#24: How have my Opinions Changed? (vs #2, #3 and #4)
As I read over my old posts, I notice that some of my philosophies have changed in the last 6-7 months, and I’m sure they will change again in the future. I added an asterisk (*) to the posts that I no longer agree with. I’m not going to change them because it’s important to see the growth.
From “#2: Addicted to the Gym or Afraid of Losing Progress” and “#3: Why do I Work out?”
I never thought I’d get over how weak I was as a child and during my tennis years, but after all I’ve accomplished in the last year (or even 6 months), it’s not a primary concern or motivating factor. I’ll never forget what it felt like, but I’m no longer working out to prove myself or out of spite. I’m not that person anymore, and I don’t often think about that person either. Oh, and my chest is smaller now. I’m not sure if that specifically causes me to be a better athlete, or if I’m a better athlete because I’m intrinsically motivated. At the time, I was hurt by the people who made comments about my chest and used it as an excuse for me, but now I can laugh. I’ll never really know the answer, but I will say that I didn’t realize how much smaller my chest was until my mile time improved by over a minute without any additional practicing…
Also, I think that other people make progress quicker than me lifting because they eat enough protein and push themselves to the limit. I don’t prioritize eating enough protein, and I prioritize avoiding injuries more than lifting maximally heavy. Being strong might not be in my genetics either, but I’m mature enough now to realize that there is more I could be doing to make progress quicker.
So, why do I workout now?
1. It’s great for my mental health. My workout has become my personal time. I can’t “zone out” the way most people do, but I can “zone in” on my workout, giving me time to push everything else out of my mind.
2. I want to look, feel and be strong. Lifting heavy gives me confidence in my physical ability that translates into other parts of my life. There’s a heavy suitcase needs to go in the overhead bin? No problem, I’m strong. I have to balance to get to the door while the bus is moving? No problem, I train to have great balance. I was always able to do these things, but lifting has made me confident and proud to do them. This confidence in my capabilities makes me feel good about myself on a daily basis, and therefore in other areas of my life.
I took the weakness I felt as a kid and turned it into a strength—The weakness is no longer part of my identity but the strength is. I still get crabby and anxious when it’s late in the day and I haven’t had a chance to workout yet, but it’s not because I’m “addicted” to the gym. I cringe looking back at that post because I feel like I misrepresented myself. I won’t have withdrawal symptoms if I miss a day (not that I did before.) I know that I won’t lose my progress. I get anxious because my body is used to having the chance to blow off steam, but I know that I will make time for the gym no matter what—Whether it’s in the morning or 10pm at night after a long day and even a few drinks—because that’s just who I am.
From “#4: The Boys Club Quest”
I still hate that men are naturally stronger than me (and women in general) because I’m competitive as hell—not for any deeper reason. It used to mean a lot to me when I’d receive a compliment from a muscle-y dude at the gym, but it was because I needed validation about my strength and that I belong in the gym. I appreciate and remember compliments, but I know now that I belong in the gym (or wherever I want to be) as much as the next person. I understand how I felt at the time of writing my old post, but I felt that way because Lifetime had toxic people and I was insecure. I wasn’t ego-lifting with poor form like the guys there, but my ego was searching for validation. The environment I’m in now makes me perceive myself as stronger in comparison, which is probably a huge part of the reason I don’t feel this way anymore, but I AM stronger now too, both mentally and physically.
I wrote before that “I want men to accept me as one of them AND be the kind of woman they want.” This was another insecurity bred through the people around me in college and at home. (no one specific!) I know why I thought that, but the sentiment has faded. Some of my personality and hobbies have been influenced by wanting to fit in with guys, and maybe it did help me, but trying to find new ways to fit in is no longer an ongoing goal of mine.
I never started lifting to fit in with guys. I started lifting to overcome my weakness and to build my own muscles so I didn’t need to find someone who has them (ironically, now I couldn’t date someone without muscles even more than before). I’m not sure where I lost sight of this before, but I exist the way that I want to—not to be a girl that men want or that guys want to be friends with. I’m working on accepting that not everyone is going to like me or want to be friends with me in a gym setting or otherwise, but as long as I’m doing what I want then it doesn’t matter. I don’t need to “show men that I’m capable” anymore because I am capable. If someone doesn’t see it, they can f**k off. Technically, I could say that I used the “fake it until you make it” strategy by showing that I was capable by showing up every day because now I am capable. In my experience recently, it doesn’t take people long to realize who I am and my dedication, whether they like me or not.
The old post is the way that I used to feel, but it feels irrelevant and difficult to explain now. I felt that way for years, and I don’t know at what point it changed, but it was a stepping stone to where I am now, and it’s difficult for me to trace back the evolution of my thoughts.