Good evening fitfam!
I hope you all had a great and productive Monday! This morning when I woke up I was reflecting on the past week and setting goals for this new week. I couldn’t help but to think of the negative criticism that I faced over the past week and I wanted to share it with you all. For those who follow me on IG, this post will go more in depth about how I really feel about it.
Situation #1: A Vietnamese man at Costco told me that I looked like a marathon runner. I came from the gym and was in my work out attire, I told him that I am not a runner and that I lifted weights. He replied “I didn’t know women could actually do that.” His reply to me bothered me but at the same time it did not surprise me because the people in my community are unfamiliar with the idea of a female lifting weights. Instead of getting upset at his comment, I chose to educate him about it. The more I talked to him, the more surprised he was about the whole concept. He even joked and said that I was stronger than him, I laughed and said yes. This incident wasn’t too much of a biggie.
Situation #2: I was at home in the kitchen with my Mom and I was stretching because my upper body was sore from my workouts. I caught my Mom looking at me stretching so I decided to hit her with a bicep flex. Her exact reaction: “Li (my Vietnamese house name) stop that. Your muscles look so gross. Why do you work out so much? It’s not ladylike.” I smiled at her and told her that it’s something that I love to do and it makes me happy. She went on to tell me that it’s good that I work out but she doesn’t understand why I need to do it so much and have muscles. I told her I was going to change the way Vietnamese people looked at women, strength and muscles. She didn’t look too pleased but I had to remind myself that’s she’s old fashioned. This situation stung a bit.
Situation #3: Similar situation to the number 2, my nephew knows I am into working out so he asked me to flex and I did. His reaction: “Your arms are manly.” I told him thank you and that he needed to catch up. The thing with kids is that they are honest which means that’s what he really thinks. At the same time, kids are young and do not know different forms of beauty yet. I can’t be mad at the kid, he’s only 10! Haha. This situation I just had to smile.
As positive as I was with every situation that happened, I would be lying if I told you that it did not hurt my feelings. We are all human and words do hurt especially if they are coming from a loved one. What all three of these situations had in common was the lack of knowledge and acceptance. I know that fitness is rather main stream now especially with IG, FB, etc but my Asian community especially the older generations do not understand it. They are not used to seeing women with muscles, women lifting heavy objects, women who are passionate about health and fitness. Instead of being upset with them, I know that I need to educate them on my lifestyle. Growing up I had the same views about women with muscles, I thought it was weird and did not see the beauty of it. I didn’t appreciate the hard work and dedication until I myself put in the time and effort to have this lifestyle. I didn’t have any Asian female role models to look up to regarding health and fitness. All I saw were skinny women and that was defined to me as what beautiful is and what I should be. The more educated I became about health, fitness, body types, etc, the more open minded and appreciate I became of people and their bodies. I am thankful that I no longer feel the need to fit anyone’s beauty standards, not even my Mom’s. She supports and loves me, that I do not doubt. She just rather me not have muscles, which will not happen. I will help her learn to love my muscles, just wait and see! I have high hopes for me and I know if I stay positive and work at it, it will happen! :)
When I look at the picture above, it makes me happy because I was able to share my love and passion to my community. Weightlifting is stereotyped as a masculine thing to do and I know I turned a lot of heads by doing it at my pageant. If I could go back, I would absolutely do it again! Whether I won the pageant or not, I wanted to leave a mark on this pageant and my community. I truly want to change the way Asian people look at health and fitness, I want young girls to have someone to look up to and go to for help. Be the change you want to see in the world right? Well I am on a mission to do that and leave my mark on this world!
With any journey that you go through in life, there will be obstacles and challenges. There will be people who support you and there will be those who will doubt you, what you need to remember is to stay true to yourself and never give up! This is your life, your body, your journey. <3