When I was in fifth grade I remember thinking, no man will ever want to marry me with this skin.
When I was in eighth grade I remember thinking, I desperately need make up or I will never get a boyfriend.
When I was in high school I remember thinking, I better give my body away so he wants me.
When I was in college and my twenties, these thoughts dictated how I showed up in the world.
I don't know where these thoughts started from. It doesn't matter now.
What matters now is that I know they are not my thoughts to carry. I realize that I decide what thoughts are real and important. I think because I was able to fight my way through the cobwebs of those thoughts, that I am able to feel so empowered in my self today.
Today at the gym I realized, I love being strong. I love being big and powerful and it is a place where I feel safe having a presence. I love the way lifting makes me feel. I love the definition that lifting weights can create in my muscles. I love being able to pick up weights that I never thought possible. Weights that women are told are not for them because they might get "too big."
I want to be big. I want to be big and loud and have a presence that is LARGE no matter what anyone thinks of that. Physical strength has taught me to come back to the ground. To be grounded in who I really am. To stop myself from thinking men decide who and what I should be.
Now that I am 38 I think, I love you Casey. Thank you for finally seeing yourself and realizing YOU decide what is valuable to YOU. THAT is beautiful.