Thursday Thoughts

One of my mantras this year is “Do less with more focus.”  That little sentence is EVERYTHING to me, and something I believe God has been wanting me to do for a long time.  I am only 1 person, and I cannot give myself 100% to 19839357485094 different things.  I feel like a lot of us do this and it sets us up for failure and disappointment in ourselves.  I don’t have the mental capacity to juggle 1 million things nor the physical energy to do all of those things 100%.

I haven’t posted as much on Instagram lately because I’ve been mentally and physically devoting time to my training and recovery so I can be ready for my competition in August. I love Instagram y’all, I love the people I’ve met through that platform, I love sharing my progression and setbacks in hopes to inspire other people (particularly women) that there is power in the act of consistency with training and nutrition.  But lately, I’ve personally found Instagram to be EXTREMELY distracting and effecting my focus (enough for me to log out of my account because I need some distance). There are rants everywhere you turn where people who have made poor choices and point the blame for their circumstances everywhere but themselves. There’s excessive exposure of skin all over the place, especially in the fitness community, and not just for the sake of inspiring others or pointing out transformation and progressions.  I am all about showing how amazing our bodies are and love to support other ladies in their athletic journey but selfie butts in a mirror with an inspirational quote are getting on my nerves and those photos are a dime a dozen.  I feel they particularly annoy me because of a few reasons-

  1.  I’m approaching the big 3-0 (I’ll be turning 28 in just a few months) and my outlook on physical fitness has become a little less showy.  The older I get, the more inward things become and the less outwardly focused I am.  I’m a physique competitor so I’m judged 100% regarding what I look like on the outside, but I fully believe that my outward appearance will only be optimal if my internal health is where it should be.  That is where I’m focusing my most time on, my spiritual and internal health.  And I’ve never felt so secure and whole.
  2. I’ve never had poor body image.  I have felt very overwhelmed by the volumes of women that are proclaiming they come from backgrounds where they had eating disorders (before they were even PRETEENS-WHAT?!), they obsessed over pretty women’s bodies in photo shopped images and loathed what they saw in the mirror everyday.  They would starve then binge eat.  What marvels me even more is the fact that many of them signed up for a physique competition of all things after dealing with these issues since they were almost babies .  This breaks my heart!  I can’t imagine my entire childhood being dominated by an eating disorder and body dysmorphia.
  3. I grew up in a time where I didn’t have a smart phone in my hand when I was 13 and in that terribly awkward period in my life called middle school.  I didn’t get a cell phone until I was 16 and it wasn’t a smartphone with internet capabilities either.  I didn’t have any social media account until my senior year in high school.  I wasn’t bombarded with images of photo shopped women in the palm of my hand all day, warping my definition of what a real body looks like.  Those images were in magazines and on billboards, sure.  But they weren’t in the palm of my hand 24/7.  Young girls are growing up in a different time where a lot of their focus is virtual and not in world around them that isn’t on a screen.  Eating disorders have been around for a very long time and I’m not denying the realness of those disorders- they are very real, but they are far more frequent than they used to be.  And I feel that girls who have hated their bodies are seeing the online community become a safe house for showing off your body, no matter what it looks like, and saying “hey- this is me, I love my curves, I finally love my body!”.  While this is wonderful and I’m happy for their newfound support, I don’t feel this way about myself.  I’ve always been confident with my body (before I ever competed or stepped foot in a gym) and any pictures I post of my physique not for the purpose of pointing out progression or for the intended purpose of inspiring other women would just be a cry for physical attention and to puff myself up.

I have insecurities DO NOT get me wrong- like my back being really broad, my boobs never graduating from an A cup, adult acne, feeling like I wasn’t as academically smart as my other friends… oh yeah, I’ve got insecurities too.  But I did not grow up in complete despair over those insecurities and allow them manifest and effect my body image….feeling like I was less than any other individual on this planet (though some may hide it well- WE ALL HAVE ISSUES, no matter how physically beautiful someone may look like).  My mindset is just in a way different place than a lot of other account holders on Instagram and I just simply cannot relate.  I hope that doesn’t come off like I’m harsh or not sympathetic, I totally am!  I’m just saying my purpose on Instagram (and online in general) isn’t to find online community and support and to finally tell the world I’m happy with myself and my body.  It’s for something a little different.  I’ve talked about “intent” a lot with my photos– and I know if I post butt selfies it isn’t a brave act for me to proclaim my new confidence after years of hating myself… it’s just to show off my butt and call superficial attention to myself.  Just being honest with you guys and myself.  So therefore I’ve arrived at a place where I don’t post them.  Just because its the norm doesn’t mean I have do to those things–I feel the pull and pressure to conform and be a part of the current culture too.   But I’m getting better at waving that pesky pressure off and focusing on the larger much and greater task at hand. 🙂 Keep reading… ❤

I want to share my journey as an athlete and one day be able to coach women through lifestyle changes (and competitions!) and watch them see what consistency in training and nutrition can yield.  That is what I’m here for- that is my mission.  My thought process has been, if there is too much glorification of “ME ME ME” when someone comes across my Instagram profile, then people can’t see the potential in themselves and are missing the point I’m trying to get across.  I want to be a part of women’s outward AND INWARD transformations.  Not just see what their body can look like, BUT WHAT IT CAN DO.  It can be strong, healthy, and more aesthetic if that’s a desire of theirs.  I want to be a testament through my competitions over the next several years displaying what the human body is capable of (and yes- to grace the Olympia stage because I have the potential)!  I love sharing my progress (triumphs and setbacks included) and I love the support and encouragement I’ve received!  It means the world and from the bottom of my heart- THANK YOU.

I will use my gift and passion for physical fitness to enrich the lives of others… in a way that I am constantly in prayer about because I want it to glorify God and not put myself on a pedestal that I don’t belong on.  While I’m gifted in this area of life, there are other areas that I have struggled in.  I’m no better than anyone else and I never want to come across like I am.  Mistakes and lessons learned the hard way are etched in my past too. ❤ But I will not let them define me.  I’m chasing my passion with resilience, wrapped in the security of God’s grace.  Will you? Don’t let another day go by where you are in a rough place (mentally and physically) and need help.  Reach out to someone who loves you and wants the best for you.  You were meant for greatness and to live a life where your passions thrive and your insecurities are overcome, no matter what they are.

xoxo

Elyse

 

 

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