I left the girl I was supposed to be. The polite person who said all the right words and didn’t offend. The one who carried on for the children’s sake. The one with the perfect job and the perfect family in the perfect house.
It took me a long time to leave her. Years. And years. And years. It took a while to define myself.
And it’s an ongoing process. I leave the other girl daily, every single time I pick up the barbell or swing a kettlebell. That girl— the polite one, the one society told to be a “good girl” and “play nice”—she runs away every time I run, or lift, or even start to breathe heavy during the warm-up.
She’s not who I want to be. She’s not who I ever wanted to be. She’s the girl I thought I had to be, for everyone else. But they didn’t know me. And that was my fault, because I was too scared to let anyone see who I really was. But I’m not scared anymore.
When I’m in the gym, you might find a lot of things there with me: chalk, tape, blood, heart, sweat. Foot stomping. Grunting. Sometimes, the F bomb — to celebrate, or motivate.
But you will rarely find perfect. In my form. In my words. In me. I try, but I don’t always get there. I am a work in progress.
And I will be a work in progress until the moment I cease breathing. It took me a long time to realize that’s okay, and that the perfect girl is gone. But the one who stayed is pretty kickass. I actually like her a whole lot better.
Gone is that girl who doesn’t believe in herself. You won’t find her here. You also won’t ever find a girl who thinks that if you lift big, you get “too big.” What is “too big” anyhow? Who the heck decided that? What a bunch of bullshit. What a passel of small-mindedness passed around by people who never realized how wonderful life could be. Ignore it all, my friends.
One of the best lessons I’ve learned in life is this: Never let anyone else define how you should be. It’s your life. Push past the small minds and press on towards your big, bad, beautiful self. Define yourself.
Now, get in the gym or out on the trail or into your notebook or wherever you feel huge and alive, and go hard. Be the person you always wanted to be. It’s not too late.