Cassandra has been a client of mine for several months now. She’s a woman on a journey. I will be following up today’s article with a part two as her sweet daughter penetrated my heart with the very words that penetrated her mama’s. Welcome Cassandra, thank you for sharing your story!
Sitting on my couch with my daughter I saw that Lu posted a video of herself lifting. I was so excited to see what she achieved since I really found inspiration from her strength. My daughter on my lap and my phone in hand we watched Lu. My daughter immediately started cheering “GO LU!” She had me play it at least 5 times and with each view of the short video she cheered just as enthusiastically. She turned to me at the end of our last view and said,“ Mom I would like to have arms like Lu” I told her she could work on her “lumps”, her name for muscles. My daughter turned to me again and said, “ Mom if I had muscles I could be beautiful like Lu.” I looked at her and realized she was so wise beyond her years. She had no idea that comment was so profound to me. She saw the beauty in strength.
I realized my daughter didn’t care if I was a size 0, that wasn’t beauty to her. She saw strength and that was beauty. She saw a beautiful women lifting weights and said Mom I want to be like that I want to be strong and that is what I needed to hear at that moment.
I have battled with self image my whole life. I always felt invisible and not good at anything I did. Looking for guidance from my parents when it came to sports I wanted to try such as crew, the answer was always you are too small or no. My only option, in my parents opinion was dance. I did love it but I didn’t feel I fit. Being a shy and anxiety ridden person I found solace, oddly enough on stage. I would be on stage and feel safe because I couldn’t see the faces just hear the praise from the applause.
I was sucked into the image of a dancer being 90 lbs and always suffering from the fear I was not tiny enough. I was thin but weak. I knew I had more in me. I mentally strong but physically not. I was addicted to the praise for being so small. I was somehow visible and worthy if I was a size 0 and 90 lbs. I was not happy though, I had the praise of others appeasing the vane side of me but my heart was empty. I was always looking to material things and others acknowledgements to fill the dark hole in my heart.
I made the decision to get in the gym. I was sick of being unhappy and knew that there was a doingness that comes with happiness. I needed to do something to help me to get to where I wanted to be. I had 3 children and wanted to be healthy and strong for them. I couldn’t just wish myself into being healthy and strong. I was inspired by a friend who made an amazing change when she started training with Lu and I was at a point in my life that I too was ready.
The first couple weeks were awkward. I remember Lu saying about something I was doing “this needs to be athletic not pretty!” I was so lost. How do I make myself into an athlete? I had been so disconnected from my body after the last 10 years of surgeries and illness. The whole process was hard and I wanted to quit so many times until Lu had me lift weights for the first time. I felt for the first time that I had found something I was good at. I felt strong, free and empowered. I felt I was shedding every burden I had ever carried every time I came up from that weighted squat. I felt amazing. I was stronger than I thought! I was hooked!
I realized that Lu had brought me through my fears and weakness by putting that weight on that bar and believing I could do it. She has helped me get back to me. I felt free. With that freedom started a new journey of really getting to know who I am all over. I am taking the first few steps on this new path and enjoying each new thing. I have had to shed fear and insecurities and just be there in the gym ready to create the person I want to be. I am now creating the person I have seen in my mind since I was a little girl but I let others considerations dictate my path. This time I am taking full responsibility for me, my life and my body. I am work in progress and loving every minute.