Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Childhood and Beauty.

My last two posts have been pretty Deep. So before someone drowns around here I'd like to be kind of shallow for a moment and share something - I want to talk a little about what we look like on the outside and how it makes us feel on the inside.

I'd like to tell you all a little story first.

Once upon a time there was a little pre teen girl named Allie. She wasn't born with a silver spoon in her mouth and couldn't wear fancy clothes like her friends. She was fat in all the wrong places. She ate cheap junk food like Ring Dings and Bunch a Crunch. Big belly, flat chest. She had snaggle teeth. One of the top front ones was traped behind the bottom row.... until she got braces... with yellow and orange rubber bands. She had horrible super short boy haircut which she tried to maintain by using a bottle of gel on her hair everyday. Because of that, her classmates gave her the nickname "helmet head". The boys called her "Barkey" because they said she looked like a dog.

One day after a long day of teasing in Junior High, the little girl ventured into the deli where all the cool kids hung out after school. She was nervous but she really wanted some Eye Poppers and Cry Babies which were only sold there. As she was digging though the gum looking for her favorite flavors - green and yellow, the most sour ones - some girls and boys started making fun of her. She felt like she was going to cry so she decided to get the hell out of there. She went to the register and behind the counter was a realllly cute guy who most of the girls liked. He was probably in high school and "cool".

That boy looked at the young, shy girl and said "Don't let them get to you. One day soon you're going to be beautiful. The boys will love you and the girls will hate you. Stay yourself and don't listen to those mean people. Their words are only a reflection of themselves". The little girl never ever forgot that boy and his words and kindness made her smile that day and stuck with her forever.

A few years later she was off to high school. The summer before crazy things happened. She lost some weight from being on two swim teams, she let her hair grow out, she learned a thing or two about eyeliner and grew a huge set of knockers.

Things still weren't perfect though by any means. She went overboard in her quest to not be what she was. She tweazed her once bushy, overgrown brows into super thin lines which were barely visible in photographs or sunlight. Her mother called her "Baldy Brows" and "Minny Mouse".

No one on this earth is perfect but we need to accept ourselves for all of our beauty and all of our flaws.

Anyway, over the years I've grown into myself. I'm not that awkward kid on the outside anymore, although sometimes I feel that way on the inside.

But my experiences with beauty and weight and teasing have really shaped who I am and how I treat other people.

I HAVE NEVER AND WILL NEVER tease another person for how they look. I'll never compare myself to another woman for better or for worse. I will never put another person down for their looks.

People who use looks as a way to make other people feel badly about themselves are mean. Flat out mean. Every single time I've been around people who have teased or made comments about someones looks to their face or behind their back, I've at the very least stood up to them and will not be involved in that kind of talk. It's hateful.

As a woman I've thought a lot about body image. I've thought about what I look like, what I've looked like in the past, and what I'd like to look like. I've been blessed with a very supportive Mother and because of her I have a very healthy, realistic sense of myself.

I've been called fat. A lot recently. This morning I got on the scale and weighed in at 123# at 5'2. I'm beautiful but more important.. I'm healthy. I am not fat by any stretch of the imagination. Anyone who's said that about me is a fool and out of touch with reality. Those are mean spirited comments made to inflict harm to my self-esteem. They didn't work. I don't listen to hateful people and I know I'm fit and getting fitter. I'm at a healthy weight - not over or under.

As a CrossFit trainer I feel like I have a responsibility to my clients and to everyone around me - friends, family and people who've seen me on the internet and have reached out to me through e-mail - to maintain a positive attitude about my body and about health and fitness. I want to lead by example and know on the internet, words count for a lot.

We need to accept ourselves for who we are and how we look right this minute while working towards making ourselves the best that we can be... Not the best that someone else can be.

We should never use our looks as a weapon to make other people feel badly about themselves. Instead we should be encouraging, and lead by example to inspire people to feel good about themselves and become better. We need to be fit on the outside and feel happy on the inside. Our jobs as trainers include helping people achieve both of those things.

When I've seen and heard other trainers knock peoples bodies, I've been horrified. It's an embarrassment. It's wrong. How can you be supportive to your clients honestly when you're on the internet or out in the world bashing other peoples bodies? It's a contradiction and a failure as a trainer.

As CrossFitters we work hard in the gym to become FIT. We ignore societies ideas that have been promoted about what "true beauty" is. Our one goal is to become as fit and healthy as we can be. What we look like as a result is strictly determined by our functional training and genetics. Not by training to look a certain way. We eat right to be healthy. We train hard so we can live long, healthy lives.

Apparently we're a more superficial bunch than I initially thought. But we are human after all and our looks do matter to a certain extent. I'm aware of this and I except it. It's reality.

I like to tell people "Train Hard and the Looks Will Come". I like to think of looking good as a side effect of a healthy lifestyle.

But should being thin be our goal? Are we chasing low body fat or fitness? Are we after being the tiniest we can be or the healthiest?

Women and men come in all shapes and sizes. We know what's healthy, but healthy people don't all look exactly the same. Some people are naturally thin, tall, tiny. Some are bigger, heavier, stacked...

We have to make the best of what body type we've been given and make it into the fittest that we possibly can. That's why comparasons of two women or men are ridiculous.

Whatever our bodies look like when they're fit is beautiful. They will not all look the same. It's impossible and that's great.

I'm concerned largely what my body can do - I can run, clean and jerk, deadlift, squat fucking heavy, press 98# right over my head. Looking hot in a bikini is just icing on the cake. I have some jiggle in my ass and I love it.

