that's right, stronger spelled with a "grrr". i wanted to write what i'm about to yesterday, but i needed some time to sit with it, perhaps even sleep on it. so i did. and in the fresh light of today, i still want to say what i'm gonna say, so i'm gonna say it.
my blog post on 10.06 generated a lot of comments on the facebook. most of the comments were along the lines of "quit hating yourself and love yourself more..." and this particular post from a friend of mine has really stuck with me (you may have to click on it to read it):

"you are perfectly imperfect and the sooner you shamelessly embrace that and all it means the more successful you will be at your goals."

the sooner you shamelessly embrace that and all that it means, the more successful you will be... 

over the past few weeks, with the encouragement of my trainer kathi (aka "kj2"), i've started looking into some other workout options since the 21 day fix DVD's have gotten pretty boring after 2 1/2 rounds of it.

(enter target, my employer, stage right.)

about two years ago, target built its employees this "plaza" space. it's meeting space, common space, work space, basketball courts, outdoor fire pits, grassy knolls, free bike lockers, free locker rooms with towel service, and a fitness studio with free classes - everything from boot camp to yoga and interval training. asides from using the locker rooms to change and go for a run, i've never really taken advantage of the class option. first of all, do you really want to sweat and jump around with the people you work with? i mean, when you're sober? not really. and here's the thing about working at target - everyone is beautiful, everyone is thin, and everyone is 23. i mean, not literally everyone, but that is pretty much the standard demographic of target's headquarters employees. and i don't know about you, but i don't really want to jump around and "fat sweat" with a bunch of 23-year-old nordic supermodels.

but one of the classes called "strength23" jumped out at me as something that just maybe i could try. with the running habit i'm trying to sustain, i don't need any more cardio or jumping around on my 36-year-old knees. but i could use more strength training options during the week. and it just so happens that i can take this class 2-3 times per week and it totally works with my schedule. alright, Universe, i hear you and you win.

so last night was my 5th time going to the class in two weeks. i walked in, grabbed my 5# and 10# dumbbells and settled onto a mat in the back of class and got ready to watch the "parade of beautiful" come into the room. and here they came, all appearing to be between the ages of 23 and 28 with perfectly flat stomachs, perfect hair and perfect workout clothes. and here i am in the back row with my tummy-from-hell that will probably always hang over my athletic pants and that bra-fat that likes to squirm out of the underarms of my well-worn tank top and god bless this room, it's full of mirrors. awesome.

the sooner you shamelessly embrace that and all that it means, the more successful you will be... 

i do really love this class - all the single-leg burpees, push-up's, planks, all manner of squats and presses and curls, and i'm rocking all of this last night with my 10# dumbbells, which felt difficult but not impossible. we're about halfway through the class and of course i'm checking other people out (go ahead and judge me if you don't do this) and as i'm watching these other skinny and beautiful 20-year-old's with their seamless stomachs and bony backs, i noticed that most of them had to switch out their ambitious 12# and 15# dumbbells for the 5's and 7's. and their squats looked pretty weak... and during planks their lower backs were either totally sinking down to the floor or arched way too high in the air... and they had to do their push-ups from their knees while i was rocking them from my toes...

and you know what i did? instead of diverting my gaze from my own floppy reflection in the mirror to the beautiful reflection of everyone else like i always do, i started watching myself and my own body. and i didn't immediately see my poochy belly or flabby side boob. i was dripping in sweat with my sloppy pile of hair on top of my head, and i literally thought that i looked like some beautiful, amazon, warrior woman. i saw how amazingly strong i am right now, just as i am.

the sooner you shamelessly embrace that and all that it means, the more successful you will be... 

i'm not a small girl. i never will be. i'm 5'10 and have pretty big bones. i will never be tiny, and i'm not even sure anymore that i will ever lose the 20 pounds i've had on me since having the twins.

but i am strong. i am stronger than i was two years ago, i am stronger than i was two months ago, and i'm stronger than i was two weeks ago. i am strong and getting strongrrr. and if it came to blows between me and one of the svelt, blonde, nordic beauties in a dark alley, i'm pretty sure i could take 'em.

so i don't know. it was a nice revelation last night to start loving myself for all that i can do, not hating my body because i can't wear a pair of size 6 jeans like i could when i was 27. that may just be a really stupid goal anyway.

until next time,
ashley "all 188 pounds of me" rebekah

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