Back to Beautiful (You)


It’s been awhile since I last attempted a daily prompt from Beautiful You. At this rate, it’ll be a few years before I finish the book, but I guess that’s OK. I’m just going at my own pace. For those of you who have no clue what I’m talking about, Beautiful You is a daily guide to self-acceptance, for dealing with body image issues. Which I obviously have but am quite ready to be done with, thankyouverymuch. You can find out more by clicking the link above, which leads to the author’s website.

Anyway, today’s Day 25: Engage the World, and I’m supposed to be talking about what kinds of admirable acts I complete on a regular basis. The point is to get me thinking about things outside of my body that are worthwhile. Hmmm. This one’s a tough one.

Well, I guess the first thing that comes to mind is giving away all of my possessions. It’s probably not what the author had in mind, but I especially love exchanging books at the little free library down the street from my house. We have these tiny enclosed bookshelf structures in various places around the city where you can leave a book and take a book. Lately I’ve been trying to get rid all the crap I don’t need anymore, and I’ve been leaving 10 to 20 books each time I go. I pick up a couple each time, too, but it feels good to be helping someone find something fun to read. Maybe that’s weird, I don’t know. Who knows if they’ll even like my old castoff books or not? But I hope so.

I’ve also been getting rid of the extraneous crap around my house – all the clothes that don’t fit, craft projects that I’ll never finish, knick knacks that I love the look of but can’t house any longer, that kind of thing. The other night my neighbor invited me over to this weekly potluck he puts together called Neighbor Night, where 20 or 30 people from our neighborhood come over and socialize. I enjoyed hanging out with him, and I noticed that his house was a divine clutter of antiques and awesome ethnic art. So I brought him a few of the things I was going to get rid of that matched his decor, so he could have first dibs.

I don’t volunteer. Well, that’s a lie. I do volunteer my time as a marketer to this local sci fi convention. But I’m getting tired of getting nowhere. I was really hoping to do something great, to bring the con into a new era, but it’s so disorganized and I can’t get any of the info or input necessary to do even a half-assed job. I don’t like feeling like I’m being set up for failure, and I’d like to quit, but my pride is keeping me hanging in there. I don’t want to leave them in the lurch and then have people try to pin the failure of the entire thing on me. So I keep hoping that things will get better. I dunno. I think if I ever volunteer again I’m going to do something hands-on, preferably with animals. No more marketing in my spare time. I feel like I never get a break.

I’m also trying out for a local dance troupe soon. We’ll see what happens. I’d really like to be in a marching krewe/dance troupe. They have so much fun, and I’d love to have the reason to exercise. But I worry about the cliquishness of a big ol’ group of girls, and I worry about body shaming and ability shaming. I know that I’m a good dancer when I can get out of my own head, but that’s the problem, isn’t it?

I guess in general, I only feel REALLY good about myself in three distinct situations: hanging out with my boyfriend, walking to work each morning, and working out at my gym. All three both relax and energize me. I feel most like myself in these situations, where most of the rest of my life feels like a chore at best, a farce at worst, and generally somewhere between the two most of the time.

Hanging out with my boyfriend makes me feel great about myself because I get to laugh at his jokes, he laughs at mine, we share ideas and talk over new concepts, and we tell each other stories. I feel validated, and get to be completely honest about the things that aren’t going well for me, something I’m not even able to do here.

Walking to work makes me feel strong and capable. I love the competition of dodging foot traffic, and I adore my hiking sandals so much that just having the time to walk a couple of miles every morning makes my feet feel free and happy. Yes, I know that’s a very weird thing to say, but whatever.

And when it comes to working out at Iron Tribe, I love not having to think about what I’m doing. I just go in and shut down my brain for 45 minutes. It’s awesome to get to flip that switch, stop worrying, and start sweating. I also love that I’m finally starting to understand how awesome it can be to have lifting goals in mind. I’m setting PRs left and right, and even though they’re light in comparison to serious lifters, it’s a start. I love to feel strong, and it’s really neat getting to the point where I can mindfully isolate different muscle groups to help achieve my goals. It’s crazy to feel muscles in places where it was always just soft ol’ me.

I guess this is what I was supposed to accomplish with today’s post. I’m seeing a pattern. Simplicity. I crave it, and I thrive within it. We’ll see what happens next.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. sagebodyworktherapy says:


  2. treatwilliams says:

    Where are you at with iron tribe now? How many repetitions do you do on your squat sets? (If you don’t mind me asking…)

    1. Anna says:

      Weird, I was just thinking that I should write a post about how the gym’s going. It’s great, actually. Last time I worked on back squats was last Thursday, and I did 23 reps in all. We were working on strength, starting at 50% of the total one rep max weight of which we’re capable (my one rep max is 135), and working our way up to 80% of the total. The first four rounds of 5 reps were at regular % intervals (just can’t remember how they were broken up – I think it was 50, 55, 60, and 70), then we had a final round where we were just supposed to do our max # of reps at 80%, and I could only squeak out three by then. In between each set we did 10 strict presses using a kettlebell in each hand + 10 V-ups, which are a kind of ab exercise. It all depends on what kind of workout it is, though. If we’re working on getting to a one rep max number, we might do as little as 7 to 10 reps, working our way up to failure. Like Monday, when we were working on front squats and thrusters, doing complexes of 2 squats + 2 thrusters to work our way up to max weight. We had 12 minutes to work up to max weight with a partner, so I only did about 5 rounds total – 10 squats and 10 thrusters. Those were killer – my quads are still on fire.

      1. treatwilliams says:

        Sounds good. I do a pyramid set for the squat too, but starting on 15 and ending on 6 reps as the weight goes from light to heavy. I’ll probably try some kind of five rep scheme after a bit more time with this actually. But supersetting with other stuff is a no for me. It’s too dreadful a thing to be facing of a day, how badly it winds you. If I had someone pushing me maybe.

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