Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to be able to be able to beat the boys in athletic endeavors.
My first memory of wanting to be better than the boys was actually not in a physical event, but I feel it’s worth noting. When I was 7, my school was putting on our first class play. The lead role was “the mayor” for which the teachers asked the boys to try out. I shot my hand up in protest, asking why a girl couldn’t be the mayor! Needless to say, I got the lead role of the play, and a boy had to play the supporting role, “the mayor’s husband” (originally planned to be, “the mayor’s wife.)
When I was 10, I remember our first Presidential Physical Fitness Test. Not only did I want to pass, I was determined to beat all the boys. I made sure to line up next to the fastest boy for the mile so I never lost sight of him and out-sprinted him at the end. I made sure to go last in the pullups and pushups so I could know how many the boys did and make sure I did more. I used this strategy year after year.
When I got to high school, I challenged all of my guy friends to push up contests, sprints, etc. I even have a high school teacher who to this day reminds me of how competitive I was with my male classmates.
The memory that sparked this post in the first place was these two photos from when I studied abroad in Australia when I was 21. The boys who lived next door to us climbed up these railings to get up to the loft, and so of course I had to prove that I could do it too.
So, why am I this way?
I don’t have a definitive answer, but I can tell you that it has something to do with being underestimated. It’s not that I hate men and don’t want them to succeed. It’s just that growing up, the boys were expected to be better than the girls, and I refused to settle for that. I had this burning desire to show that girls could be just as good if not better, and that desire remains to this day.
Just last year I posted this video completing the men’s standard for the StrongFirst bodyweight certification, because once again I couldn’t stand settling for the women’s “standard.”
Barriers and expectations are meant to be broken. I don’t exactly know where my innate understanding of this came from, besides maybe my parents constantly instilling in me that I could literally do anything, but I hope that other women reading this can take a moment to question what barriers they have put on themselves. Ask yourself why that barrier is there, and then start devising a plan to break it down piece by piece. I believe in you, and all it will take is you believing in yourself to make it happen.