11, 12, 13 ...
On the 14th rep he squeezed my tricep and commented, ‘Very good’.
Earlier, he squeezed my hips and told me that part of me was nice, ‘The best’, he said. Different cultures provide different boundaries for what is acceptable and not acceptable to say or do to a human. But what is across the board is the obvious patriarchal lens for which fitness is viewed—no matter where we are in the world. Whether he squeezed my hips and told me they were disastrous or nice is irrelevant. What he's seeing is through his lens, not mine. But if my lens were different for how I feel about myself, it may have been more than just neither here nor there for me. But it’s not. There’s not a single thing he, nor anyone, could say that would make me think differently about my appearance. What it is, however, is a reminder of the broader scope of the patriarchal lens that fitness is viewed through. To look a certain way. What is acceptable. What is good. It’s interesting he felt he had the right to provide unsolicited feedback on my body, my looks. But I didn’t have the local language to turn it back on him. Across the board it’s the same. Whether in a country that is your own or one that is foreign, the one thing you can depend on is yourself. The way in which we can change the the patriarchal lens of fitness—in a foreign country without the language to do so or in our own—is by owning our body in every single iteration it comes in. It’s an ever-changing organism that can never, ever be defined as good or bad, fat or thin, weak or strong, acceptable or not. You deciding that your actual self is not conceptual is the most impactful thing you can do. If someone comments on your body, stay in your own self appreciation. Someone else’s concept of you has nothing to do with you. That’s their business. You decide the lens in which you see your own body, what your true self is. Then, change the ‘conversation’ to a more interesting topic.
We talked about our equal love for bicep curls.
Then we decided to have a pull up battle.
His false grip pull ups would have been more impressive if they were full reps. Just saying.
To learn about what you are truly capable of, to stop second guessing yourself, feel like an athlete in the gym but participate in life outside of the gym, go here to get on the waitlist for The Bold Collective. You can learn more about it here.