A common pattern of mine, I think I have my shit mostly figured, and then I start dating. It’s like the overhead squat of life: it reveals all hidden weakness. The beauty and the sneaky trouble of spending most of my time around humans who CrossFit is that I forget I don’t have the a-typical body type. I have one created under load.
Is that why it can be challenging to men? Because of its solidness.
Because of its ability to withstand and press back?
I love that resiliency built into my body. I love that if I graze my fingers along my thighs as I walk I can feel the muscles at work. Muscles I’ve constructed over first thousands and thousands of rowing strokes and now thousands and thousands of squats. Strength was the first thing my body and I ever collaborated on. Before that, all I did was try to make it thinner. All it did was try to survive.
I can say that I love the space my body takes up. How it skims men who would be intimidated off the top immediately upon the first contact. How I am left with a different genre of man. And I am biased here, but I’d say better genre. How it just means that I have to wait a little longer to find someone who can stand toe to toe with a body and a self who doesn’t fit easily into what it means to be a woman, or into jeans.
“I CAN SAY THAT I LOVE THE SPACE MY BODY TAKES UP.”
I can say all of that and it would be true. But it wouldn’t include Saturday nights I look around a bar talking with a man who’s immediately placed me into a category of not someone to be trifled with and wish a little bit that I was, that I could be trifled with. Just a tad. It doesn’t mean that I don’t wish for a moment I was a little blonder and thinner and didn’t have to try so hard to feel feminine in the presence of a man who I don’t want to sleep with anyway.
We talk a lot in the community how CrossFit® changes the way that we walk around in this world. And again, I’m biased, but I would argue especially how women take up space in this and their world. It creates room for us to feel powerful. To not be made strange by wanting to become stronger. Or to build a body that isn’t based on smallness or on how thin we can make it.
But I wish too we would talk about the fact that in the real world sometimes the strength that has changed everything for us, has, in fact, changed everything from how we are perceived to what is deemed desirable. I wish we would talk about how it’s ok to feel sometimes like we don’t fit because of it. It doesn’t mean that we’re wrong and need to go back to a version of ourselves who is smaller and neater. And it doesn’t mean that we don’t love the body we’ve built if sometimes we wish we were, in fact, smaller and neater.
It just means that taking up space can be tricky sometimes. So can biceps. It just means that we have to be gentler with how we construct our conversation with our bodies. It just means that while we build so much of ourselves in the presence of that barbell, we’re not done when we put it down. It just means that femininity gets to look however we want it to. It just means we have to do that work too.
We have to rewrite its definition.
We have to create something that just like us, something more spacious.
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This is a guest post from Maddie Berky. Maddie has been a coach and athlete in the CF community for the last 5 years at CF Verve in Denver, Co, and was a regionals athlete in 2014. She’s currently a holistic nutritionist and life coach specializing in all things food, sex, and worthiness.