journey to buff: a woman celebrates a minor triumph!


For as long as I could remember, I’ve always been uncomfortable with having my photograph taken. The forced smile and frozen face gave me anxiety, and many of the photos of me as a child are of me deliberately turning away from the camera or looking down. When Marion Ettlinger took my author photo, I told her that I didn’t want to smile unless she made me laugh {I hate how folks are always trying to you smile!} and she laughed and told me that I could be as grim and serious as I wanted to be. And a few years ago I experimented with posting pictures of me wearing clothes only to feel incredibly silly every time I hit the publish button. I’d rather be behind the camera falling in love with my subject than feeling the gaze of a subjective lens.

So you can imagine the TORMENT I feel about posting this picture. Even now, even as I type this, I keep flipping tabs and staring at the photo, wondering if there’s a way I can share a minor triumph I experienced without photographing it. But there’s no other way.

Since January, I’ve embarked on a strength journey. I’m not interested in being skinny or fitting into a specific size, rather I want to feel alignment in my spine; I want to feel muscle. In short, I want to be able to punch people when I’m 90 with little effort. The journey has been a humbling one, as I’ve taken classes that are continents away from my comfort zone. From swinging kettlebells to spinning to falling off machines, which resemble instruments of torture with their intricate pulleys and levers, every class is simultaneously a destruction and a rebirth. This chrysalis has been an awakening, and there are days when I feel like I’m failing and there are days where I leave triumphant. In the spaces in between, I keep reminding myself that there is honor in showing up. There is beauty in every attempt.

I’ve also had to confront and work around a physical impairment {one of my arms is demonstrably longer than the other due to a car accident when I was a child and a shattered collarbone that never healed just right}. This has been easy when it comes to yoga as I know what my body is capable of doing, and I’ve the accoutrements I need to get me deeper into poses, however, every new class has been an re-education, which has tested the limits of my Type-A controlling personality.

This auspicious journey has made me comfortable with uncertainty and relinquishing control. Naturally, this dovetails into other aspects of my life {the freelance life!}

Yesterday, before I took a megaformer class at Brooklyn BodyBurn, I caught my image in the mirror and I had to do a double-take because I noticed a demonstrable shift in my appearance. I’m starting to notice that I look stronger. And more importantly, I feel stronger. So I took this picture to remind me that there are days when you should celebrate minor triumphs, regardless of how small.

There is beauty in every single attempt.

P.S. If you’re wondering what my week looks like, I tend to patron Brooklyn BodyBurn, City Row, Yogamaya, Chaise Fitness, Core Fusion, and Xtend Barre. I’ve plans to sample Uplift, SLT, Flex Studios, and Elements Fitness Studio in the coming weeks.

11 thoughts on “journey to buff: a woman celebrates a minor triumph!

  1. I really enjoy reading all of your blog posts, Felicia. You have much to be proud of. The picture is lovely. Don’t sell yourself short. Life is too hard and too brief to put yourself down (I know, we all have that inner voice that fulfills this role quite well). Keep up the good work.


    1. Thanks, Connie! That’s extraordinarily kind of you. I didn’t want this post to convey that I admonish myself, quite the opposite. I just don’t like having my picture taken as I’m quite shy.

      On Mon, Mar 3, 2014 at 12:51 PM,


  2. I so hear you. I hate having my photo taken too. it’s an attitude thing, I guess. same like my annoying self-consciousness is. the old not-enough pattern. it does get better tho with a lot of work. you go girl. same goes for your fitness goals. I’m back on the bandwagon too xoxo


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