I Should've Been a Ballerina instead of a Powerlifter: What to do When People Hate What you Love

We all have our vices. The things we love to do even if people think it may kill us. It is why people play tackle football. It is why yogis do headstands or ballerinas do point. It is why long distance runners lose toenails and stress their joints for marathons. It is why I lift heavy weight.

If I had chosen any other vice - to run, to be a ballerina or a yogi - no one would look at me differently. However, it appears that since I have chosen to lift weights, everyone with a opinion finds a way to come out to share offhand comments. They believe I’m going to hurt myself, that I’m doing it wrong, that anything I feel is because I lift. (Oh yes Dad my cramps are really because I deadlifted today).

As much as I can let it roll off my shoulders and pretend like it doesn’t bother me, I fall back into the habit of stuffing it down like a box of donuts until I overflow. I want people to love what I do as much as I love it. I want the resounding voice to be of support rather than resistance. I would love to be able to talk to my family about it rather than hiding because I am afraid of backlash.

People do things everyday that can be “harmful” to them. We can hide our nasty little obsessions, we can listen to the lectures about why we should quit them, or we can live our lives however the f*#k we want to. It is the unintentional lesson that lifting has shared with me. That everyone has an opinion. I can harbor resentment each time someone tells me I’m going to break my body squatting or I can set boundaries. I can remind myself that I am the only person that knows my body, my mind, my feelings, my joy when I do what I do. I can find courage to honor my choices and hold tight to my happiness and my truth. I take the heavy weight of other people’s negativity off of me and I put the damn barbell on my back.