For those of you who haven’t met me in person or haven’t seen a full body picture of me, I’m not a little girl. I’m 5′ 9″, my legs are very long and muscly, and I have big shoulders/feet/rib cage/everything. I’m far from skinny. It has taken me a long time to appreciate my body, but sadly not as much as many women out there have. I had to teach myself to appreciate my body somewhat on my own.
I personally don’t think that women should categorize themselves based on what their body shape is, because there really is no body type that can describe you perfectly. (But for this entry I do need to use some of the categories, you’ll see why.) I am about half way between curvy and athletic. Now-a-days, you hear a lot about “curvy girls” or “skinny girls” and the “war” between the two. You don’t hear much about the athletically built girls. And as I grew up and went through my own internal war of being healthy and strong and learning to appreciate what I had, I realized I don’t want my friends, little swimmers who will take my place in a matter of years (side note: that’s a terrifying thought to me), and my one-day-possibly daughters to think that they aren’t beautiful.
So, ladies, here is my list of things I wish I would have heard from society as I grew up as an athlete. Please share with your daughters, mothers, sisters, friends, anybody who needs to know these things. Don’t let anybody go without hearing how beautiful they truly are.
23 Things Athletic-Built Girls Should Know
- They are NOT man shoulders. They are your shoulders and they are gorgeous.
- It isn’t a bad thing that you have to buy a larger size of jeans to fit your thighs.
- On the subject of thighs, don’t work out for the goal of a thigh gap. Please. If you are naturally built with one that’s great, but don’t starve yourself so your thighs don’t touch.
- On the subject of thigh gaps, GUYS DON’T CARE! Every guy I have asked has always said so.
- Just because you don’t have curves doesn’t make you any less of a woman. Society is wrong on that one.
- EAT. Nourish yourself. Remember what you put into your body comes out…
- … but enjoy the heck out of your cheat days.
- For my swimming friends (and all other athletes really), remember how hard you have worked for your goals. Your body is an important factor in your goals.
- There are so many people who would kill to look like you.
- You do not look like a guy.
- Your body is a sacred temple. God made you the way you are for a reason.
- Your muscles showing is not a bad thing. Your back isn’t fat, you have a dang muscly back. Same with arms and legs.
- Yes, it is hard to buy clothes. You aren’t alone on that one.
- Okay, backstory real fast: I am called “Pancake” by my friends because I have no booty. It’s okay to not have a booty! (By the way, my friends aren’t terrible people, I joke about it too.)
- Look at some of the other athletes, especially swimmers, and what their body shape is. Ever notice that they don’t always have a completely flat stomach? But they still are some of the most beautiful and fastest swimmers in the whole world? Huh. Interesting.
- Your arms/legs can jiggle if you really try. It’s not fat dumb dumb. Trust me.
- Wearing strapless dresses with your shoulders isn’t a bad thing. You do not look like a guy in a prom dress.
- Be proud of how far you have come. After the last month of mono and not swimming, I can’t do much more than about 15 push-ups, and 0 pull-ups. I am so jealous of my teammates that can do so much more than me.
- Being tall is awesome. (Being short is too, but often athletes are super tall.)
- I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty proud that I can swim faster than lots of guys… I think it’s my competitive, formerly-feminist nature, that I just love to train with the guys and beat them. Unless you have the body you have you can’t do that.
- You should not be loved based on your body. The right person for you should adore your soul, your smile, and everything about you. And I can assure you, if they love all of that, they will love your muscly body as well. Ignore anybody who tells you otherwise.
- You are made in the image of the Creator of the universe. He knitted you together in your mother’s womb. He sent his own son to die because He loves YOU that much. You are beautiful to Him.
- Friend, you are beautiful. Don’t forget.