“Aren’t you scared of becoming too buff?” someone gasped at me during a dinner gathering the other day. I was almost gobsmacked. First, I was shocked that anyone could associate the word “scared” with “buff.” (As far as I am concerned, stronger is everything that I want to be, and becoming “buffer” is a side effect that I really can’t complain about ;D Plus, as an asian female, this feat is next to impossible...;) ). Then, I was horrified when I realized that this was probably the mentality of every other person at the dinner. Being quite safely cocooned in the accepting community of my box, I have to admit that it’s been a while since I’ve touched on the issue of body image and weight. Muscles = beautiful and strength = awesome had basically become a norm in my world, and it was almost disenchanting to realize that outside, many women are still suffering from severe cases of hulk-phobia.
But muscles are not really the most exciting part of the discussion today (what a surprise! ;D) Since I became rational enough to look back at my eating disorder days and try to distinguish what it was that caused it, why it developed to such a life-threatening stage, and what it was that finally pulled me out of that deep dark hole, I have always seemed to grasp at shapeless forms. However, today, I feel like I have finally pinpointed the crux of all this (THIS is it!): it is the fear of becoming.
Becoming. It’s such a moody word. It is the excitement for future achievement, the glory of what will be, but it is also the downfall of an oversized dream, and disillusionment of the starry-eyed - it is the drug of future promises. There is no stability in this word, and the same can be said for those whose lives hang upon its very thread. Our current epidemic lies in this unease - we live in a culture of insecurity, where people are constantly worrying about what is to come, and forget that they are wasting their precious present in doing so.
I wanted my life to be laid out on the straightest path possible. I spent so much time laying flowers and tending the grass and paving the road that I forgot about actually walking along it. I wanted to prevent every mistake and every downfall on my journey, but forgot that these preventions took precious time away from reaching my goal. Most disastrous of all, I didn’t even really know what I was going. And this is where the danger happens - “not knowing” slowly molds itself into “wanting everything”, all while wearing the mask of “I know exactly what I want”. I arrived at a crossroad, all of which I wanted to groom and pave, and spent all my time thinking about how I would carry out this complicated deed. I forgot that my ultimate goal was to walk all of those paths, rather than make sure that I wouldn’t trip on any of them. Don’t overthink your journey - don’t waste time worrying about how smooth it will be. There are bound to be some pebbles, but who cares? They’ll be good souvenirs.
The only thing that I urge everyone to carry with them is optimism. It is wistful thinking to believe that the power of will can manipulate everything in our favor, because there are some things in life that can never and will never budge. I will always be a 5-foot munchkin with arms that are disproportionately longer than my legs. What does that mean? It means that I will never be the one volunteering to reach the soup can on the top shelf, that I will never be able to rely on the length of my lower body to rocket through a rowing race. However, it also means that I always get to be at the top of a human pyramid and that I have to pull much less during a deadlift. The human mind is a wonderful thing. It is what turns the pumpkin into the glass carriage, and adorns Cinderella’s feet with glass slippers. The world is only as beautiful as you make it. Joy - that is one of the only sure things in life.
So the answer to the question above isn’t so much, “How could I be scared? How can buff be scary??” but rather, “Que sera sera”, or in other words, “what will be will be.” I am definitely not suggesting that every woman should love muscles, I am saying that if you are confident of your happiness during your journey, who cares where it leads you? If every brick is solid, how can you still fear that the house may fall down?
Stay joyful, my munchies! :)