Thursday, October 4, 2012

Size, Perceptions and Self Acceptance

My son came home from college this past weekend, the first time we have seen him in 5 weeks. It was great to see him but also hectic, we had a lot to fit in, he was sick and needed to go to urgent care for anti-biotics and of course, he had to spend time with friends too.

Sunday morning I slept in as usual and then went to Gold's to train my back, I love Sundays I can usually spend all the time I want to and it's never crowded, everyone seems to take Sundays off. This Sunday I had an appointment at 9:00 so I was under a bit of a time constraint, but I fit most everything in.

My Sundays take so long because of all of my chin ups - It takes me about 45 minutes just for those!

It's also harvest so David had to pick the grapes from the yard without me and then after I got home, we loaded them into Moby to take to Jay's for crushing. No one had much time for cooking, eating or anything. Once Cooper left at 1:00 we still had more to do, so we ended up going out for a very early dinner (lunch for David) at The Table in Willow Glen.

We arrived early, they weren't open yet so we wandered down the street and David slipped into a restaurant to use the bathroom. I stayed outside and was waiting and I hear a "hey you, come here and give me a hug!" I turn around and there, holding open the restaurant door is Mark Baz, my very first trainer! 

I went over and gave him a hug, I hadn't seen him in years and he led me inside to meet his girlfriend who was sitting at their table by the window. 

We chatted for a while about what was going on with our kids (he and I have boys the same age), about our current lives and things in general. He told Kyra about how we met, and when he first met me I couldn't lift a 15 pound dumbbell, then he said he got me up to 65 pounds, and he was right, I had forgotten! Here is a picture taken many, many years ago when I trained with him.

Kyra wanted to know how I got arms like mine. I said "lifting lots of heavy weights!" We talked about what we were doing and I mentioned my hamstring injury, and I got up to demonstrate a Romanian Deadlift. I sat down and Kyra said "wait- stand up and turn around!" I did and she pointed to my butt. "That's what I want, how do you get that?!" I laughed and told her that I had asked Roy just yesterday when my butt blew up like it is now- it all of a sudden got big and round. Like BIG. Roy said he had noticed it Friday himself. I mean it's BIG, it almost requires it's own zip code.

Then Baz told Kyra a story that I had forgotten from so long ago. He said that I had always demonstrated "the pencil test". If you could take a pencil and place it under your butt cheek, above your hamstring (the glute/hamstring tie in) and it stayed there, you were fat. Your butt fat should not hold up the pencil! I tried this when I got home, the pencil fell immediately to the ground. 

I laughed, I had forgotten about this and told him it was like to the towel test for men. 

We left and went to dinner and as we sat at the table I told David that it was odd. When I am at the gym, I really don't get a second glance, except maybe from people who don't come there often, but when I go out say to a restaurant, people stare at me, why?

He said I am a freak! He said no normal person looks like me. I know he is not trying to hurt my feelings at all, he is just trying to get me to see myself the way others do. They see a freak, Seriously...I told him I am not big, I don't look like a bodybuilder, but he said to a regular person, I do! I look like a bodybuilder! 

It bothers me and it doesn't, I suppose it depends on my mood and what's going on. The more I thought about it, the more I realized why I am so comfortable in the gym, you see, I belong there, I am with people like myself.

Obviously we are all different, but we have similar goals and aspirations, we want to improve our bodies, our health and it means a lot to us. We take the time necessary to actually get up off the couch and go to the gym; we make an effort to eat healthy foods instead of the easy and somewhat tasty garbage.
And I realized for the first time that this is one reason why I enjoy competing, I am with people just like myself.  Don’t misunderstand me, I embrace diversity, I enjoy people of all different walks of life, but I also like being around “my own kind”, fellow competitors.
I understand that many people are curious and they cannot help but stare at others who appear different, so although I don’t feel out of place out in public, I do feel the stares, and sometimes it is annoying and I wish they would stop, I am not a freak in a freak show.
The other morning I as reading Facebook posts and Bret Contreras posted this video, and it all clicked.  At one point in my adult, weight training life I felt like the little girl dressed as the Bumblebee, but now, I am finally with other Bumblebees, it’s a happy and joyous feeling.
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