The comments I've been getting lately rock. I'll be honest. I kind of love them. When I was shopping the other day, I ran into two people who haven't seen me in many years. One didn't recognize me. One's jaw literally dropped. When I walked into the gym the other day, one of the other trainers said to his wife "I don't know about you, but I barely recognize Kim because she's getting so skinny." And today, when I tried to put on the goofy glasses with a mustache for Holy Humor Sunday (yeah, that's a thing. And yeah, we did it. It was pretty awesome.), one of my congregants came up to me and said "They wouldn't stay on because you've lost so much weight." (To which I did not reply-- though I was thinking it-- that's not the only thing that won't stay on... or up. Uhem.)
But I'm also getting to the point where people ask me why I'm so intense, and if what I'm doing is healthy. They gawk when I say that I still have thirty pounds left to go. I'm not yet brave enough to tell them that that's only my initial goal-- the one that will get me to a healthy body weight for my height. I don't say that I'm actually shooting for 20lbs less than that. I've only said this to a very few people (and sort of hinted at it here), because it sounds crazy. I've come a long way, but to hear someone my size say "I want to be a bodybuilder, and yes, I'm going to compete" doesn't sound rational. Or believable. Or smart. After all, aren't people like that genetically gifted or something? Maybe the people with unbelievable bodies sort of came out of the womb like that, and only had to do a little minor tweaking? Whatever. So there. I've said it. I want to be a body builder.
Over my vacation, I sat in the sun and read Robert Andrew Powell's Running Away. Kindle advertised it, and I took a chance and bought it. And it gave me the courage to name my silly, laughable, not sane goal. Outloud. He's never been a runner, but he hits rock bottom. He's overweight and in bad health. He loses his job and his wife, and he's pretty much aimless. He decides he's going to train for the Boston Marathon, and in fact moves to Bolder, CO to do it. Because that's where serious runners are. People laugh at him, including the kind people in his running club. One of the big questions of the book is "why?" He answers it over and over: because his dad qualified for Boston a year after he started running, in his very first marathon. And more than anything, he wants his dad to be proud of him, and that's the only way he knows how to do it. To follow in his dad's shoes. It's enough to push him through crazy runs and flagging motivations and a host of other things that serious athletes face.
As I was reading, I was thinking about my own ridiculous goals. Only they don't feel ridiculous to me. They feel like something I have to do. People will ask me why, as my body begins to shift more, and I become to them too intense. As I give up nights out because tomorrow is leg day. As I don't drink or eat according to social pressures because of the annoying toll it takes on my mind and dedication. As I ask He-who-trains for more intense workouts. As I don't take normal vacations because I can't find a gym that meets my needs in driving distance.
So here's my why. And it's enough to push me through motivation sucking plateaus and challenges my body has given me and people who laugh.
It's a weird goal. It's probably not one many pastors have. I know, I know. I could take up something normal like running. Something less outlandish. But being a body builder is my goal, and I won't stop until I get there. Why? Because I've been the fat girl who believed she was doomed to being trapped in a body she hated. Because I've known what it is to be so overweight that I regularly cried because my knees hurt so badly. And cried at how I felt in my body. Because I've known what it is to to want to hide, and to settle for being a wallflower because that was somehow easier than having to meet people's gaze. Because I've known what it to hate having pictures taken. And because I now know that it doesn't have to be that way. Because I now know what it is to have a goal bigger than my excuses.
There will be scoffers and laughers and well-intentioned worriers. And when the question comes up as to why I'm doing this, I will smile and say, simply "Because I want to be proof that change is possible."