Today my friend Katie wrote a guest blog. Yes, you read that right, we have another contributor. Eat your heart out Huffington Post.
Hi, my name is Katie. I’m a friend of Vinnie’s. I love his blog and was thrilled when he asked me to guest post on it. I admire people like Vinnie who educate others on fitness and health. Vinnie’s also a fighter who battled and overcame a life threatening illness and I admire and respect that even more. Anyhoo, I am not famous. I am nothing special. I live in Snellville Friggin’ Georgia…not Beverly Hills. Am I “somebody?” Maybe not to you, but to my 7 year old son I am. And that’s truly all that matters to me. I’ve always been into exercise. I was raised by a father who was a professional athlete so being fit was very important in my family. From the time I was 17 I was working out, hitting the gym for hours. The goal always being the same – to look good, to be thin, to fit into a size 4 (I understand that a size 4 is like obese in California but i digress – haha). The point is, I never thought about what I was achieving for my body. Three years ago all that changed when I picked up a tennis racket. It altered my life, the way I looked at my body, and the way I felt about myself as a woman. It empowered me. I would go out on the court not thinking about how big my thighs were or whether my ass looked okay. I was only focused on taking down my opponent, on figuring out how to play my best game to win the match, taking risks, pushing myself. And in the end when I won, I didn’t care how many calories I had burned or how many inches may have been lost, it was all about how I played the game, worked hard for something, and saw it pay off. Yes, my body was toned and trim from all the tennis, but that was just the added bonus. I’ll never forget a tennis tournament I entered. I was playing a girl who was far better than me, more polished, played in college, trained by a coach. I was a self taught scrappy player who won many times on sheer will and determination. I shouldn’t have won that match, but I did. Somehow. I pushed my body beyond what I thought it could do, and in the end I was left holding the trophy. I’ll always remember my son watching me win that match, cheering me on, and running up to me after it was over screaming, “I knew you could do it mommy!” He watched me achieve a goal I set out for myself. That right there is worth more than any number on a scale or any coveted size in a pair of jeans. I’ll take that moment over all the expensive things in the world or a waist the size of Angelina Jolie’s. I tell you all that to tell you this. We live in the most body conscious self absorbed “image is everything” society. Women sweat it out in the gym just to obtain what they think is the ideal and forget that their bodies were made for so much more than just fitting in a pair of size 0 skinny jeans. The day I put a tennis racket in my hand I finally saw my body as so much more than an object. Now, I’m not a model. I don’t have millions of dollars. I don’t wear Prada to get my coffee. I am a mom and a teacher and a girl just trying to make it in this world. But I also became an athlete. I used my body to do something that makes me feel strong and powerful and fulfilled instead of used, objectified and superficial. A wise man once told me, Katie, there are millions of pretty girls out there, you better have something else. Well, I found my “something else” and I 40-love it, baby!