Life takes twists and turn that we don't always like and rarely expect. I'm no exception. If you asked me back then if I'd be facing what I am now in my life, I would've said "ABSOLUTELY NOT!" Lately, I've struggled. I've had personal issues that have kept me out of the gym...sometimes due to time and sometimes due to my mental state. Then, I hurt my back several weeks ago. I have gotten better and then re agitated it a couple of times since. I've gone from working out 5 to 6 times a week to doing about 5 workouts over the course of 3 weeks. The effects on both my mental state and my physical state are very apparent...just as apparent as my physical strength used to be.
I was a social work major when I dropped out of college. I knew I wouldn't make much money but I wanted to do something in my life where I could help people. I wanted to protect people that needed protecting and empower people that had been held down. I never wanted a job that didn't mean anything or where money was the sole purpose. I've always felt that I have gone through the trials that I have in my childhood and adult life so that I can have empathy and compassion and the drive to make a difference.I felt like I found that through my job as a trainer and then as a blogger and partner in the "Strong is the new skinny" Facebook page. I've put myself out there in ways that are not always comfortable and many times have felt very "naked" and vulnerable...not because I HAD to...because I WANTED to. I've received countless emails telling me how I've inspired people to be more healthy and fit and happy with themselves. Many women have generously shared their personal stories with me. Most of the feedback I receive is positive, but every now and then...it's not. I don't expect that everyone will like me or agree with me and I actually get a giggle every now and then when people poke fun at me.
After receiving many questions and requests from people about the fit of the tanks I sell, I decided to put some pictures up of the new tops I received in the mail yesterday and try my best to describe the fit. I want people to be happy with what they order and be able to choose the correct size. So, I put up the pics. They were not artistic or of me in a cutesy pose. They were of the front of my chest to see how the tanks fit across the chest and middle and explain the differences. The ironic part is that I had a few full body shots, but I was surprised to see that my chest looked very thin in a few and was afraid that I would be put down for being "too skinny" or sending the wrong message so I chose the pictures that only depicted the top. Try as I might, I can't take a picture of me wearing a tank without my boobs being a part of the picture and so my boobs are prevalent in these pictures. At first the comments were positive and then came the negative.I received several comments about fake boobs and the message I'm sending. I was asked why I can't be happy with the body I was given and called names like ridiculous. The interesting part is that those things don't bother me near as much as someone questioning the integrity of what I am trying to do. I can't quote exactly what she said because after tearing me apart...and me responding respectfully...she deleted all her comments. I don't care to talk about her or anyone else that had a problem but I do want to say this...
My desire is not to advertise me or get more Facebook friends. It's not to sell shirts or promote fake boobs. I'm not trying to victimize women or make anyone feel bad about themselves. I haven't had professional photo shoots and splashed my pic all over the page for a reason. I wanted it to be about ALL women...of every race...from every country...of all sizes...and walks of life. I love seeing all the pictures that come in of women wearing the tanks and tees. I want women to feel good about themselves. I want women to know they can and should work hard to be the best they can be. I want women to know that you can keep up with the boys in the gym and still look like a girl. I want women to know that being strong and muscular is not masculine. It can be beautiful and we should be proud. I just want people to feel good about themselves and the work they do whether they are sporty or girly...whether they've accomplished their goals or have just started the journey...big boobs or flat chest...whatever.It wasn't fun to read those things but I accept it because I CHOSE to put myself out there and I'm an easy target. As much as I don't like to hear negative things, I am glad those things were said because I learned something very valuable today. I have been feeling bad because I don't look as strong as I once did and I'm carrying a few extra pounds. I have felt very alone and even had moments where I threw some serious pity parties for myself. So when I saw these comments and then the comments of other men and women defending me, I realized that as fragile as I have felt on the inside...I am unbreakable. As weak as I have felt on the outside...I have sturdy shoulders that can hold the weight of the world. And as lonely as I have felt at times, I am not alone. For every person that doesn't like me or agree with me...there are twenty ready to fight for me and defend me. I am not fragile or weak or alone. I am strong and I will be okay, because I can't have my yang without my yin.