Talkin’ Bodies: Invictus Ladies Share Their Stories
Written by Libby Landry
It’s crazy the things that stick with us from our childhoods. You know how some experiences are forever ingrained in your brain as if it were yesterday? Where you still remember where you were, who you were with, and what transpired.
The more and more I chat with women about how they view their bodies, the more I realize that we all share in an experience: the initial moment we were acutely aware of our body and something we didn’t like about it.
I was in 6th grade getting out of the swimming pool in my neighborhood. I told the boy that I was with to turn around because I didn’t want him to see the dimples in my butt. It was a gorgeous day in August, I was wearing a paisley swimsuit, and I really liked this boy. But, I was ashamed and have struggled to find inner peace with this in my 30 years.
Our society has certainly not pushed this conversation in the right direction. Photoshop, filters, Instagram models, and diet culture have imparted on us a certain aesthetic. And, it’s difficult to break the negative cycle of thoughts that follow the constant bombardment of this “normal” body.
Some of the powerful, strong, fierce ladies of the Sea of Green have opened up about their experiences in the hopes of letting others know that we’re all in this together and that your body is a damn wonderland.
Cassidy C., 23
Invictus Member Since February 2020
My body image experience has been something I’ve dealt with since about age 10. Playing high level competitive soccer caused my body to change and grow well before most females. At age 10 I realized that I couldn’t and probably would never be able to fit my calves and thighs in “regular” jeans.
I used to overlook the amount I could clean, squat, or deadlift as lifting was not something most females engage in. I started lifting at 14 years old and being that young I still could not comprehend why I had much bigger features than all of my other female friends. It wasn’t until I went away to play college soccer that I realized that I loved how strong I was and how much my body could handle. I think it’s common to always have something you would change on your body, but it’s the realization that your body is your body and you can and can’t change things about it that helped me shape a new perspective on body image in general.
Invictus has 100% helped me in forward progress on my own personal body image. I love seeing everyone, females or males, of all shapes and sizes getting after it. It’s like every member has a common goal to improve in some way. And knowing that body positivity is something heavily advocated at Invictus makes it feel so much more inviting and like a second home.
Leslie R., 58
Invictus Member Since 2018
When haven’t I experienced negative body image thoughts or patterns? I first remember hating my body in elementary school because I thought I wasn’t thin enough.
Throughout young adulthood, I never felt thin enough and yo-yo dieted for most of my life. I married a man who encouraged my negative self image through his infidelity and open attraction to much younger, thinner women. I also had 5 children in 7 years and gained and lost 40 – 60 pounds with each pregnancy.
I started CrossFit in 2014 after being attracted to it for several years. At first my kids discouraged me because they didn’t want me to be “too muscular” or to “look like a man.” I finally ignored them and decided to try CrossFit because it was something to do entirely for me. I knew pretty much right away I had found my tribe. For the first time in my life, my powerful legs are an asset. I love pushing my body’s limits and growing stronger. I’m beginning to love my body for what it can do rather than how it looks. I will never be a Games athlete, and I will never have a thigh gap. But I look forward to my evening workouts after a stressful day at work. Pushing myself hard with like-minded people is my reward at the end of the day. CrossFit is my happy place, and I intend to do it for the rest of my life.
My kids have ended up being almost as proud of my CrossFit journey as I am. Whenever one of my amazing coaches gives me a compliment or writes something about me in the blog, I share it with my children who are now 27, 25, 23, 21, and 19. They tell me how proud of me they are and how happy they are that I have found such a great group of people. I am truly blessed.
Morgan W., 32
Invictus Member Since 2014
My experiences have changed a lot over time. I think you grow up with a certain image of what your body should look like and you are told the same things too.
As someone who went from a multi-event track athlete in college to someone who just enjoys finessing for fun. I was built like a track athlete in college but that was 12 years ago. I am now more of a “power athlete” (you know, muscular legs and glutes ?) and my body has changed A LOT. When I think of the younger, competitive Morgan versus the older and much wiser Morgan, I am proud of the person both embody.
It’s tough for my family to see that my body has adjusted to the times and has changed a lot since they have been around me. They see me as a tall, lanky runner at 17. Seeing me now as a thick, powerful 32 year old, is hard for them to process. They often ask me about my weight and if I’m working out or eating the right foods. They don’t see the frequent work I am putting in at the gym or really understand that strength and power mean different things than they did 10 years ago.
What I have had to learn is that it may take people (ones who are even very close to you) a lot longer to understand and respect that. Your body changes and adapts to take care of you. To protect you. No one gets an opinion in that.
My body has shown me that strength grows and matures as you do and I can’t thank it enough for being along for the ride.
All Bodies Welcome
We could all eat the same thing and do the same exact exercises every day and all of our bodies would look completely different. That’s pretty cool. Got a body? You’re welcome at Invictus.
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