Monday, August 3, 2015

Unbothered Day 3: Find a Role Model!

One of my favorite things about myself is that I'm ALWAYS ready to try new things, and whenever I try something new, I seek out Black women trailblazers.  I do it for tap dancing.  I do it for powerlifting.  I did it when I started doing CrossFit.

Today is the 2-year anniversary of the first time I walked into EverProven CrossFit.  I wasn't there for a workout; I just showed up to cheer for Alex, my Zumba teacher.  She was doing her first competition, and as someone who believes strongly in cheering for adults, I showed up.  I joined CrossFit last year and have since gone on to all kinds of glory.  

I didn't see any other Black people at my CrossFit box when I started (This might be different now. I'm taking the summer off to focus on OCR and triathlon and will be back in October.  I've got a 400 lbs. deadlift goal to chase).  I've never seen another Black woman at any competition or event I've ever been to.  There is a running joke that Black folk don't like CrossFit.

I can't remember when I first heard of Elisabeth Akinwale.  I recall joining a Facebook group for Black women CrossFitters and us cheering her on at The CrossFit Games.  I saw the video of her a couple of years ago, and I was so hyped to see that she had Making Face, Making Soul: Haciendo Caras on her shelf.  She exuded intelligence and warmness, and she wasn't afraid to talk about being a Black woman in this sport.

One day I sent her a note telling her how much it meant to me to have someone like her to look up to, and she wrote me back!  She hoped that we could meet at a Boston event.  Weather kept me away (seriously Winter 2015 was brutal!), but I learned that she was having a seminar in Maryland.  On a whim, I decided to sign up and fly down for the weekend.

Me and Elisabeth Akinwale in March 2015 (CrossFit Laurel in Laurel, Maryland)

I got my ENTIRE LIFE that day!!  She shared her story about how she came to CrossFit, encouraged us to be intentional everyday in our training, and advised us to work on our weaknesses rather than avoid them.  She was magical!  And this happened at a Black-owned CrossFit box where 90% of the athletes are Black and 80% are women.  I had never been in a CrossFit seminar like this.  How often do we get to meet the woman whose name is on our shirt?

Look at her handstand, and now look at mine!  Not to compare, but again to get how excited I was to learn this skill from her.  I can't tell you how much it meant for me to see this Black woman doing a handstand and teaching me how to get started on mine.

Get into my form!  Get into it!

Thought For Today:  Is there someone doing what it is you'd like to do?  Do a little research and find out who that person is!

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