Monday, July 18, 2016

We Don't Need Any More Bitches

In recent days my social media feed has been inundated with the "fat-shaming playmate".  When I first saw the photo I was shocked.  No where in the world are we safe from hate, not even in the privacy of a locker room.


Dani Mathers, a Playboy Playmate, snapped a photo and sent it out onto snap chat of a woman obviously at the end of her workout getting ready for a shower.  "If I can't unsee this, then you can't either."  Cruelty has stooped to a whole new level.  

I thought about this event quite a bit over the past few days since it went viral because I am hosting a women's cycling camp for the next month.  I have Eritrean, Ethiopian and Rwandan women here at our center training.  It is actually very nice to NOT be the only woman on the compound.  I'm loving all the female energy and have been buoyed by these young women.

Right now, I am really out of shape.  3-5 hours of riding a week at 50 doesn't even maintain my fitness.  I have been sliding backwards for months.  Too much work, travel, stress, can't deal with riding and the hassle in Rwanda on the roads... yada yada yada.  The other day I rode with the Eritrean women and a young Ethiopian woman named Eyerusalem.  I promptly got dropped on the first climb.  I knew I would.  That's what happens when you don't train.  When I met them on the road after they turned around I was able to hang with them on the flats and still crushed it on the descent but frankly, the climb was exhausting.  The next day I rode with Jonathan.  He's seven.

I was talking with Eyerusalem yesterday after my ride with the 7 year old and she was telling me about her teammate on her Italian team, who is also the French National Road Cycling Champion.  She is 49 and her name is Edwige Pitel.  She did not win the Masters category.  She won the National Champs at 49!  I smiled and said, "I'm 50."  

Eyerusalem said, "Then you cannot stop training."

Eyerusalem is coming off of a very lengthy illness which has kept her off the bike for months so she is frustrated as well at her fitness level.  She was telling me how she still has it on the flats and descents but not on the hills.  Welcome to my world.  Eyerusalem is 25 years younger but a very old soul on a bike.  We are pretty much in the exact same place, worlds apart.

Today the Eritreans and Eyerusalem and the coaches were heading out for an "easy" 1.5 hour.  I literally went back and forth a gazillion times about going.  They were heading towards Kigali which is a fun descent out of town but a long 4+ mile climb back to the center.  But then I remembered Eyerusalem's comment, got on my cycling clothes and headed out.  I stayed with them for about 8 miles and then the first little pop.  I'm off.  I kept riding, even after they passed me on the way down while I was going up another climb.  The day was nice, nobody was hassling me and I needed to suffer a bit.

When I was heading back on the flat section I saw them coming back towards me again.  I was surprised as I figured I was on my own the rest of the ride.  As we rode easily along the flats I was paired up with Eyerusalem.  She said she was glad I was riding today.  I told her I have to, even though I will be dropped EVERY ride, I still needed to ride.  I told her it was her chat yesterday that got me on the bike.  

Then she laughed and said, "At least you have not big fat."  (Not a fat shaming response....a simple matter of fact from one cyclist to another.  We know this world!)

True that sister....I'd rather be a smaller unfit person than be lugging another 20 pounds up these hills!  

So tomorrow I will be out there again getting dropped, coughing up a lung and feeling better than I did the day before.

Why can't we as women encourage each other more?  We get torn down enough by gender bias and living in what often feels like a "man's world".  Why do it to each other?  We should be bonded like Wonder Woman gold bracelets when they are crossed over each other.  We should be each other's biggest cheer leader.

I am not going to go on a personal rant on Dani Mathers and her snapchat.  I don't know her and I'm not going to stoop to her level.  All I know is that woman either has some serious insecurities or is simply a mean girl.  Her apologies were more about being caught and trying to save her job then real empathy for her victim.  

What if she would have said to that woman, "I've been watching you at the gym for weeks. You're doing really well.  Your fitness is definitely coming along."  Maybe that woman is a single mom, working two jobs, trying to make ends meet in her stress filled world yet scratches out a few hours a week to simply take care of herself.  We don't know.  Maybe we should think before passing such a mean judgment, especially on our own.

Imagine if that woman had heard those things instead of having a very invasive, inappropriate photo of her going viral due to the snapchat judgments of someone who has not walked in her shoes.  She could have left the gym feeling like a million bucks, instead, she's probably hiding from the internet as I type.

Could we just take the time today to help each other, encourage one another as one woman to another?  What purpose does it serve to tear another woman down?  None.  In fact, it does more damage I believe then we get it from a man.  You're a woman you're supposed to understand your sisters.  The pain is so much more intense coming from one woman to another.  The knife plunges deep.

Take a moment today to reach out to a female friend and offer encouragement, love and support.  Simply let her know you have her back.

Then....we can take on the world together.




2 comments:

  1. been battling weight n self image issues since I was 9 years old....all it takes is one comment from someone you look up to and it can influence your entire life.....

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