I Choose to be Proud
July 23rd, 2018
A photographer at a borderline-insane physical event I participated in last year captured this shot of me during the event.
Now, when I first saw it my honest, initial reaction was: “Yikes, what a gross picture.” My brain immediately saw everything I hated and critiqued about myself, as if it’s been trained to do so my entire life. It took all of two seconds for me to scroll past it, and make up my mind that I was embarrassed of it because it didn’t fit the mold of the image of "perfect" we have shoved in front of our faces on a daily basis.
I just happened to scroll past this same picture on my computer again today, about 6 months later. For some reason, I saw it differently. I thought to myself, “You know what? Fuck that.” This body does work. Yeah, sure, there’s really zero six-pack here. I’ve got scars. My skin isn’t so tight, and kind of twists and folds when I run. I’m pale as hell and have red rashes from the heat and trying so hard. But screw that. This imperfect body ran a total of 8.5 miles up and down a goddamn hill 100 times. This body made it through college soccer and 3-a-days. This body wakes up and grinds at 5:45am every day. This body stays on its feet, and doesn’t quit on me, and carries me through events and workouts that my brain doesn’t necessarily think it can withstand. This body has been through more shit than it looks like, and I feel like I should have a freekin’ bodybuilder’s rock solid body despite the fact that I eat way too much candy.
And I could sit here and pick apart this picture until the end of time, but instead I choose to be proud of this body. Why is it our gut instinct to look at an image of ourselves and immediately obsess over what we don’t like? We’ve gotta stop that shit. We have to de-train our mind, to stop focusing on imperfections. Anyone with a story worth sharing has got scars to show for it. Let's look past what we don’t like about ourselves, and start embracing the good underneath. Being proud should be our first thought. Always. And I'm not sorry for it.