"Strong people don't put others down... They lift them up". -- Michael P. Watson
Putting yourself out there is an act of vulnerability--you open yourself up to judgement and criticism. Just ask Iggy Azalea, (don't ask me what songs she sings--I just happened to see the link to the article in my Facebook newsfeed) who after criticism from beach photos showing her cellulite--has decided to take a break from social media. Because of cellulite. And the bullying and criticism she received from it.
So, let's get real here. Most women have it:
But most of us, just don't go announcing we have it.
When I share race photos, I want to put my best legs forward--legs that look smooth and strong. Not legs covered in cellulite and softness.
Which are my legs? The strong and smooth ones? Or the legs I've been trying to hide from social media?
Both. Depending on the lighting, the timing of when my full weight hits the pavement, and the angle of the photo--my legs are sometimes soft and covered in cellulite. And sometimes smooth and seemingly cellulite free.
And yet cellulite doesn't determine a woman's strength, beauty, or worth. Cellulite doesn't determine how good of a mom you are or your success at work.
When I showed my oldest daughter all of the pictures from this 52.4 mile race, not once did she ask about my cellulite.
She commented on my smile: Mommy! How come you're smiling so much?
Because. I'm doing something I love. (And when you do something you love, cellulite doesn't matter).
She asked about my friend: Mommy! Why is Adriana in the race? Did she race too?
No. She didn't race. Instead, she was an amazing friend for taking the time from her family, to fly half way across the country to pace me for 14 miles to help me achieve a goal (And she didn't care about my cellulite).
And she asked about the San Francisco: Mommy! I want to go to San Francisco! What is it like? It's a beautiful city. It's where Daddy and I got engaged. It's where I ran my very first marathon. And I was so grateful to go back to run my first double marathon there. (And the city could have cared less that I have cellulite).
She wanted to know all about the race: Mommy! Did you get tired?
Oh yes. I started this race at midnight and hadn't slept at all the day before. I ran over 11 hours and I was so tired I sometimes wondered how I would finish (But having cellulite didn't stop me from running the longest race of my life).
Somewhere along the way, women have become the most critical--of each other--and themselves. There was a time when I first started running, when I wouldn't dare put on a pair of shorts--embarrassed of my soft legs. Worried what others would think. But along this journey of health and running--I grew to appreciate my legs. Cellulite and all. Cellulite doesn't stop me from running distances from 26.2 miles to 52.4 miles.
Our young daughters could care less about cellulite. So why do we teach them the opposite?
The truth is: you can have cellulite and be strong and healthy. You can have cellulite and run marathons and ultra marathons. You can have cellulite and not let it define you or stop you from achieving dreams.
If I only wanted to have cellulite free pictures of me-- I'd have to stay posed and still. If I want to look perfect then I wouldn't be crossing finish lines. Being a runner is one of the ways I define myself and if I only wanted to show perfection then I'd have to give up a part of me for the illusion of perfection. I don't want a life of perfection if it means never getting to move forward. I want to show my daughters that strength has nothing to do with how a person looks but what is in her heart: determination, grit, growth, support and love.
In the end, crossing the finish line had nothing to do with cellulite or the look of my legs. And everything to do with heart.
Nicole Scott writes about being a mom of four, fitness, and faith at My Fit Family.