Yesterday we had a friend over for dinner, which was lovely. And when she was getting ready to leave, I commented on her awesome boots; they are, I told her, exactly what I’m looking for. She told me where she had purchased them, and so I took a slightly closer look and said “hmmm…not sure those would go up over my massive calves” and then we laughed. And she said “what happened to the cute suede boots you bought when we went to Toronto that time?” and I told her that I had blown those out last year – that they were tight in the calf to begin with, and one morning last winter I was putting them on to leave for work and I pulled up the zipper and then – BOOM! – I blew out a seam. And then we laughed again. Then I told her about my experience trying to find some cute rain boots, and having no luck because, again, I need them extra big in the calf. And she said “You know, you’ve earned those calves with all the running and karate and everything, right?” And I agreed that I had. Partly it’s genetics – my dad had massively strong calves too – “not calves, but steers” as he used to say – but yes, a lot of it is from the training that I’ve been doing. So yes, I have indeed earned the calve-alry that I sport.
After she left, I started thinking about how I used to apologize for the various parts of my body that didn’t seem to measure up to the gold standard. And I was actually pretty proud of myself for being able to say “dude, take a look at these things, they’re huge – but go on and feel them, solid freaking muscle, ok?” And of course it goes without saying that my friend is pretty amazing for her thoughts on the matter too. “You earned them”. Damn straight I did.
And then this morning I had a peek at Jezebel as I often do to ease into the work week. And there, buried beneath the photos of Snooki and Katy Perry and articles about Lindsay Lohan (I know, I skim those, trust me) was this fantastic article, and reading it made me feel so damned good, and it was like the universe had planned the whole boots/calves thing plus this just for meeeeee!
Because yes, I too am sick of so-called fitness magazines and their one-track collective minds of “work out to lose weight”. Even the grand-daddy of them all, the revered Runner’s World has gone down that path, causing The Genealogist – an avid runner and reader of this mag – to cancel his subscription. You want to know why I run, and why I kickbox and why I do karate? It’s not to lose weight. It’s to kick ass and take down names. That’s why.
Karate and kickboxing have given me the confidence to just be – to be at peace, or dare I even say at one with my body. And to ignore what society dictates I should weigh or look like. I love that in the change rooms at the dojo the women are all in various stages of undress comparing bruises (our favourite pasttime) and NO ONE ever says “oh god look at me in this sports bra, I really need to do something about this roll” or anything like that. There’s no snarking, there’s just appreciation for who we are and what we can accomplish with our bodies. And it is so rad and so awesome and I wish more women could be like that. Not that everyone needs to do karate, of course. But the ability to treat your body with that amount of respect, because look what you were just able to do with that body! Whether it’s yoga or karate or running or dancing or whatever. Or if it’s even just climbing a set of stairs and that is an accomplishment for you, it’s time to celebrate it. As Morning Gloria, the author of the linked article says:
“Your body was made for so much more than being looked at, deprived of food, and enjoyed by others. Your body was made for kicking some ass.”