A road. A race.
In middle school, I was always one of the skinniest girls: a peapod with a floppy ponytail. My shirts were too big. My legs were straight lines. My wrists could break off at any moment. I was a small kid.
In high school, I tried drinking whole milk. I ate a ton. I wanted curves. I wanted a body that moved, that swayed, that wasn’t so string bean thin.
Then, I went to college and my body changed. I gained weight—maybe twenty pounds from my high school years. I gained mass, but I wasn’t strong.
Now, I am thirty and this Monday at training we were asked if we wanted to do a weigh-in. Some women wanted to and some refused (weight is such a delicate issue). I opted for it. In this setting, with my fellow teammates, I figured, “It’s a team. They aren’t going to care and I’m not going to care.” However, my reaction to my weigh-in was odd. It was a mixture of embarrassment and pride of how much I weighed. In high school, I felt like I was nothing because I was so thin. In college, I felt I had substance. I weighed something. However, this isn’t good enough. The point is not to just be heavy; the point is to be strong.
Women are often prompted to be skinny. This is the goal: thin. But is it? What about weight that is powerful? I want my body to weigh whatever it will weight but move like a horse, every muscle working in motion to propel, faster, and faster, and faster.
I want legs that will carry me through. I want calves that will take me down that road faster than I thought I could go. I want to be sleek but muscular. Racers are muscles working together, legs churning, moving, digging in deep; they are bodies in motion, powerfully soaring across that beautiful finish line.