Goodness, I never realized how healing writing could be for me...
A few months ago, one of the trainers at BBC (thanks Sara Nasre) posted a reel of her working out and Elliot saw it. I commented on it to say that Elliot had said something like "Wow Mom, she's so strong". Sara's response was "Strong is the new pretty" and for some reason that phrase has stuck in my head like a song that you can't kick.
Let's break it down for a minute.
As a woman, society tells us we are supposed to look a certain way, act a certain way, and live up to a certain standard. We are supposed to be in shape, but not TOO much because then we will look too masculine right?!? Don't put on too much weight either because then you won't be pretty enough. We hold ourselves to such a high standard as women because that is what society demands of us, but then we break because those standards are usually too hard to reach. We make ourselves sick trying to do it all, be strong, but not too strong, be pretty but not too pretty because then you're vain, be smart but not so smart that you are pretentious. It's all too much.
When I got pregnant with Eden, things went haywire. Around 25-26 weeks, I was put in the hospital for a few days and given steroid injections. When I was finally released to go home, I was put on bed rest and given more steroids to keep her cooking a little longer. We didn't think we would make it past 28 weeks, but by the Grace of God, she lasted almost 37 weeks. I had daily contractions, twice-weekly appointments, bed rest, and lots of stress. I would do it all over again to get the chaotic little bear that runs through our house. However, because of the steroids + depression + bed rest, I gained more weight in her pregnancy than in Elliot and Jonah's combined. If that wasn't enough, our "healthy" baby turned out to be not so healthy. Multiple NICU visits, a ton of in-home nursing care, and months later, more weight piled on. THENNNN, we were dealing with the stress + fear of a global freaking pandemic. So yeah, you can say, the weight just wasn't going anywhere. I was at the largest I had ever been, in the throws of postpartum depression, trying to be a great mom and a great wife. Needless to say, I felt far from strong.
It would take 2 years of one of my favorite people, Jasmine, pushing me to finally get my butt in gear. I first started working on my mental health, and man...that was a doozy (still is), then I started working on my physical health.
Let's pause for a second, can we as a group agree that having your doctor tell you that you would feel much better (in regards to body pain) if you lost some weight, is NOT in fact a great motivator to lose said weight?
Okay, so I was working on my health, and in my mind, I had a goal. I wanted to be stronger. Stronger physically, stronger mentally, and stronger emotionally. I wanted it all, and I wanted it right away. Anyone who has been on any type of transformation journey can tell you, it definitely doesn't happen overnight. I wanted progress and instant gratification. However, thanks to the help of some great mental health specialists, a pretty good team of doctors, and some good trainers at BBC I learned to let things flow. I'm still working on the patience aspect haha, BUT before I knew it, I was feeling stronger. Even in small doses, the strength was starting to show its stubborn head.
Yes, I was losing weight, and yes we figured out most of my anxiety triggers and how to avoid them (sometimes haha) but more importantly, I was finding me.
Why is any of this important?
Well, what I'm learning is, society can suck it. Strength isn't defined by what number I see on the scale (although the fluctuations still kick me sometimes, I'm human), it isn't defined by how smart you are or even how talented you are. Strength (at least mine) is defined by how hard I work to KEEP working. I don't know if that makes sense to you but it does to me. I fall, a lot, I have setbacks quite often, I get overwhelmed, and my anxiety can still get the best of me BUT I haven't quit moving forward. That, for me, is the true definition of strength.
So yeah, Strong is definitely the New Pretty in my book and I hope (and pray) that this mindset is here to stay. That wasn't supposed to rhyme but hey at least it sounds good haha.
My body doesn't always cooperate with me, I mean I'm currently sitting still typing this and my knees + hands are incredibly stiff and painful BUT I will press on. Not because society tells me I have to, but because I want it more and more each day. Every day will not be, and has not been, a strong day for me....some days, I lay on my closet floor with a blanket and let my anxiety take control for a little while. However, I have made a promise to myself that I will continue every day because I want our children to know that strength isn't a fixed thing...it's constantly changing just as we do.
So, with that, I'll end this cathartic writing session because while my mind may be strong right now, my body is kicking my butt.
Take care of your body people, it's the only one you'll ever get.