As far back as I can remember I’ve always been the strong one. I and mean, freakishly strong.
While the other little girls my age were learning to braid hair, playing sweetly in the living room or playing dress up, I was out in the trees, scraping my knees and finding boys that weren’t too afraid to play “tackle” (which is basically a game where the person who takes the most ass whooping without his/her shoulders landing on the ground wins). Tomboy would be an understatement during this phase. The disadvantage to this is when you start “growin’ like a weed” and your counterparts haven’t quite started that yet; apparently boys don’t appreciate being beaten by a girl in arm wrestling or any wrestling in general. Then the excuse, “Oh I’m not supposed to be rough with a girl”, “You’re a girl and we don’t play with you”….started popping up. So “tomboy phase was placed on the back-burner pretty quickly after that”
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard, “Wow, you’re strong for a girl!” or even, “Jeeze! you look like a Clydesdale when you run”……Obviously, I’ve mastered strength before grace.
I’ve been terrified of my strength, its always been my greatest embarrassment, I’ve always been told I am strong but I never wanted to know how strong, and any weights I did lift were the tiny hot pink ones in Zumba (girl approved fitness), which I would nearly launch across the room in my assiduous attempt to maintain coordination. I would minimize my abilities because of my concerns: What if I scare people, what if I seem arrogant, what if I seem mannish, what if what if what if? If I have learned anything from embracing the hidden parts of my being, its that the primary reason so much is hidden is because of the fear of the dreaded “what if”. Besides, shouldn’t a woman posses the qualities of timeless femininity: grace, poise, soft spoken. Certainly not the Clydesdale-like attributes I posses.
Now, I will correct myself a bit here. I am not so afraid that I will not try and do “man’s work”, my dad has known how strong I am from the beginning, so I’ve always been the one to help with the manual labor: moving furniture, pulling the boat in the water to the dock or the beach, etc. However, if a man approached me and said, “oh that’s too heavy for you, here let me do it”, I would shrink back into my comfortable position of girlish grace and agreeably relinquish, while silently priding myself in knowing that I in fact, could lift that and more.
My grandmother always taught me that girls do not lift the same as boys, that their bodies are not created that way, and should be treated more delicately. When I told her I first joined power-lifting she was more than distraught, she was in down right hysterics. This concern for my feminine well-being has carried on into the realm of crossfit. While I’m sure other warnings have aroused such as watch your back, drink plenty of water….my grandmother has primarily focused her greatest concern around my uterus, and its risk for “falling out” by doing activities meant for a man. I kid you not.
(Look! My uterus hasn’t fallen out yet, Grandma!)
So all of that backstory leads me to where I’m at now. Certainly not anywhere close to where I’d like to be, but substantially farther than where I’ve been in embracing my God-given strength. Today, for the first time I lifted my “One Rep Max”. For the first time I can say, I have a goal, I did that…..and I still looked cute afterwards.
Back Squat:One Rep Max: 195lbs
Deadlifts: One Rep Max: 225lbs
Strict Press: One Rep Max: 95lbs!