Sunday, May 15, 2011


Oscar Wilde said, "Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future." I think about this quote quite often. I like to be crazy and I don't always have a "filter". I make mistakes and not everyone thinks that the things I do are appropriate all the time. But when it comes down to the depth of my soul...I'm a good person. I was raised in a home that was far from perfect with parents from less than perfect upbringings, but I was taught right from wrong. We went to church every Sunday. We blessed every meal before we ate and we were reminded daily to make good choices.I've had some major changes and upheaval going on in my life. I'm blessed to have a small support group that includes my sisters that have encouraged me and loved me unconditionally, but unfortunately, I've made some life decisions that many people in my life and even some that are merely spectators don't agree with. Some people would call these changes bad. Some people think that I have made the wrong choices for the wrong reasons. At times, it has been very hard to keep going and many areas of my life have suffered as a attitude...and my self image. There have been low, lonely moments when I have questioned who I am and what kind of soul I really have. I've wondered if what the people that don't understand me think is true. Have I gone from a saint to a sinner? And if I'm a sinner, what kind of future do I have? At times, I have hardly been able to move forward...times when the best I could do was to just hold on.Early on, when My friend Adam and I started the Facebook page "Strong is the new skinny" and I started selling the tees, our friends shortened the name and began calling it "SINS". Some people were not happy about that. I think it may have even offended a few, because we are taught to think of sins as bad and sinners as people we should not be. I think however, that "SINS" is a perfect acronym for this movement and this is why.None of us are born perfect and none of us will die perfect. We all have weaknesses and we all commit sins. We all need help staying on the right path. That's why many people go to church. Church is a place where we can seek guidance and find others, like us, that are trying to become better than they were the day before...others that are striving to become saints so to speak. It is comforting to know that you are not alone...that there are others struggling as well. One of my favorite quotes on this subject is by Abigail Van Buren, better known as "Dear Abby". She said, "A church is a hospital for sinners not a museum for saints."I say this at the risk of sounding blasphemous and in no way do I mean to, but I think this is very similar to what we do in the gym. We all have physical weaknesses...things that we struggle with in our quest to become better, stronger individuals. We go to the gym and we look to the people that surround us there for advice and comfort. We seek wisdom and look for ways to improve and correct the mistakes of the past, because we know that if we work hard and suffer when we need to...we will have a better future.Sin represents a mistake...a weakness to temptation to me. I won't get into my spiritual weaknesses here, but instead I will stick to the weaknesses I face in and out of the gym in my quest to become stronger both mentally and physically. Self doubt and the fear of failure are probably the 2 things that hold me back the most. I can't squat or press as much as I'd like and I wish I were a faster runner. It would also be really helpful if I were more flexible and coordinated, but in the end...those are not the things that keep me from where I want to go and what I want to be. It's what's in my head that does and that is what I'm struggling to change. Just like I suffer with the pain of disappointing people that love me, I suffer with the pain I feel every day in the gym. I have 2 choices. I can quit...give up...and stay where I'm at, or I can fight...face the pain and use it to make me stronger.
Just as the sinner looks to his spiritual advisor for guidance and strength...the "SIN"er looks to like minded individuals that can help inspire and guide him/her in the right direction. The sinner has tools...things like sermons, scriptures, and prayer, and the "SIN"er has "tools" as well...a barbell, a pool, a pull up bar, a bike, an open road to run down, kettle bells, a stopwatch, and people cheering him/her on to the finish line.
So I guess in the end I will say this, I'm not proud of the spiritual sins I've committed in the past...but I'm proud to be part of the "SINS" movement. I don't find that acronym to be offensive or negative in the least. I feel blessed to be part of a group of people striving to become stronger every day...people that are willing to literally shed blood, sweat, and tears to do so. I believe Oscar Wilde was right. I do believe that "Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future." I don't know what my future holds, but I know it will be better if I am strong enough to withstand the journey it takes to get me there.


  1. Very heartfelt, Marsha. Thanks for sharing that insight into your journey. Sometimes people don't understand the choices we make, but if you are being true to yourself and not causing harm to others, then do what you need to do. Those who truly love us will stick around!

  2. I make mistakes as well, but make sure I don't make the same one twice. I have to do with my life what I think is best for me. It's not always what other people would choose to do, and rarely what they want me to do. But I have to follow where my dream leads me! I love your column.....just stay the way you are and keep giving us motivation!