What If We Took Up More Space?

Where did this idea come from? That women aren’t supposed to be strong?

We want to be skinny. We want to be “toned”. We don’t want to look like men. We spend time on the treadmills and ellipticals, allowing the heavy lifting to continue being a boys club. We keep contributing to this idea that women who lift weights are going to get “bulky” or “manly”.

We need to end this.

And for arguments sake, I won’t even bother with whether or not you actually will get bulky if you lift weights. You may or may not, depending on a myriad of factors. That is irrelevant. People who tell you that you won’t get bulky if you lift aren’t actually helping to change the conversation.

Who led us to all believe that we have to be small to be feminine?

Muscles don’t belong to men. Strength and toughness and perseverance are not uniquely masculine qualities.

So what if you took up more space?

Would it say anything about your value or worth as a person? As a woman? What if your gravitational pull to the earth showed a larger value? Would it change anything about the person you are?

The culture wide fear that we will get big if we lift weights hurts all of us. It contributes to the idea that women should take up less space on this earth than men. We put ourselves in a very small box when we say things like this. It keeps us all thinking that we need to be smaller, skinnier, have flatter stomachs, be a one size fits all idea of femininity.

Furthermore, when you buy into this idea, you keep yourself from growing mentally as well. I’m not saying you have to lift weights to be a mentally strong person. I know for a fact that if you are reading this, you already are an incredibly mentally strong person. But what if you stopped denying yourself growth in other areas of your life?

What if– instead of having a goal to fit into a certain size or shrink yourself down to fit a B.S. idea of what is acceptable– we instead focused on what our bodies can DO… rather than what they LOOK LIKE.

What if we celebrated what our bodies are capable of?

…and what our minds are capable of when we stop buying someone else’s idea of what women should act like, look like, or think like?

When you buy into the idea that you shouldn’t lift weights because you might get bigger and bigger = manly or bad, you deny yourself the opportunity to grow, to try something new, to do something that might make you so much happier than spending an hour on the stair climber. You also send the message that only men are allowed to take up more space.

You don’t have to lift weights if that isn’t what you like to do. You don’t have to do any workout that you don’t want to do. That is the beauty of freedom, and we are denying ourselves the freedom to be strong when we let fear dictate what we do or don’t do.

What if we allowed ourselves to be STRONG?

Feeling strong has never once made me feel like less of a woman. I’ve never looked at myself in the mirror and thought that my thighs were getting to big, my deltoids too defined, my figure too “manly”. That number on the scale has gone up. I feel better now than I did 20 lbs lighter. My clothes still fit more or less the same. I still have belly fat. My body is still doing it’s job to protect my hypothetical future child. I am still more or less the same woman I was 20 pounds ago, but most of what I’ve gained can’t be seen on the outside. I’ve gained confidence, I’ve gained a social life at my gym, I’ve ridden myself of the notion that I am not an athletic person, along with the stigmas I had about people who are.

Now that I am here, it’s hard to imagine why I would ever deny myself the opportunity for this type of growth just because I’m afraid I’ll take up more space.

Take up all the space you need to.

And fill it with radical love for everything you are and everything you are capable of.