My goal is to become fitter. Fitter by the day through CrossFit training and with the Zone diet. That is my one and only true goal. If my body changes I'll be fine with that. If it doesn't I'll be fine with that, too. I don't care if I lose body fat. I don't care if my legs get bulkier. I don't care if my arms look muscular and I don't care if I keep a little pudgy belly. I feel blessed that I've been given a beautiful healthy body that allows me to move though this world and do incredible things. To hell with anyone and everyone who wants to shit talk it. Blatant bashing should never be tolerated.

This nonsense about me being fat scares me. The junk about comparing my body to other peoples does as well. Especially considering who it's come from. As CrossFitters and CrossFit trainers we have a responsibility to everyone who comes to us and to represent our whole community well. I want us to have a reputation for being an insanely fit, realistic and a positive, supportive group.

I don't want us to get caught up with the rest of the world preaching that skinny is "better" and anyone who isn't a size 0 is unattractive. I don't want to make standards of beauty for our microcosm or the rest of the world. I don't want us to define what is perfect an acceptable. We knock that kind of talk in Hollywood because it isn't healthy or realistic. Lets not let it seep into our community too.

Train Hard. Eat Right. Be Healthy. Abandon the negativity and be nice.

If you're ever tempted to make comments about another persons body, try this - Think of someone talking to your Mother, Sister, Son, Daughter that way. What would you do and how would you feel? That can and should apply to the rest of your life and behavior as well.

Can we please start lifting each other up instead of breaking each other down?

Let's feel good about ourselves, work hard to become our best and help people around us achieve those same things by being positive.

Here's to a healthy 2009 filled with lots of WODs and tons of PRs.

Happy New Year to you all.


theresa said...

Happy New Year, Allison!

Justin said...

Happy new year grl!

DIF - CrossFit Cape Fear said...

I'll shoot off an e-mail later, but I want to give a quick memory of you that I have....

CF Kids cert this past year - getting to spend time with you and get to know you as who you are. Watching you learn, play and perform that weekend, then chit-chatting about your biggest passion around - CrossFit and helping people.

Listening to your hysterically funny (sorry) fear of the outdoors (over that one now, eh?) and finally heading to the airport and listening to you share your story about growing up.

I got to hear your values and beliefs... who you ARE.

The boy who told you that was spot on and I can say that you've taken them words and have grown immensely.

All this to say, you've done a great job - not in just how you look, but in your compassion for people you come in contact with. You rock girl!

Have a great 09 and I'm sure I'll see you this year up in VA sometime.

Stay strong!

MJ said...

Uhm ... hey, I was the guy behind the counter! I knew you looked familiar. ;)

Happy Año Nuevo!

Anonymous said...

Damn straight, girl! You're beautiful, you're perfect at your weight, and don't let anyone tell you different. The "fat" comments are ridiculous and come from a petty, sad place.

If I were you, I would scrap the Zone and just go Paleo . . . Less muss and fuss, with all of the health benefits AND you eat enough calories. Since I stopped trying to Zone and just planned on getting all of my carbs from veggies and fruits I've been feeling more fantastic than the Zone has ever made me feel.

Anonymous said...

I agree with doing paleo... gets you just as lean without all that measuring and weighing and crap. And you can drink caffeine! Go over to the Performance Menu for lots of info on Paleo eating. Its better for you if your goal is to add strength. That is how Greg Everett, Aimee Anaya, and Robb Wolf eat and have all their clients eat.

AllisonNYC said...

Anonymous - I'm going to give this Zone thing a shot the way Robb suggested. I'm going to stick with it for a few months at least to give it a fair chance. I hope I get the results I'm looking for - increased performance, more strength, faster recovery, blah blah.

If not I'll give Paleo a shot too. I've heard great things about it.

:) Thanks

John- That was a great weekend. The cert was such a blast. I felt like a kid again and it was hysterical to watch you and the other men jumping around like children.

The games were awesome - I hated dodgeball, but CossFit baseball was cool... even though it was so freaking hot that the bottoms of my feet were burning when we had to run around the building.

It was really freaking hot at BrandX that weekend wasn't it?!

Anonymous said...

Not knowing you at all...just via xfit websites etc...think I saw u chillin a the games too I liked your most current post...but as a cute girl too:) don't you still find it hard in general...being cute/strong? Im an east coast gal living in Cali and just find the presures sometimes frustrating. I find I still can't win!! Oh the joy of being female.

AllisonNYC said...

Find it difficult being cute AND strong?! Heck no!

I think it's as cool as cool gets. If you really do, too, then you have to fight the people around you who are sending you a different message.

No one is ever going to be in agreement with every person about everything - that includes body image and fitness... SO, you have to decide what's right for you and stay true to that.

Easier said than done sometimes, especially in Cali, but with practice, it gets easier. Just stay positive and focus on what YOU want.. not what other people tell you that you should want.

Jake Shannon said...

That is a tremendous and inspiring post, thank you for sharing...!

Anonymous said...

123# at 5'2" may sound high, but consider that you have more muscle mass than the average woman. It could actually be low if you are trying to be muscular.

Anonymous said...

seriously dont go on the zone diet. You might be the most beautiful women that ive ever seen

Anonymous said...

I would say that you are one of the most beautiful women that ive ever seen and your body is absolutely insane in the best way possible. Anyone that says you're fat or anything close to it is out of their mind.

RLW said...

I love that this comes up in google image searching "awkward kid" because this is a quick read and still very inspiring and so positive.

thanks for sharing!