I’m in the process of doing a Tank Challenge, whereby someone has challenged me to wear ALL the sporting/athletic T-shirts and Tanks I have every time I train. And one of those tanks is by Jen Sinklers’ Unapologetically Strong line.
While wearing my Unapologetically Strong tank, I had a thought. I was so grateful, and proud, that other women out there felt the same way I did about training and weights. And that they too, at some stage, must have felt the way I did; which was the need to apologies for it.
Let me set the background here.
When I was younger, I felt I had to apologies for doing something well. For being better at something than other people. More specifically, for being stronger than someone, especially if it was a male.
Rewind 10 years, to where my first job as a Personal Trainer was at a commercial gym. I was fairly young and inexperienced at 25, and felt a little self-conscious in the weights room, especially with men around. One day I was goblet squatting and had a 25 kgs DB on the bench. As I prepared to lift the weight to start another set, a man approached me, “Oh, little lady, someone must have left that weight there for you to put away. Let me do that for you”. A little confused, I answered, “Thank you, but no. That’s my weight. I’m about to use it.” He laughed, “Nooo. That can’t be yours. I can barely lift that!”. This weight was nowhere near my max. I actually thought he was joking. Still confused, I was wondering if he was laughing at my weight, or was he laughing at the idea of me doing that weight, or was it because he thought I couldn’t lift it. I had no idea!
I picked up the weight, put it on another bench and apologised before I continued my set. I’m not sure why I apologised: was it for him being wrong, or for taking up his space, or for some reason I have no idea. But I apologised!
Let’s look at this situation for one moment. I’m sure this man thought he was doing me a favour. Thought he was helping me out. So I can’t knock that. At least he tried to help me out (which is more than I can say for some people leaving their weights around a weights room – gggrrr). But, why start with “Little Lady”, why laugh at the fact that I may be able to lift that weight… and why the hell did I apologies for it?
I’m not going to sit here and read into a situation that happened years ago. But it made me think of all the times I’ve had to apologise in the gym for something simply because the other person couldn’t handle it. As I got older, as I started to mature, I started to not give a shit about what people thought of me or what I was doing in the gym. I am strong for my size, and I will not apologise for it just to make someone else feel better. I worked hard to get there in the end.
And don’t let looks deceive you. Strong comes in all different shapes and sizes. All these ladies here are strong!
And instead of feeling bad for that, be proud. Like Alessia Cara says:
No better you than the you that you are
No better life than the life we’re living
Not better time for your shine, you’re a star
You’re beautiful. Yeah – you’re beautiful! –
Any women out there who feel the same as me, you’re not alone. You’re really not alone when there’s a whole movement about it made popular by Girls Gone Strong, Jen Sinkler, Neghar Fanooni, Molly Gailbraith and Jill Coleman just to name a few. And the movement is this. Do NOT apologise for being stronger, or smarter, or better at something. Own it. Be proud of it. Be Unapologetically Stronger! And go kick some ass!