Let’s just cut to the Cliff’s Notes, shall we? I am a fat, recovering bulimic, breast cancer survivor, Scorpio, High-Femme queer, former English professor, body-positive fitness wingman. The one thing I am not is a jock. In fact, I grew up believing that sports were for people who weren’t smart enough to read. I was the high school multi-instrumentalist drum major who faked an allergy to chlorine to get out of the swimming unit in gym class, so I wouldn’t have to be seen in a bathing suit. I brazenly laughed at people who thought home runs were more important than Emily Dickinson, and at the same time, I secretly envied the jocks because I couldn’t imagine ever feeling that comfortable or safe in my own skin.
All that changed in 2010, when my momma was diagnosed with stage-4 cancer. My momma was the brightest star in my sky and my dearest friend, and her diagnosis forced me to look at my family history (filled with cancer, heart disease, drug addiction and alcoholism, vegetables that came from cans, diabetes, and very early deaths) and decide if I was going to let the familiar dictate my future, or if I was going to fight tooth and nail for something better.
I’d love to say that it was a smooth and straight-forward transition, from bookworm couch potato to triathlete and marathon finisher. It wasn’t. It was filled with hiccups, false starts, disappointments, and even injuries. But after first experimenting with yoga and then weightlifting (with the help of a skilled personal trainer), I had the most amazing series of realizations: I am stronger than I ever thought I was; I know what feels right for my body and what doesn’t; I don’t have to fit in to a certain size jeans in order to be fierce and sexy; and, low and behold, my body is actually an asset instead of a liability. Crazy, right?
And here’s the even crazier part: I’m not special. There’s nothing about my story that makes me different from any of my clients -- I don’t have some incredible badass super powers. And while the specifics vary, virtually all of my clients have struggled with self-doubt and body hatred and shame and insecurity. And that’s why I do what I do: Because discovering how much power was in my body all along, discovering that I can be a bookworm and leg press twice my own body weight, discovering that I can be healthy and fit and strong and capable of living exactly the life I want to live in my perfectly flawed body… that is revolutionary.
But solitary revolutions never change the world. So I became a personal trainer, earning my AFPA training certification in January of 2016 and my yoga teaching certification in December of 2017, and I bring this knowledge to my clients, one insecurity at a time, one bench press at a time, one downward dog at a time, and one victory at a time. I kick all of their asses, and I cradle all of their hearts. It might feel like it’s just exercise, but make no mistake: the moment a previously-insecure person feels like her/his body is “good enough” for the first time…nothing is ever the same again.
It’s really not a bad gig, for a band geek.