It was week three in my training and things had been moving along nicely. I'd moved on from my cardio temper tantrum and now actually looked forward to my weekly 60-minute fight-to-the-death with the treadmill. And mentally, I had been getting used to the idea of putting myself out there and seeing if I really could play with the big kids. I wanted to see what I could do.
But I knew that before I could jump the hurdles of the obstacle course, I had a mighty big hurdle to clear at home: my husband (who for the purposes of this blog prefers to be referred to as "Lazlo"). From the very moment I mentioned competing in a fitness competition, he has expressed reservations. And not hotel reservations to cheer me on - I mean that for some reason, he didn't want me to parade onstage in a bikini while other men gawked and cat-called and otherwise made assessments about my physical appearance while he sat there unable to defend my honor. Okay, so I made up the cat-calling part but I know he was thinking it. He would say, "I'll support you in whatever you want to do," and while I knew he meant it, I could tell he was saying it because he is a good husband, not because he really wanted me to. So one night while we sat and tried to dodge the splashes of our son in the bathtub, I asked him: Do you think you can get to a point where this is okay with you?
To be honest, we had been at this crossroads a year before, when he had come home from his boxing workout and excitedly told me that his coach wanted him to box in an amateur match. He was pumped, but scenes from "Rocky" flashed through my head and I envisioned blood and black eyes and teeth flying across the ring and immediately said no. No way, no how. Naturally, I couldn't stop him from doing something he really wanted to, but out of consideration for my wishes, he let the matter go.
Boy, I regretted that.
No, not just because now the tables were turned, although that was part of it. But more than that, I finally understood the triumph he must have felt at the idea that he could do something like that, and most importantly, the ego boost he must have enjoyed when his coach showed that kind of confidence in him. But I had stomped all over it because of a few bloody teeth. And to make it even worse, when my turn came, he grit his teeth and expressed his resigned support.
I started to dish out some humble pie.
He told me that he feels beauty pageants are demeaning to women, and that I shouldn't gauge my self worth based on some score from a bunch of people who don't even know me. I countered that the important part of the competition is the skills test, where I can realize my strength and stretch my limits and see what I can do, and any score I receive based on my appearance is meaningless to me.
But was that really true? I wasn't sure. You see, I had started to have some fun with the idea of this competition. While I still wasn't 100% sold on the swimsuit part, I felt like if I put in my all and got to a point where I felt I could compete, why not? As a logical and rational woman, I know that my self-worth is not related to other people's opinion of my appearance. But is there anything wrong with wanting a little public validation of my ability to kick some butt?
We never came to a resolution; I am still training and he is still supporting me. But one thing has changed: Lazlo has gone back to the boxing gym.