I recently did something I am really proud of, but am not sure how to share. I took part in a photo shoot at my gym. My coaches put together these “Strong is Beautiful” photo shoots a few times a year, and give members the chance to get some fitness shots taken. In retrospect, I think part of the reason they started doing this is to allow us to see ourselves through someone else’s lens, since our own lens is often distorted and so harsh. I work out 4 times a week, eat pretty healthy most of the time, and sometimes still can’t see my own muscles. Yet I’ve never once looked in the mirror and failed to notice my love handles or “fleshy knees.” I was nervous, but I thought it would be a good challenge for me, and also probably empowering and fun even if I never saw the pictures.
That being said, of course I was dying to see the pictures! When I first got them back, I almost couldn’t look at them. I peaked, with only one eye open. There I was, just sort of out there, in the open, showing (flaunting!) what I got. The lighting was great, the photographer was amazing, I got a spray tan, had my makeup done and was slicked up with baby oil, but I still picked myself to pieces in every shot.
After sleeping on it, I looked at the pictures again and shared them with a few friends. They, of course, sent back kind, amazing comments oozing with love, support and validation. So I looked at them again, and kept looking until I could see my muscles. I looked at them until I was smiling ear to ear with pride and joy. I might have actually even said, “daaayym girl!” in my head. I thought, if I can pick out my imperfections in these pictures, then the pictures are real. They are showing me who I am, which means the strength and beauty I see is also real.
I scored a few points with me this week by allowing myself to be vulnerable to someone else’s lens, and trusting and accepting what they saw instead of rationalizing it away into nothing. That was a little bit huge.
This month, I’m a little over two years, 4 races, and 1 photo shoot into my health and fitness journey. Let me tell you, there’s nothing like a clean diet and some heavy weights to help you face the world.
Here are a few of my favorite pictures:
**Thanks to Eric Brushett Photography, Tuff Girl Fitness and Bodyology Fitness Studio
6 thoughts on “Strong is Beautiful”
Little bit of Annie Leibovitz style photography.
You’re an amazing with the pen…and barbells!
Who could keep up with you!!
There is a whole side of you that I don’t know!!…Probably many sides…… Your writing is wonderful..your body is beautiful…..your commitment is exemplary!! I am impressed. Bunches of hugs, G.
you make me proud. soo nice to be friends with people who celebrate their (bad ass) bodies, eating healthy and working out. way to be.
Samantha you are amazing! I am so inspired by you. You are strong, beautiful, brave and kind. Oh and that body is the biznezzz!!!! Congratulations to you!!!!
You look phenomenal in those pics! So cool to see that you’re staying so committed to being fit – it definitely shows.