blogging

On Lifting, Mental Health and Feeling Weird : Marjorie Celebrates 50 posts with FIFI

(Feature photo credit, Luca Onniboni, via Unsplash.)

In the last few years, I have had the pleasure of participating in this blogging community and this is my 50th post!  Before joining, I spent about 5 years writing for an audience of one.  I have written a cookbook and a memoir, totalling perhaps 600 pages, both of which are 75% crap and will never see the light of day.  However, all those hours of writing for myself helped me get up the gumption to try my hand at a public audience, and I am very grateful for Tracy and Sam providing the opportunity for me to contribute here.  And sometimes, I even write something worth reading.

I am especially proud of representing the female strength-training community.  As a queer woman, building strength and muscle feels like an authentic form of gender and personal expression, and I love being able to give voice to those experiences.  My first post on the matter, Doin’ My Part to Keep the Gym a Safe Space for Men, has been one of my most-read posts to date, and no wonder.  Unfortunately, issues of inclusivity and gendering gym spaces are still present and apparent, even in fitness podcasting for strength athletes, who I call out in Women are “Someone,” Too.  When I wrote Women, Are You Ready to be Weird?, I also addressed pressures we can receive from other women when our fitness goals start pushing against gender norms.  I wrote This is My Why hoping to inspire more women to explore what the pursuit of strength can give them.  

When I’m not writing about lifting, I am grateful to have a space to address mental health and to increase awareness of the cross-sections between mental health, physical health and overall wellbeing.  I have chosen to be open about my experiences of trauma, beginning with addressing how my hysterectomy increased symptoms of PTSD, when I wrote Sex and Trauma After Hysterectomy.  (My post on Keeping Fit While Healing from Hysterectomy still gets read by hundreds of people each month, suggesting we are all still seeking reliable resources on this issue.)  Since then, I have also tried to increase awareness of mental health challenges that can be exacerbated by the pandemic in No, “Everyone” Should Not Wear a Mask and to give perspective on these times when I shared 8 Lessons for Living With Uncertainty from a Perennially Vulnerable Adult.  Most recently, I offered up solutions to the challenge of getting started when I wrote about what works for me in Working Out When You’re Experiencing Depression.  It is my hope that sharing these more intimate experiences serves to destigmatize and normalize conversations about mental health, while giving voice for folks experiencing similar challenges and providing a window into those challenges for folks who are not.

Finally, I love having a place to vent my spleen when outrage strikes.  My favorite rant to date is Trigger Warning: Pseudoscience, when I had reached my limit for conspiracy theories and false information running rampant in the United States.  Perhaps less a rant and more an exercise in wishful thinking, I was taken by a similar muse when I wrote Could COVID-19 be the End of Keto?  And I wrote My Cat is Fat. So What?! after yet another veterinarian suggested putting my big kitty on a diet.

I see the work I do here at FIFI as an extension of my work as an educator and activist.  It is my hope that my readers find what I have to say informative, thought-provoking and inspiring.  I’m ok with not being everyone’s cup of tea.  I am opinionated and accept that voicing opinions means making some people uncomfortable sometimes.  I don’t like how internet conversations tend to lack nuance and promote us vs. them thinking, and I hope that I don’t contribute to those weaknesses of the medium.

Thank you for being a reader, for sharing your thoughts and support as I’ve written these last few years here at FIFI.  I look forward to sharing this work with you for the next 50 posts and beyond!

Photo description: My favorite blog image I’ve used to date–four people posed together in tight white pants, bright shirts, and inexplicably with colored cellophane over their heads. Photo credit: Jimmy Fermin, via Unsplash.

Marjorie Hundtoft is a middle school science and health teacher.  She can be found clacking away at her laptop, picking up heavy things and putting them down again in Portland, Oregon.

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