I take my daughter with me to CrossFit every day. I want her to remember watching her mom lift heavy weights, climb ropes and sweat. I am writing this letter to her in hopes that as she grows, the lessons I have learned doing CrossFit will help shape her image of what it means to be a woman.
A letter to my daughter about Exercising AND TRUTH
You just turned 5. You love pretty dresses, sparkly headbands and drawing. You know you are talented, beautiful and creative. But, there will come a time when you will stop believing those things. You will start to look around, and you will see and hear lie after lie about what it means to be a woman. Slowly, if you are anything like your mom, you will begin to believe those lies. You will then spend too much of your life trying to fit the false models the culture has constructed for you.
I have been practicing doing my life better. You know this because you have been with me. When I wake us up early to go to the CrossFit gym before school, it is not just for me. I want you to watch me struggle and succeed daily. I want you to say you want to “be strong like Mom.” Most of all, I want you to grow up stronger than I did, unaffected by the lies you may hear.
CrossFit has extinguished these five lies for me, and it can for you, too.
Lie No. 1: Never be ugly
I used to believe that no matter what was going on, I should never, ever be ugly. That is a lie. Let me tell you something. When I am in the middle of a WOD (workout of the day), my makeup-free face is scarlet and dripping sweat on the floor, I have chalk dust in my hair, and I am likely on the verge of tears — I am ugly and vulnerable, but I am focused and I am working. It turns out that in life, being pretty can’t always happen. It is OK to be exposed. There is bravery in people, especially women, who are not too proud to look unkempt.
Lie No. 2: If you are skinny, you are also beautiful
I used to believe that skinny and beautiful were the same thing. That is a lie. I spent all of my 20s striving to be skinny. I disrespected my body. I pretended it was normal. I judged myself harshly. I want you to know that skinny is not the same as beautiful. Listen to these women. They know that while the pursuit of skinny can be the most powerful force in a young woman’s life, it can never be satisfied. Strong is beautiful, because strong women can see that skinny is an empty goal. I am doing life better because my goal is to be strong. A woman with a strong body and a strong mind cannot be stopped.
Lie No. 3: Always be first
I used to believe that it was most important to be first, no matter what. Life rewards those on top — it is our evolutionary prerogative to be the last one left standing. That is a lie. Now I know that first is a good goal, but it matters more what I do if I get there. When I finish first in the WOD, I get up off the floor knowing it is my job to be the loudest voice cheering for my competition. Tomorrow, I won’t come in first, and I will need someone cheering for me.
Lie No. 4: To fail is the same as being a failure
I used to believe that the fewer failures I experienced, the more successful I was. That is a lie. CrossFit has taught me that you will never hit a personal record if you are too afraid to reach failure. You go until you fail, and then you try it again. If you don’t get the lift, or the time or the muscle up, then that failure point defines your purpose. Failure, sweet girl, will help direct you to your next success.
Lie No. 5: You can’t
When I first walked into the CrossFit gym, I believed that I couldn’t. I couldn’t climb a rope, I couldn’t deadlift 200 pounds, and I couldn’t do one pull-up — let alone 100. That was a lie. I have done all of those things and more. You can, too.
Sweet pea, I have found something that — calculatedly or not — has changed me. It has silenced many lies about being a woman that I believed for far too long. I want you to grow up strong. That is why I am going to get my CrossFit Kids certificate next month. I want you, and girls and boys like you, to be too strong to consider these lies. I want you to exercise the truth about yourself, with me, every single day.
I love you,