No matter what size I’ve been, someone has always been out there to remind me that it’s wrong. Too small, too big, too everything. I convinced myself for a long time that it didn’t bother me, but the more I tried to ignore it and be “fine” with it, the more I grew to realize how much it influenced my life. People tell me I look good, have lost weight, even gained weight (isn’t it amazing sometimes what people will say to your face?), or any other commentary on my physical appearance always makes me instantly feel sick. As much as I avoid thinking about it, I’m completely hyper focused on it all the time.
Through a crazy coincidence of events, I randomly ended up in a SoulCycle class - and I didn’t love it. I was confused and overwhelmed, but I kept coming back. I found two instructors - Steph Stokes and Matt Tseng - who just got me as a person and knew I had something to work through and they have supported and accepted me through every ride whether I was crying or laughing and have given me the space to just be me. In time, the amount of peace, acceptance, and strength I found on the bike gave me the courage to confront the things that hold me back the most. Before I knew it, I was asking myself why I constantly avoided looking in the mirror in the studio. I avoided after class selfies like the plague even when they were with my favorite people from class. I would always book bikes that I knew had a blocked view of the mirror because I just didn’t want to ruin my Soul moment by actually “seeing” myself. Didn’t help that as I ramped up on my rides per week, I had people asking me why I wasn’t losing weight or if I ever felt weird being in the front row because I wasn’t “skinny”. Soon, the difference I started noticing in myself was that I actually started responding when people said these things to me rather than just smiling, nodding, and internalizing it all. I told people I was doing just fine riding anywhere in the room and was more focused on finding the beat than randomly judging others. I even asked someone why it was so important to her if I fit her notion of skinny or not if I was doing something that made me happy.
Right as I noticed I was starting to shift in my thinking, Matt and Steph started noticing and pushed me harder (and supported me more) to just work through whatever it was that was holding me back. They didn’t know the details, they just knew something was there. I have a friend in NYC who has always had deep SoulCycle love and done WDTB for the past 3 years. I asked her about it and she immediately encouraged me to sign up, knowing full well I wasn’t going to be easily swayed. Someone at work also encouraged me to sign up based on my love of all things SoulCycle and I had again immediately said no. I went to my next class as usual and afterward vented to Matt that these people were saying I should do this and he looked at me and said
“It just may be what finally frees you”.
Those words kept repeating in my head for days after because I had never told him why the thought of doing WDTB would be so overwhelming for me and so far outside my comfort zone, but he somehow knew. So I did it. I decided it was time to confront my fears head on and take the chance to show myself that I can do this as well as to support everyone else out there who is uncomfortable in their own skin.
There’s nothing better than clipping in surrounded by people who let you be the best version of yourself and show you just how much stronger you are than you ever knew.
Story by the incredible Brittany Worley
Take the challenge just like Brittany and sign up for We Dare to Bare SF happening on Saturday, May 12th.
"It may just be what finally frees you"