Your Eureka Moment

Hello, my name is Dawn and I am a very large woman.

(That guy I'm standing next to? He's 6'2" or so and squats 500lb for sets of TEN. He is a very large man.)

In the US, the average height for women is 5 feet, four and a half inches; the average height for men is 5 feet, ten inches. I am 5 feet 11 inches tall. I wear a women's US shoe size 11, my hands can span a whole octave on a piano, and my bras are so big they can double as a hat.

What I'm saying is, I am never going to have the build of a gymnast, or a horse jockey, and I'm never going to fit comfortably in a Mini Cooper or a coach airline seat. I will never be able to wear shoes in a size 8, or buy small gloves. I hit my head on things frequently. Bathroom counters are usually so low that washing my face in the sink makes my back hurt. My former boss (who is a dear, dear friend of mine) pointed out that in the professional world most women are intimidated by me and most men have instant respect for me, the former because I tend to tower over them whether I want to or not, and the latter because I hold conversations with them at eye level by default.

This state of hugeness is a basic truth about myself that I struggled with for a long time. I won't wax poetic here, but if you've stuck your head outside for more than about ten minutes you've probably gotten the feeling that societal norms for women don't include being enormous in any physical, mental, or spiritual sense. I never longed to be waifishly thin or anything, but for years and years and YEARS I felt awkward about my size, almost apologetic to the entire world for something that A) I never asked for and B) I have absolutely zero control over. It was only when I started to accept those things as being Righteously True that I began to understand that my body is perfect JUST AS IT IS, and that it can do many, many amazing and wonderful things- if I only ask it to.

For me, my Eureka moment came not long after I started weightlifting six years ago, at the age of 26. I had spent pretty much every waking moment of my life, from when I was first old enough to be aware of the world, feeling awkward about my size and being a total klutz because I refused to accept the way my body moved through space. I'm talking years and years of being picked last for sports teams, not even pursuing athletic activity for the fun of it because I felt that my body was so awkward, and feeling generally weird about moving around, period. Weightlifting was the first activity I had EVER done, EVER, where my build and my size were an automatic asset. I am SOLID, by default, my bones and sinews and muscles already prepared and ready to be put under load, eager to adapt to greater and greater challenges. Suddenly here was this thing that my body was good at! And that I liked! And that I kept getting better and better at!

I'm not saying y'all need to all run out and start weightlifting (although obviously I am a huge fan); point being is that in order to fully come to understand and appreciate Yourself, which in turn leads to greater happiness and self-confidence, which in turn leads to having a MUCH easier time not only in life in general but achieving your goals specifically, the point is you MUST find your own Eureka moment. You've gotta sit yourself down and have yourself a serious think about the notions and ideas that are floating around in your head which are not only holding you back but which are in direct contradiction to the actual material truths that are self evident in all aspects of your life. What I am NOT saying is that you must limit yourself to only certain goals and aspirations as dictated by your size or your abilities (because that is as much of a problem as pretending that you can be all things in all ways no matter what evidence there is to the contrary). What I AM encouraging you to do is re-frame the goals you have set for yourself so that they are in harmony with where you are now, and with the things that are true for your life TODAY.

Are you really short but have your eye set on playing Basketball? Then you have to accept that you're altitude-challenged and plan your training accordingly. Are you really tall and kinda gangly but really want to pack on lots of muscle? Then you have to utilize techniques both in your eating and your lifting that are specifically tailored to your body type. If you've ever run even halfway seriously, then you probably know that one of the WORST things that you can do in the long term when it comes to running is just pick whatever running shoe looks good. In order to get the most mileage (pun intended) out of your running it's imperative you go to a serious running store, get your stride analyzed, and pick a running shoe that works WITH your stride and your specific body morphology, lest you blow out a knee in the third week and never run again. Same with pretty much any other goal, fitness or otherwise, that you ever set for yourself- before you throw yourself in headfirst, you have to analyze where you are and what your inherent strengths and weaknesses might be so that you can work with them instead of against them.

By refusing to lie to yourself, and accepting things for as they are in reality instead of trying to pretend something's one way when it's really not, you're arming yourself with a powerful tool that you can use to shape your life in any way you could possibly imagine. Constantly denying the truth and trying to act as if everything's working out just fine is like throwing yourself a brick wall in the hopes that if you ignore the fact it's not moving at all, one day you'll knock it down. I'm telling you that if you stand back and re-assess, you'll realize that there's an unlocked door in that wall that you can just waltz on through, no hurling yourself against the masonry needed!