She sends me a text, this favorite girl, that says "I want you to paint words of strength on my back."
We often talk about redeeming body image and overcoming purity culture shame. We often talk about coming to terms with all the beautiful complexities of being a woman, celebrating sexuality, growing in strength, and how freeing it is to be loved well by our partners.
And we lift a lot of heavy stuff together several times a week.
She sends me her words and I sketch and create a mural of them and we set a date and this beautiful couple trusts us to document them well.
A woodfire burns in the fireplace, I make a cozy nest for her, and we get out some decadent snacks and a little good whisky. A playlist dominated by Portishead, Lana Del Ray, and Lorde runs and Scott comments, "You have a lot of good booty music!" Of COURSE we do.
Easy conversation and a lot of laughter fill the hours it takes to fill her back with black paint.
I tell her my thoughts while I draw two boxes in particular. "In your list of words, you included love, hate, self, and fear. I placed them together strategically. Love Self grows and flourishes outside of this box, because self-love has no boundaries. Hate Fear? They get to be together in a double box that confines them and doesn't let them escape." Vulnerability swirls across her hips and soft stretch marks and a mole she scorns dots an i. Everything is beautiful and everything is redeemed.
Scott gets brave and we get to put him in front of our lens too!
The boy can't stay on his feet long. There's not many things more lovely than someone delighting in another's beauty.
The next morning, Robyn gets to show off her strength in another way.
CrossFit for us is so much more than just a workout. It's a form of healing. Women don't talk about the number on the scale; they talk about the number on the barbell. We don't starve ourselves and skip the burger for a salad. We EAT THE FOOD (hello, fuel!). We cheer each other on and team up and speak life over each other. This tribe of sisters meet every day throughout the week and sweat and cry and sympathize over torn hands and sore muscles. CrossFit is therapy. Meeting yourself at the end of your abilities and pushing just a little farther digs up STUFF. Triggers and insecurities and swearing and triumph sweats out on that gym floor. Sometimes we see each other at our best and at our worst and we love each other through it. It's a powerful thing.
And this girl. She's come so far from an insecure young woman with scads of body image issues to a thriving, strong, capable role model and coach for so many of us.
And we even talked Scott into the action again (with a quick bit of paint to highlight those arms!)