Be Strong, Woman

Recently, I have been considering the type of woman I want to be. Well, more like reflecting. You see, I'm a journalist of sorts and I was looking back at an entry I had written years ago (2014). At that time I had already considered the type of woman that I want to be. There was a list neatly bulleted with little pink hearts that went a little like this:


  1. I want to be independent.

  2. I want to be able to cook well.

  3. I want to be well-traveled.

  4. I want to exercise often and be strong.


So as you can see, there's not much here. I don't know where my criteria for womanhood stemmed from. Even back then, my ideas of who I wanted to be were vague because I didn't want to try limiting myself and how my personality may change or develop (and feeling limited was a big struggle for me in high school).


I have toyed with the idea of exercise before, but I had never exercised consistently or with any goals in mind. One day at work there was an ad on Facebook for a 28-day challenge sponsored by Fit Body Bootcamp, a business near Regent. After registering for this program, I didn't find myself excited at all. I waited anxiously for the day of my despair to come. The program has a meal plan and a requirement of three 30-minute workouts per week. I'm currently two weeks in, and these are a few things I've learned about myself.


1) You get what you get when you go for it.

As I said, going in, I was so anxious to exercise. This is due to the fact that I tend to be really bad at pacing and I overheat quickly which makes me feel nauseous. When the class started, I was worried but I was fine until about two exercises in when I promptly vomited at a wall (gross, I know). I cleaned up my mess with the help of the kind trainer there (but I wouldn't let them go near my vomit, I only let them mop). After that, I didn't hang my head in embarrassment or leave the studio— I rejoined the workout and that shows me that I am a warrior. I've attended five classes now and I've crushed each one with all of my power.


2) You don't have to be so rough with yourself.

Of course, I'm speaking of physical activity, but I'm also talking about how I actually speak to myself. While working out, I noticed that I was telling myself things like "Tiyra, you're weak if you can't lift this little dumbbell over your head" or "if you let go right now, you're a little *insert expletive here*" and I was honestly surprised. The trainers don't talk to me like that. I don't even talk to other people like that! Then I realized that while I noticed it more while working out, these are regular conversations I have with myself. Degrading, humiliating, self-deprecating speeches of how terrible I am and how much better I should be. I bully myself! I'm still learning how to be gentle with myself as I try to remember that I'm only human. Still, I plan on breaking my record for weight-lifting next time.


3) You are beautiful and strong is beautiful.

This is a weird insecurity of mine, but I have a lot of muscle tone. I was told by my parents that it's genetic, but I could not stand it. People in high school used to talk about how big my calves or biceps were and asked me if I worked out (not in an honest way, but a teasing way) or if I was planning to join the wrestling team. It's weird because when I was much younger, maybe 8 or 9, I found so much joy in someone saying "wow, you're strong for your age." Anyway, it doesn't take much work for my muscles to start defining. Since going to this class, I don't go home feeling worried about how I'm going to look. I go home feeling awesome, like I could fight a battle and win, and that confidence is really what I needed. Who cares if my body gets ripped?


So, I would like to encourage you, go forward and fight your battles. You've grown taller than your giants. Be strong, woman.



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