I am not Defined by Labels

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While I was in the UK I was called a “scary weirdo.” Now let me be clear, I was called “scary” on one occasion, and a “weirdo” on another, and both times I laughed and let the situation pass – however, this wouldn’t have always been the case. Not long ago I would have combined those words, and repeated them over and over to myself, until I too saw myself as a scary weirdo. So what’s changed?

I was called “scary” in a small clothing boutique in London. The shop keeper pointed to my biceps and asked what I do to workout. I proudly proclaimed my background with #kettlebells and #barbells and even mentioned a couple of my all time favorite PRs. It was then that she deemed me “a little bit scary.” This isn’t the first time that particular word has been used to describe me and my gym preferences. I was once turned away from a #Lululemon job interview when the manager deemed “my favorite way to sweat” too “scary.” I worked for a year at a commercial gym where every day I was reminded that neither my body nor my workouts were appropriate for a woman and thus, I was again, “scary.” Well f**k that noise because this is what I know for sure – I love crushing weights. I love setting PRs that even men ascribe to. I love being in a position where nearly every day I get to change a person’s perception of a woman and her physical capacity for strength. If any of that makes you afraid, well frankly, it is much more your problem than it ever will be mine.

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As for being a weirdo – fitting in with the conventional “in” crowd has never been a concern for me. In high school, I was too busy hanging out with the theater club, belting out show tunes in my car, and pasting Buffy the Vampire Slayer quotes to my school binder to notice what the popular kids were up to. Sure, high school was full of other angsty troubles, but participating in what made me happy was never an issue. I recall a couple years after graduation, I received an email from someone who I considered to be one of the popular kids. He wrote to me and apologized for all the trouble and bullying he subjected me to in high school, and while I want to appreciate and honor his journey, I have to admit, I thought he had the wrong person. Here he thought he had made my life miserable – I meanwhile was trying to recall a moment when our paths had even crossed. It’s hard to believe, but when you are focused on honoring your own happiness and betterment, other people’s projections have a magical way of bouncing off and falling away unnoticed. So to the uber driver who said, “only weirdos go there” after I requested to be dropped off in front of the Doctor Who Experience – simmer down, I’m making my dreams come true.image2

So here I am – the scary weirdo before you. Yes, I love lifting, and yes, I can drop more pop culture references than Lorelai Gilmore while arguing why Judgment Day is a much bigger threat to us than any zombie apocalypse. Those are just a couple things that make me uniquely me…and whatever labels that makes you put on me, I will still love myself for being exactly who I am.

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