On blogging, self-discovery, strength, body image, and all that Kumbayaa stuff

Lisa Folino, "Nana was always a strong woman"

It would happen that Crabby decided to take a Crabbatical just as I'd figured this Blogger template out and quit cutting off my own posts right in the middle. *heavy sigh*

The biggest compliment I ever got as a blogger was not the invitation to have my work appear in a book. It wasn't the time my sister, who's an actual published author, and my dad, who's a *way* actual published author, complimented what I wrote.

It was the time Crabby sent me a tentative email that started, "So...uh...listen, I know you're really busy and stuff, but would you maybe consider sort of, you know, posting on Cranky Fitness? As a co-blogger? If you don't, that's okay, no problem, but, you know..."

At the time, I had just started writing about weight loss and fitness under my own nom de 'Net at Wednesday Whine (now on hold; soon to be restarted). I had been working with Attila for about two and a half years, and had made considerable progress in terms of strength and conditioning. I was a regular reader of Charlotte's blog, MizFit's blog, and many others.

But I wasn't ready, in any sense of the word, to start blogging about fitness. I mean, like, *seriously*. After all, I was still kind of a lump: twenty pounds overweight, not the sort of lean, mean, cranky machine that Crabby is. Plus, I still hated myself for being fat and lumpy. Role model? Keep looking.

In other words, my mental fitness was about ten years behind my physical fitness, and it was not catching up with repeated workouts.

Attila asked me once how long it had been since I'd looked in the mirror and been happy. I honestly couldn't tell her. No matter how hard a workout I'd managed to finish, or how much I'd been able to lift, I still saw nothing but lumps and flab and imperfection.

Boy, I thought to myself, isn't *that* a pathetic commentary on Miss Fitness Blogger?

Things changed, though, without my even really noticing. Posting about Attila's torture sessions and having bloggers I respected shoot back with "Jeebus Grits, that's HARDCORE!" made me realize how much I'd really accomplished in the last (now three) years. Posting about body image issues and what to eat and what to wear showed me that other people have the same problems--even people I look up to. Reading new-to-me blogs gave me perspective on just how stinkin' fortunate I am.

I looked up in surprise the other day to find that I really, really like my shoulders. I like my legs a lot. My lats are pretty freakin' fantastic. I can look in the mirror without wincing. The mental fitness is catching up to the physical fitness, finally.

And that is entirely due to you guys. Crabby built one of the healthiest (in every sense of the word), most supportive, most intelligent communities on the Web with this blog. You all have been accepting of one another, respectful in disagreements, encouraging in hard times, and celebratory in good ones. You're smart, funny, and goofy as hell when it's called for.

You have, in short, made me a better blogger--and a more confident, more concentrated person.

Thank you.

(We will return to the usual round of Dammit, I Want A Cupcake and You Guys Will Not Believe What Attila Made Me Do Today posts later this week. Thanks for your patience.)

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