Here’s my deadlift session from yesterday. I plan on posting a concise, thoughtful–or an awkward, dorky–written post early next week. For now, training is going quite well and I’m slowly but surely turning myself into a cow.
Actually, I probably shouldn’t make fun of my bulking like that. It’s not a show of solidarity with the part of myself that’s all “long term goals! Work towards them!” and it’s rather cruel. It speaks to the insecurity I harbor about getting bigger. I feel bigger. I can see it. I, in turn, feel clunky and highly unattractive. I guess I’ll get used to this, but I’m definitely not at peace with it right now. I wish I could be more positive about this process, but I am generally doing pretty well if I cruise on neutral in my attitude about it at the moment.
As I’ve mentioned before, the dark truth of the matter is that I’m very happy (and simultaneously very miserable) keeping myself as small as possible. I’m good at it. A part of me cannot WAIT till I make the decision to try to bring my weight down again–because I will, in service of my lifting and competition and at least partly my own vanity. I wish I could write otherwise, but I can’t. I should, perhaps, be focusing on other thoughts about my training and my body in this blog, but I also don’t want to be anything other than honest in this space.
I believe the true key to making peace with the relationship between oneself and one’s body when choosing to, as a woman, get bigger is to step far above the process of championing a larger body as being comparably beautiful to a smaller one. I don’t think finding a bunch of images of ripped women, “curvy” women–whatever iteration of the female body’s composition that carries more mass–and declaring that aesthetic as “beautiful, too!” is going to solve one’s issue of self-denigration. There are two problems with this type of “fitspiration:”
1. As I have said before, if you look at a picture of another woman, you are looking at something that is unattainable for your own body. I don’t care if you end up with the same lean mass to body fat ratio as anther woman–your proportions do not exactly match hers. Your body is genetically programmed to carry muscle mass in certain areas more than hers probably is (example: I have stupidly large obliques for absolutely no reason other than training and mostly genetics. I NEVER spot-train obliques, but proportionately they are very large on my abdomen, partly due to how short my torso is). Comparison will always fall short when the goal is to “feel better” about oneself.
2. The bigger issue of the two problems I’m outlining here is worth as defined by perceived beauty. We cannot get over this idea that we have worth, social currency, and yes, power, if we possess pleasing aesthetics. I believe this is a far greater problem than whether or not I feel good about how I look–because I feel less of a need to have an opinion related to how I look if I don’t feel like it’s my key to social survival. No one wants to talk about this for fear of getting labeled as unreasonable–“of course looks are important! You can’t deny it! It’s irrevocably entrenched in our collective, perhaps biological consciousness to consider looks!” I won’t deny this. I also refuse to be prisoner to it, I refuse to not work towards and promote a mentality that is “above” it when judging my own worth at a fundamental level.
I like pretty things. I like stupid Pinterest. I like makeup, I like screwing around with my somewhat hopeless hair, I like neat-looking workout clothing that I can’t afford. I acknowledge that I hold a mental duality in hoping to rise above a qualification of myself that relies on aesthetics while simultaneously taking pleasure in engaging in augmenting them. I believe, however, that I can separate myself from being wholeheartedly devoted to my image as being what determines my effectiveness as a human being. When I’m down on myself for metamorphosing into a cow in the name of my sport, I am failing to rise above the lines drawn by subjectivity that determine a false worth.
I’m pretty good at picking up a loaded bar. I’m trying to be good at picking myself up.