hurts, but it’s awesome.’ It’s the pain that comes when you try to achieve.” – Henry Rollins
Also, speaking of “clamp my nipples and stick pins in my nuts”, remember my boobs last summer after a triathlon?