Why I Dared To Bare

Last Sunday, four of some of my closest friends and I decided to shed our clothes and our insecurities and cycle bare-stomached alongside hundreds of women in the name of empowerment. Movemeant Foundation is a nonprofit organization that raises money to support and inspire young girls through positive mentorship, health education, and grants for fitness programs.

Together, the five of us raised almost two thousand dollars. $2,000!!! It feels so wonderful that the money we worked so hard every week leading up to the event to fundraise is going to support surf clubs, friendship clubs, dance teams, health outreach programs, and so much more for young women across the country.

Spinning topless and baring my skin was scary and still is as I look at that first photograph. If you’ve been following me on social media, then you know that I have tried so many new things like Spartan Races, yoga, and Crossfit and that I also went back to school this semester after some time off. Because of all this, I took last month off of any kind of training due to lack of time because I was also finishing up my last five races of the season. CG and I took to calling last month “Septembhell”. I managed to survive the first month of the Fall semester while also racing five times in four weeks, but I haven’t actually worked out in a gym in over a month. I feel awful, I feel weak, and my body feels wrecked. Recently at times, it’s been a struggle to stop seeing things that I find wrong with my own body.

But just like when I finished my last race of the season two weeks ago and received my quadruple trifecta in Temecula, CA, I felt unstoppable when I was spinning next to those beautiful ladies last Sunday. The energy and movement of our instructors was incredible. Even though I felt silly and uncoordinated trying to do tricep pushups on the bike, I struggled trying to clip my feet into the bike’s pedals, and I had no idea what I was doing punching the air with 2lb weights — it was while looking around at my best friends, listening to Beyonce and Nicki Minaj, and high-fiving the girls next to me, I couldn’t help but feel strong and beautiful.

Over the past year and half, my friends have changed, my job has changed, my passions have changed, and most importantly, I have changed and grown. I wasn’t in a great place mentally and physically two years ago. It was through movement, self-care, and the support of my friends and family, that I was able to build upon my self-love and self-worthiness. With media and a society that is consistently promoting body shaming and negativity, young girls are struggling to interpret a dangerous ideal of beauty, happiness and success. Movemeant Foundation is striving for women to realize that our bodies are only one aspect of our beings — we are beautiful, yes, but we are also strong, intelligent, funny, brave, fierce and more than capable of our dreams.

I’m so grateful to have found a wonderful organization that embodies so many of my own personal ideals all while using fitness and movement as a platform. I definitely encourage you to check them out on their website and social media pages and also make a donation or consider participating in one of their events!

 

self-love + donuts

The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are. Imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our true individual selves, if we didn’t have the weight of gender expectations.
— Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Original post published here.