I’ve been thinking about this for a bit. I realize when people tell me I’m inspiring the intention is to compliment me on my efforts and results when it comes to fitness. This kind of thing is mostly said by friends who know me fairly well. I’m always taken a bit aback. Me? Inspiring?
I’m not a terribly good role model for fitness. I’m sporadic at best with my workouts, efforts, motivation, and nutrition. Mediocre really. Is that inspiring? I don’t think so.
I try things before I’m totally ready or trained for them just to have the experience. I like to get out in front of my anxiety , before it stops me completely from doing anything. I blog about my workouts and experiences not to inspire but to simply add another voice to the kinds of lives that are active, to debunk the myth that being fat means being lazy.
I am active. People always ALWAYS assume I’m less active than I am. I mention running, someone offers that I could do a couch to 5 k program. Uh. Awkward. I do 5km as my short run. I don’t say that thought. To call friends, nice supportive FRIENDS, out on assumptions based on my appearance is just too weird. Then the inspiring talk starts and I know it is meant to compliment, to flatter, to validate but it feels…well…paternalistic and demeaning. No one tells my lean, athletic partner he’s inspiring yet he’s out doing a 400 km cycling brevet as I type. He’s a 40 year old white cys guy on a bike WHOOP-dee -doo. But put a fattie on a bike, now THAT’s inspiring. Why?
Saying my half ass efforts are inspiring implies you don’t think I’m terribly capable of better.
It’s also not true that if I can do something anyone can.
I have a specific body with limitations (like asthma) and benefits (like not being terribly prone to injury). I like doing the things I do. I tend to have a shit eating grin on my face when I race. I don’t tend to be in pain post race.
I don’t share my fitness journey to be some white, middle-class, ablest fitspo crap. I share to add a teeny wedge of diversity into articles about fitness. A fat perspective, a feminist one and of mediocre effort. So don’t laud me with praises and tell me I’m inspiring. Take that energy and do what you find fun, draw your inspiration from your own self worth. That’s all I’m doing, deciding I’m worth the effort to be fit and trying to support that in others.