Finding My Own Brand of Confidence

If you follow any number of athletic, running, or fitness inspiration pages such as I do, some of your social media feeds may have been flooded this weekend with photos and the hashtag #sportsbrasquad.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all about confidence, finding peace, (healthy) body acceptance, and freeing ourselves from needless body shaming and ridiculous stereo-typing…but posting a selfie in my sports bra isn’t going to achieve that.

I didn’t participate in this widespread event for a number of reasons–first and foremost, modesty.  While my torso is actually one of the parts of my body I can look at in the mirror and not immediately rag on while topless, the rest of the world doesn’t need to see that glow-in-the-dark pasty white goodness!  Yes, it’s a stigma, but I also feel a person “of my size” probably shouldn’t be flaunting around their midriff either–that’s my personal choice I make.  It’s also an age thing…I’m not a teenager, nor am I in college anymore; I’m a grown and married professional woman.  While I’d like to believe there’s a separation between my personal and professional life, I don’t operate under that delusion in reality, and I realize that I need to be cognizant of the manner in which I appropriately cover my body in a given situation.  And finally, let’s get real…the sweat factor.  It was darn hot yesterday morning on my run–there needed to be more moisture-wicking material on my body to handle the load, LOL.

Don’t misconstrue my point here–I’m not knocking anyone that had the bravery to bare all and share for the world to see.  It takes courage.  It takes confidence.  It takes a level of peace with your body that I’m still on the mats wrestling with in a big way.  I was touched by a lot of the words that many of the women posted with their photos.

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So where am I in this wrestling match?  Well, in my last post I touched on self-acceptance.  This is a long process.  God’s working on me.  Slowly.  It’s an interesting process, but over the last couple weeks I’ve been able to see how the journey and working on myself are chipping away at those hard places on my heart that aren’t allowing me to see my own worth the way that others can.

This week I was listening to a very wise teaching on taking care of yourself and self worth, really breaking it down and honoring yourself in the present moment–not getting stuck in the hamster wheel of “I’ll feel good about myself when…” or assigning a judgement to it, but just truly looking at yourself honestly and wholly for who you are in this moment and appreciating that.  The way that this was presented was highly emotional for me and really struck a cord because I get so frustrated that I can’t seem to bring myself into that truly present moment where my mind and body connect in the same moment.  It seems like the two run independently of each other, and while intellectually I understand the progress I’ve made and can fathom the possibility of achieving the goals I’ve set forth, I still look in the mirror and see the person I was on day one.  I still see the person that trapped in an unhealthy and unmoving body that was beyond miserable and didn’t know how to fix it for herself until she surrendered that part of herself to God fully.  I can post all the side-by-side selfies I want, it doesn’t change that disconnect for me.

I had another moment this week, that I never would have anticipated, that really loosened some of those cogs in my mind and got me thinking a little bit more.  Of all things, it was a bike fitting.  My (early) birthday gift is a beautiful road bike and if we were going to invest in this purchase, I was going to upgrade the fit and have the advanced body geometry bike fitting done–mostly because I’m a data nerd and after reading all the information, I really wanted those stats about my body!

I was pretty nervous (but excited!) going into this bike shop in the first place.  I had already had several conversations with the shop manager that ordered my bike and would be conducting the fitting–she knew what to expect when I walked in the door, and knew my story, but the reaction of the other staff when I came in was a bit comical….kind of like when I show up at a race, that “fat girl gonna do what?!” look.  Once they got clued in to the details on my story they picked up their jaws and thought it was pretty cool.  Anyway…bike fit.

The really cool thing about this is that they just don’t throw you on your new bike and tell you to go for it.  There’s questions, body movement and angle measurements in a lot of different positions.  From the yoga and all the stretching I do, I’m pretty aware of how I can move my body, so it was interesting to apply angles and some math to it and learn how I move is beneficial to cycling and how it affects the fit and comfort on my bike.  The ah-ha moment didn’t strike me until later on, but after having a set of eyes on me and manipulating my body for such a long period of time didn’t bother me–I wasn’t self conscious in that moment, rather in awe of how my body could move and what it could do.  I don’t think like that.  That’s progress.

The self consciousness though, it does come…while I would be capable of joining the #sportsbrasquad, there’s other demons for me to overcome.  I’ve talked about my discontent with my arms and legs due to the hanging skin from weight loss before.  I don’t wear shorts in public…never have, even before losing weight.  Other than my booty shorts I occasionally wear at home, or the appropriate shorts I wear to/from the pool, I don’t wear shorts.  Well, while I do I own cycling capris, it’s hot.  I’ve donned the bike shorts for my first couple rides and while I can’t say I’m accepting of what I see, I passed the mirror today and was okay…I didn’t totally hate on myself.  And that’s new.  That’s finding peace.

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I’m not sure what full confidence in myself, my appearance, my abilities looks like…I believe I’ll get there in God’s time. but I’m learning.  It’s all a process.  There’s people in my path, experiences, prayer, work to be done on my part, patience, time, and most importantly God transforming my heart and mind that will make it happen according to His will.  It’s good stuff.

Oh, and the bike…it’s amazing.  Meet the newest member of the family, Storm.  Short for, “I am the storm,” because once we achieved optimum fit, I can’t even begin to tell you the dreams and goals that clicked in to place.  Stay tuned, there’s more to this story as God writes this one, I’m sure of it!

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