I do push ups every morning. Real ones. I’ve worked my way up to twenty. Yup. Two, zero.
Somewhere along the way, I heard that women can’t do real push ups, something to do with weight distribution. I took that to be true and immutable.
You know what’s true and immutable? You can’t do ten real push ups if you’ve never done any real push ups.
Recently, I read an article about how a simple plank-style push up works muscles up and down your body. Nowhere did it say that women can’t do them. With selling the house and moving, I didn’t have time to work out but I walk early every morning and figured I could fit in a push up after.
I started with one real push up.
The next day, shoulders sore, I did another one.
A few days later, I went for two. Whenever I felt like I could do an extra one, I would. I started to notice my arms and shoulders. I felt strong.
What else have I been telling myself I can’t do? What else have I heard along the way that I took to be true and immutable?
- You are not musical.
- You can’t play…
- You’ll never…
Maybe you heard:
- You can’t marry the person you love.
- You won’t succeed.
- Women can’t conduct, fly a fighter jet, be president, etc.
- Men can’t be a nurse, wear a skirt, cry, etc.
I am angry. I could be angry at others for telling me their version of truth, but I am angry at myself for buying it. And before you say “Molly, give yourself some grace,” I do but don’t dismantle my anger.
Do you know what happens when we get angry? We make a change. We need our anger in order to create movement. Anger is fuel in all the combustible and productive ways that gasoline is. Misused and we all burn up. Channeled through an engine and it gets us to where we want to go.
Make a list of what you tell yourself you can’t do. Here are some examples from myself and others:
- I can’t do real push ups.
- I can’t make art. I am not creative.
- I can’t fix things.
- I can’t cook.
- I can’t make it on my own.
Ask yourself: Is it true? Has it changed? Who did I hear it from? Why do I tell myself these things? Who does it serve?
Did you get a little angry? Good. I am going to go do my push ups.
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