• Michelle Buyer

#17: Risk vs. Reward: If I hurt myself, it should be doing what I Love

Every time I max out a lift, my family tells me that I shouldn’t lift so much weight because I’m going to hurt myself. This hurts me. I appreciate that they care, but I wish that they could be supportive and proud of me. Injuries happen. Every time I’m at the gym, I risk hurting myself. I minimize this risk by using proper form and gradually increasing weight. I’m grateful that I haven’t had any major injuries, but it’s not luck. I’m always watching videos from reputable trainers and educating myself on proper form. I struggle to push myself to increase weight as much as I should, but this also means that I’m less likely to hurt myself from too much weight. I still have a hard time taking an extra day off when my back feels strained, but I can at least adjust my exercises.


I constantly think about the risks of physical activity. If my friends are jumping off a cliff into the water, there’s a good chance I’m going to hurt myself, and I won’t do it. I chose not to push through the infamous skiing struggles at a formal a few years ago because it wasn’t worth hurting myself before going abroad. If I’m going to get injured, I want it to be doing what I love every day instead of doing something stupid for an adrenaline rush. I know how much my appearance and mental health are dependent on the gym, so there are very few other risks that are worth it. I hope that my family realizes that I’m being careful in my own way.


I’ve talked about how I was always the slowest kid. Not only was I the slowest runner, but I was the slowest swimmer, I was afraid to be aggressive in soccer, and I was afraid to go on a rowboat with my dad out of fear that it would tip over (which is just about impossible). In the last year, as I’ve become more comfortable and confident in my physical abilities, all of these things changed.


I had the time of my life cruising in a small speed boat on Lake Michigan and I was willing to jump into the open water. If I see a stray solid branch, I’ll try doing a pull-up and not be self-conscious if I fail. It still isn’t be worth taking the risk of skydiving or surfing in Hawaii, but I’m confident in my ability to try new things. I know that it’s okay if I can’t do something because there are a lot of things I can do. I’m no longer the weakest kid on the block. Honestly, I might be the strongest, at least for my weight. Above all, the gym has given me the confidence in myself and my physical ability. I wish I knew about this feeling as a kid, because it makes me so much happier.

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