Thursday, February 27, 2014

Day 206 of 365: Strong is the New Skinny

There is this incredible trend going on, and I hope to God it continues on, to the point that it's the only message when I have children.

"Strong is the new skinny."

I grew up in the same world the rest of us grew up in: a world where a woman's worth was based on how skinny she can make herself. In a way, I lucked out: sometime after I transitioned out of adolescence and teenagehood, there was this sudden uptick in this absurd mentality. Now we have thigh gaps -- this weird ideal where your thighs don't touch when you stand straight up (fun fact: I haven't had a "thigh gap" since puberty, and I was a scrawny little creature for most of my teenaged years). Then there's this hipbone craze, which culminated in the most effective trolling I have ever seen in my entire life, "bridge gap".

Some people have already heard of the bridge gap: the idea is that a woman is so skinny that, when she lies down, her hip bones jut out, creating a "bridge" with the waist of her pants. What people don't know is that this new ideal was created by -- who else -- the lovely folks who visit 4chan and decided to see what would happen if they put this concept out into the world.

We have become so messed up in our society that we took an obvious trolling ruse and made it genuine. And for what? To tell people they can buy all these new products to lose more weight?

A funny thing happened when I took up distance running on top of teaching tai chi and upping my game in yoga: I gained 10 pounds. It's funny how negative the connotation of that statement is. I gained 10 pounds. Say that at a cocktail party and you'll have your friends clicking their tongues and reassuring you that it's going to be okay and sharing their diet plans with you.

But, man, I loved it. I gained 10 pounds -- ten pounds of muscle. I put on my running leggings and my legs looks like they could be transplanted onto any professional athlete and no one would see a difference. I have abs so strong that I can lift my legs into a headstand without any "kicking off" on my part. I can do a full pull-up for the first time in my life. I can drop and give you twenty and only start hating life around push-up 15.

I love it. I love feeling like I am capable of so much more now. I love feeling like I could better push a car out of a ditch or pick up a heavy dog or help carry that heavy thing from one place to another. I love feeling like, if I needed to, I could dash 5 miles to the nearest hospital or safety spot or whatever it is that I need to dash 5 miles to. I feels incredible. I am so thankful for that extra 10 pounds of weight.

Strong is the new skinny. And may it stay that way. It's the first step toward a healthier way of living life. Fuck the bridge gap. Give me the iron bridge.

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