“The story is always better than your ability to write it.” — Robin McKinley
As my wife and I begin to consider adding little people to our family, I find myself thinking about what I want to tell them when they arrive.
I have a little notebook of “Things to Tell the Kids.” Most involve gender-less advice such as “Find your voice,” “Be active in your life decisions,” and “Be the person you mean to be.”
There are some that are more gender related.
In our CrossFit community, I hear concerns (usually from the women) about strength. To be clear, these women aren’t concerned they are getting stronger; they are concerned that their muscles don’t match up with what we traditionally think of as feminine.
Intellectually I can understand the concern, but emotionally I have a hard time wrapping my brain around it. I can’t imagine anyone ever telling me to stop trying to become strong at whatever I’m doing. I can’t imagine going through life concerned that if I did, I would also have to worry about how that was perceived.
Certainly I was taught that showing emotion is a sign of weakness, but today it is expected that as a man I will be in touch with that side of myself. Few, though, would dare say that a man was less of a man because he showed compassion or emotion.
After hearing this discussion take place between the women at the box, I came home and scribbled this into my book of “Things to Tell My Daughter.” (And I figured maybe women of CrossFit Broad Ripple might benefit from hearing this as well since I’m nearly old enough to be at least their crazy Uncle.)
Skinny is an act of reduction. It is about NOT doing things. It’s about not eating, or not working out. It is about maintaining what you have, and striving for a little less.
Strong is the opposite. It’s about picking up heavy objects, and pushing yourself past where your mind tells you to stop. It is about building what wasn’t there before. It is about sweat, and tears, and aches, and pains.
Strong isn’t just beautiful, it’s earned.
In your life, always aim for strong.