Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I was a chubby kid (SURPRISE!) sorry for being so cliche and predictable, but I'm not really sure where else to begin this story but from the beginning.  Even at the early age of 10, I recognized that my extra girth was preventing me from doing the same things my peers were.  Well, it wasn't so much that I recognized, but more that it was pointed out to me frequently on the playground as I couldn't swing from the monkey bars, or run without getting winded.  I got pretty good at distracting others from these truths by being funny, or mean, depending on the severity of damage to my ego. 
In fifth grade I hung out with 2 girls that were enrolled in gymnastics.  They were tall, lanky, and could perform cool cartwheels, handstands, bridges, and flips out on the grass at recess.  I wanted to do those things.  I wanted my body to do those things.  I practiced cartwheels in my backyard until I could master them.  It took a long time...getting over that initial fear of going upside down, and depending on my chunky arms to support me.  I kept at it.  Eventually I could perform a cartwheel I was proud of.  Next up, I wanted to master a handstand.  They suggested I try practicing against a wall.  They demonstrated on a school building.  A cartwheel is one thing...there is a clear beginning and end, and they happen pretty close to one another.  A handstand...well, whenever that ends is up to you, or gravity.  Not confident in my abilities to perform one of these wall handstands, I waited till I got home.  I went outside, piled up some squishy things under my head (yeah, that would protect me) and attempted.  I was no where near vertical.  I did not like attempting to have my head hoovering above concrete with only my arms to prevent something I likened to dropping a watermelon off a roof...I stuck to cartwheels, leaving the handstand be. 
Yes, I have been receiving the message my whole life as I know it that in order to do things I see others doing, I need to shed some pounds.  Not only for the sake of actually performing some things (like making a pass on the monkey bars, or a handstand against a wall) but also for the confidence that comes with not being the odd person out.  This message has repeated itself over and over throughout the years, just doning a different costume.  As I went through high school, gone were the nuisance monkey bars, only to be replaced with the latest clothing styles, bikinis, and boys.  In college I competed sport that was heavily reliant on weight, and specifically not being a heavy weight, I was again, constantly reminded of my size.  Now as an adult, going to CrossFit everyday, I see girls knocking out multiple un-assisted pull-ups, jumping on boxes half their height, performing handstand push-ups, and the like. 
Yesterday our workout involved handstand push-ups (HSPU's).  Ugh.  Handstands have been something sort of lingering in the background of CrossFit since I started, but I have been able to avoid them with "modifications."  The modified versions are nothing like an actual handstand, and I know that one day the trainer would make me re-visit my handstand-wall days.  Fortunately, yesterday was not the day.  But it should have been.  I stood there in class, not allowing myself to be pushed because of my silly handstand fear.  Disappointed in myself, I decided that when I got home, I would practice handstands until I could do them.  There was no physical reason that I could not do a handstand, I just had to get out of my head, and over my stupid fear. 
Into the carpeted family room I went...placed a folded blanket under where I assume my head might land, armed the boyfriend deluxe with a camera, and proclaimed "I'm going to learn how to do a handstand against this wall, when I do it, snap a photo for proof."  Attempt #1- boyfriend deluxe laughed.  Attempt #2- boyfriend deluxe calls me out- "don't be afraid to hit the wall."  Attempts #4-7- occasional brushes with the wall, when I suddenly remember something from class earlier that day.."don't look down at the floor, look straight ahead, so that when you are upside down, you are looking at the opposite wall."  Attempt #8ish- I DID IT!  I was looking directly across at the other wall, upside down, leaning against the wall, in a perfectly balanced handstand.  It was actually comfortable!  I felt so strong.  Boyfriend deluxe snapped 5 shots before my quaking arms had enough.  I kept going just to prove that I could do it again. 
I know this may seem insignificant to many, because afterall, what I did was no amazing feat of strength.  But, to even attempt this, I had to have the confidence that 9 months of CrossFit has given me under my belt.  I had to have the wisdom of the past 20 years to know that I can do just about anything I put my mind to.  And most importantly, I had to face my stupid head/fears and just TRUST myself. 
I would post the pic, but since I'm still posting blogs from my iphone, I can't!  You'll just have to trust me that it's bad ass.

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