When I was a little girl I always looked up to strong female figures. At the time, that figure was She-Ra and the various characters on She-Ra. I was always inspired by warriors. Just when things looked bleak, they seemed to pull through and win the fight. As I got older, my sights started to turn towards comic books and superheroes. You see, I was a bit of a dorky kid (ok, I'm still a geek). I was overweight, I had trouble with acne, and the last thing I wanted to do was wear a swimsuit in gym class. So, I escaped into the lives of strong female characters. They all had traits I wished that I'd had. They were beautiful. They got the guy. They were strong and could fight. They never gave up.
I know not everyone out there looks up to fictional characters, but EVERYONE has a hero (at least, I hope you have a hero). It may be your parents. It may be a famous athlete. It may be an actor from Hollywood. Whether you want to admit it or not, everyone uses a form of escapism... whether it's idolizing someone (real or fictional), or whether it's following the life of a train wreck and putting them down so that you, in turn, feel better about yourself. Let's focus on people you idolize (because I like to keep things on the positive side).
Get out a pencil and paper (or a keyboard and word processor, since it's 2012). Make a list of the positive traits this person or character has that you look up to. When you look at that list, do you tell yourself, "I'll never be that!"? If you do... stop it! Instead, look at that list and start to look at HOW you can start to adopt some of these admirable traits.
Let's take a look at me, for example. If I were to list some of the traits I admire in my idols, they would be:
1.) They never give up, even when things are at their most difficult.
2.) When they want something, they go for it... come hell or high water.
3.) They look good in spandex (because, hey, why not?)
4.) They have confidence in themselves and their abilities.
5.) They will always fight for what they believe in.
6.) No excuses!
These are all traits I can adopt. Sure, I may never be able to telepathically read minds, fly, teleport (though that'd be nice during commutes), or have super strength, but I CAN be all of those things! I will not roll over and let life beat me up... instead, I will challenge what life throws at me and I will conquer it... even when times get rough! I want YOU to start to work on positive mindsets for yourself to.
Now, let's take a look at what I've accomplished. In the end, I feel as though I HAVE become the superhero I always admired, or at least I know where to place my mind in order to accomplish what I've set out to do. Let's review, shall we?
1.) They never give up, even when things are at their most difficult. I went through a period in my life where I was unemployed, but rather than sitting down and complaining about it, I went out and I sought jobs. I didn't argue the job... I took what was available so that I was working until something better came about. With fitness, it gets difficult for everyone. Muscles only get stronger when you break them down. So, yes, it WILL be hard when exercising, but you need to get your mind in the right place so that you understand the aspect of conquering and accomplishing your goal. Sure, you may not want to exercise this afternoon, but did Frodo really want to be given the burden of carrying the ring to Mordor? No, he accepted this challenge and did whatever he could to accomplish it... of course, having his buddy, Sam, along the way helped. Find someone to lean on. Find a success buddy. Someone who will hold you accountable to finishing your mission... quest... thing.
2.) When they want something, they go for it... come hell or high water. Instead of just rolling over and waiting for something to come to you, you need to go to it. I live by the phrase, "It never hurts to ask." We are so worried about what people will think of us that we stay in our shell... unchanging... unmoving... why? I could've given up many times on my fitness journey, not to mention my business journey, but I KNEW what I wanted, and I wasn't going to give up so easily, and I still won't! Beware, another Lord of the Rings reference coming (heh)... Did Eowyn stay behind in Rohan when she really wanted to go fight with her people? NO! She disguised herself as a man and rode out anyways and accomplished things she'd never dreamed (like slaying the Witch King, boom).
3.) They look good in spandex (because, hey, why not?). Yes, this is a vanity one, but let me tell you, when I felt comfortable parading around in spandex (or a swimsuit for a reference that most people will understand), I felt like I'd truly arrived. I always thought the character, Psylocke, was beautiful, but I never thought I'd be able to pull off her costume. Well, that's me in that top photo. Not only did I get to the point of pulling it off, but I was actually used as a model for an artist, Justin Chung, for some of his sketch cards insert for the Marvel Universe collectable cards.
4.) They have confidence in themselves and their abilities. Did Superman ever sit back and say, "Gee wiz, guys, I just don't think I can do this. I think I'll stay home to watch 'The Bachelor' tonight."? NO! He accepted his mission, his goal, his responsibility and he did it! Sure, confidence can be hard. It will ebb and flow... it still does for me. You have to choose confidence. You have to choose to believe in yourself. Then, you need to go out there and conquer your tasks and goals!
5.) They will always fight for what they believe in. Do you even know what you stand for, what you believe in? A lot of people don't, so they stay quite still, not really doing much of anything. Well, let me rephrase that, it's not that people don't believe in anything, it's just that they've suppressed what they REALLY believe in for someone else's beliefs. I know that I believe in health, I believe in love, I believe in forgiveness, I believe in being a good human... if I find my actions conflicting with my beliefs, I take a step back and reconsider what my actions will be. THIS is why I exercise regularly. Sometimes people will say, "You don't need to exercise." My response is, "Yes, yes I do!" It's not about just physical, it's about my belief in taking care of my body, preventing it from decaying on me, preventing getting put on tons of medications later in life... it's my belief, and I will fight for it.
6.) No excuses! This is another one that will ebb and flow, but if I remember my beliefs, then I'm less likely to let lame excuses get in the way of being the superhero that I am!
(Psylocke cards I had the honor of being the model for. Artist: Justin Chung)
Keep in mind, that's MY list, and yours could be much different than mine. Seriously, do it! Think about people or characters you admire and then write down WHY you admire them. Then, take a look at your life and see how you can apply those traits to your life so that YOU can become the hero that you want to be too! I know that a future goal for me is that, if I have kids, I want to be a hero to my kids. I want to be someone that THEY want to be. I hope that's a huge motivating factor to any parents out there.
I'm taking this idea to create a fitness challenge, which I'll be bringing to C2E2 with an information table (I'll post more info here once it's up and running). I'm working on creating the Superhero Fitness Challenge! I hope to help more people bring their inner superhero out! Let's do this! We CAN walk through walls! We CAN be super strong! We CAN do this! If I can be a superhero, then you can be a superhero too! It's a choice! :-)
(Female Super Heroes at DragonCon... that's me with the wings)
Tags: c2e2, cosplay, eowyn, fitness at home, frodo, goal setting, heroes, heroines, idolize, idols, inspiration, lord of the rings, melanie bolen, motivation, personal fitness at home, psylocke, She-Ra, super hero, super hero fitness, super hero fitness challenge, super heroines, superhero, superhero fitness challenge, warrior, warrior fitness, weight loss