Usually the people who write style blogs or books are people who look good in fashionable clothing. I don’t. The reason I write about this stuff is that I care about how I look, and if I don’t think (shop/sew) very carefully, I look an absolute mess.
I’ve had a bit of a sit-and-pout over the last couple of months. See, I finally found a physical thing that I am genuinely good at. I’ve never been really good at any athletic endeavor. Yes, I swam and hiked and lived – but I didn’t do any of those things spectacularly well, and more traditional athletic endeavors – forget it.
I’ve taken dance class after dance class – I would love to be a good dancer. Nope. I took yoga before I got conviction to stop. Years of it – I’m not flexible, even when I try. Can’t abide chlorine, so I only swim in the ocean, during the summer. Have this foot thing, so running is out – as is more than strolling. I don’t live in a good place to bike casually.
So, I got used to this very limited life – especially after the foot injury. I’d work out to tapes (TTapp) and… that was about it. It wasn’t enough, but it was all I could get. And then I was trying to find something for my son to get involved with, because he needed exercise. One thing led to another, and I found that there is a Crossfit box within walking distance of my home. And Crossfit (especially our box) scales their exercises to suit the person working out. Anyone can Crossfit (I know, that sounds unlikely – but it’s true). So he joined, and I joined.
He’s having a blast, and I’m sticking it out. Cardio, after so many years of inactivity… it’s a slog. CF isn’t easy. But at CF, we lift. Between the warm up portion of the class and the “work out of the day” portion, we learn to lift heavy things (we also do gymnastics and learn skills during that time – it stays mixed up). And I turn out to be very good at lifting heavy things with my lower body (aka deadlifts, backsquats).
This messes with me. 1) I’ve never received praise for more than perseverance 2) powerlifting (the specific bit I’m good at) isn’t exactly *girly* 3) powerlifting makes you stronger, it does NOT give you an hourglass figure if you didn’t have one already.
So I had my pout. I work very hard, I’m not getting a smaller waist. My shoulders are much more defined, my rear end (which no one sees except DH and my gymmates) looks great, and the fluff is burning off my thighs. But the scale isn’t moving. And my figure is headed to “more athletic” – not “more graceful”. (There are a few ladies at my gym, including some who can outlift me, who are not boxy – it seems to be something you start life with).
But I’m stronger. A lot stronger. And that doesn’t play out just in the gym, it plays out in life. I’m healthier – my blood pressure is way down. My cardio is way up. And it is nice to be good at something with my body, after all these years.
So. Do I look at increased health and say, “I don’t want you, I don’t like the box you come in” or do I accept that this is the body that God gave me, these are the skills God gave it – and work to maximize what I’ve been given?
I choose B. I decided to work harder, to challenge myself more – and let the chips fall where they may. Because this IS the body that God has given me, this IS the opportunity to make it healthy that God gave me, and vanity is a darn stupid thing to let stand in the way.
So – I’ll be dressing this body, the body I have. And I’ll dress it to show off what I do have, and to be feminine, which I absolutely am, to the depths of my soul.
And for you out there, who are wondering how to dress your own challenges … come and ask me. Because I’m dressing my challenges every day.