7 In blogging/ crossfit/ who am I

The photos we show the world: looking ‘cute’ vs looking like we’re having fun

To get to the main point of this post, I must first start from what happened last Friday.

Last Friday was the day of 16.2 – the second workout of the Crossfit Open. It was going to go down as follows:

4 minutes for:

25 toes to bar
50 double unders
15 squat cleans @ 38.5kg (for women)

IF you finished all this in 4 minutes, you got further 4 minutes for:

25 toes to bar
50 double unders
13 squat cleans @ 52kg (for women)

IF you finished all this in the next 4 minutes, you got another 4 added and then another 4 and so on until 20 minutes.

Toes to bar I suck at. I cannot do them fast, I just kind of hang there and swing them out one by one.

Double unders I got.

Squat cleans I got.

So the clock goes and I start. Toes to bar slow as predicted but not too terrible. Double unders messed up twice in the first 10 but then did 40 unbroken. Not bad. Cleans at 38.5kg feel really freaking heavy for some reason! I do singles but am really slow standing up and when the first 4 minutes is over I have only done 13 cleans and I’m out. 88 reps.

Hmmm.  Another repeat Open workout it is.

All weekend I plotted how to speed things up to get to that second 4 minutes. In the end I decided I just needed to do the cleans faster as toes to bar cannot be quickly improved on and double unders I’m already pretty good at.

Monday night 16.2 repeat – I start the toes to bar, I do singles but I don’t let go of the bar. 25 of them later I hop off. Never in my life have I done 25 toes to bar without letting go of the bar so I’m stoked.

Double unders go ok. I trip once or twice. No biggie.

Cleans feel heavy but I hustle. After 10 reps I look at the clock and see that I’m going to make it.

I finish the cleans, do another 25 toes to bar, singles this time, on a low bar and then do the 50 double unders without too much trouble. The clock is at 7 minutes. I have a minute to get some cleans done.

At this point I’m just really excited that I’ve gotten that far, the 52kg cleans feel really, really heavy for some reason. I do two and my time is up.

167 reps.

I’m so excited, my judge takes a photo of me and my excitement shows. I don’t put it on Instagram because after looking at it for a few seconds I decide that it looks a little bit too crazy.

I put another photo instead, with the caption of

This is my holy s$#%! I got to the second round this time & got 167 for 16.2 face 😜😂😜 25 unbroken toes to bar & boom – twice as many reps as on Friday!

All the while I have this feeling in my gut that it wasn’t quite the right move, that the other photo was a much better visual of how I actually felt. My gut told me to stop trying to be cute but you know the world is a funny place and the Internet is even funnier and women’s heads, including my own, are often full of voices that say

Must look cute.
Must look happy, but calm.
Must look serene and peaceful and poised and “ladylike” and timid.

Last night one of my favourite women called me out on it and rattled some sense back into my brain.  I went to Caitlin Moran’s book reading (did you know her name is pronounced Cat-lin and not Kate-lin??), part of the Women of the World Festival that’s going on at the moment at the Southbank Centre.

She is a wise, wise woman but also, of course, highly hilarious. I laughed so much I cried but what hit me most personally was all to do with photos and how we show ourselves. Here’s an excerpt from her new book Moranifesto that she read, it is her reply to all the people who write to her asking why on earth does she always ‘pull faces’ and never looks ‘normal’ and ‘calm’ on the photos:

I would rather cut off my head than try to look attractive in a photo. I don’t want to enter that competition – for that’s what it is, when a woman dresses, and poses, like that. She gets rated. Rated against all the other women posing like that, and doing those things with her face. Pitched against Merle Oberon and Carol Vordeman, and thingy from the Kardashians.

I, on the other hand, want to be in a different category altogether – the category with Rik Mayall, and Daffy Duck, and Bill Murray in it. Where you look at their faces, and it doesn’t occur to you to comment on their jowls, or their wrinkles, or their animated yellow bill. You don’t think, ‘Oh, they’re fatter than last month’, or ‘They think they’re it’ or ‘Bad choice of yellow dungarees’. You just think, ‘They look like they’re having fun.’

And that’s all I want to look like. Like I’m having fun. And that I would help you carry your buggy up the flight of stairs, if you needed it.

I’m not trying to project some sexy authoritativeness at the world. I’m being amused by the world, instead. I’m not transmitting. I’m receiving.

Caitlin, you are so spot on. SO SPOT ON.

I too want to be in a different category. For I am having a lot of fun and there is no reason why I should feel weird showing it.

To the masses it may not be ladylike or cute or sexy, but geebus, I really didn’t think I cared about the masses. I need to remind myself of that more often.

THIS is how I actually look like when I’m having fun:

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  • Reply
    Liis Konovalov
    March 10, 2016 at 4:56 am

    /ma olen oma inglise keele varasel hommikutunnil kuhugi ära kaotanud. veetsin oma nädalavahetuse rabas, lillas vatiinkostüümis aastast 80 midagi, krunn oli peas sest juukseid pole saanud vist kaks nädalat pesta aga NII LÕBUS ei ole mul veel kunagi olnud./

  • Reply
    March 9, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    It’s a brilliant photo, and the happy shines through. I love it 😀

    I try to make sure I have a mix – so some that are ‘posed’ where I feel sexy, or cute, or whatever and then some that are more candid / ‘real’. There’s definitely a few of my instagram photos where I’m a sweaty mess or I’m pulling a stupid face but as someone who had to hide from the Internet for ~12 years because of a ridiculously overprotective other half (ex) it’s really important that I feel I can just publish whatever the hell I like and nobody can take that away from me.

    • Reply
      March 9, 2016 at 6:46 pm

      A mix is probably good. At my age I WILL post a good looking selfie if one happens (e.g. if the light is right and the angle is right and so on and so on 😉 I’ll just make sure I have more fun photos than I-won’t-smile-because-then-my-wrinkles-show-less kind of selfies.

    • Reply
      March 9, 2016 at 6:43 pm

      @cathydrewbies Sweaty and happy – that’s why I follow you! (even though you’re nuts and are training for an Ironman! 😉

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