I was quite the tomboy growing up, constantly trying to keep up with my older brother. I was proud of being the girl who wasn’t afraid of creepy crawlies, the dirt or the cold. I would work alongside my brothers: lifting heavy logs, boxes and furniture. I was known as the tough, strong girl.
But then I reached that awkward preteen phase and I began to question whether I was strong or just plain fat. I started to distance myself from my “strong persona”. It was pretty easy to do: I simply stopped acting like a tomboy and stopped helping out whenever there was heavy lifting to do be done. I didn’t want to be known as strong anymore because I was afraid that was somehow linked to my weight in people’s minds.
I became weaker, less confident and more overweight.
Fast-forward to now. I am starting to realize that working on my upper body strength is about more than just getting stronger. In a way, by building my muscles, I am rebuilding my identity. I want to be strong again.