The Antithetical Pursuit
Written by: DCCF-Member Elizabeth Ann Duncan
“The Heroin Chic glorified by the fashion industry is, at its very root, inhuman. It demands that life’s rich resources (mobility, strength, even intelligence) be squandered in the pursuit of a pitiful aesthetic.”
This line from “Letting Beauty Speak Up For Itself” is nothing short of perfect. As a former pursuer of the pitiful aesthetic, I sometimes cannot even believe a community with such ideal expressed exists in America today. Previous to hearing this perfect prose I have been known to quote the slightly less artful words of Kate Winslet: “I’ve been skinny; It’s f*cking boring.”
When I finished writing my recap of my first year at DCCF, I had a moment of pride upon realizing I didn’t make a single reference to body composition or weight. I am a female, who wrote about a year’s worth of fitness accomplishments, feeling zero need to talk about my body in terms of pounds or inches or percentages. I didn’t purposefully avoid it, it just didn’t seem that important. It wasn’t part of why I was proud, or why I keep coming back. This paradigm shift can be largely attributed to CrossFit. I am the member discussed around the 5 minute mark: I came to work out and I quickly wanted a pull up (check) and a body weight clean (check) and a double body weight back squat (not far on the horizon).
One of the best compliments I’ve been paid since finding CrossFit was a co-worker saying “Please tell me how your mother raised you so I can do the same for my daughter so she will have the relationship with exercise and food and her body that you have.” While I will certainly give credit where it’s due (HI, MOM! Thanks for always being supportive and a great role model!) I had to tell her she was looking at a very small piece of the data. The path to today hasn’t been completely smooth. Great role models or not, society is brutal and scarily convincing.
If you go to watch ‘Letting Beauty Speak Up for Itself’ on CrossFit Journal you will find a link to Emily Beer’s “Saved By the Barbell” which also had a line that struck me: “She managed to avoid major body-image eating disorders and depression. She is one of the lucky ones.” I, too, count myself among those lucky, but make no mistake; I have some ugly stories from days of the pursuit of the pitiful aesthetic. I’ve cried on a scale. I’ve used exercise as punishment for what I’ve eaten. I’ve body shamed my own friends. These occurred during some of the loneliest, most boring days of my life. So, I can’t help but think it is damn near magical that this video is becoming as popular as it deserves to be. As I listen to the thoughts and views expressed by each person interviewed, I’m hopeful that the paradigm shift is not just personal, but societal.
The pursuit of a pitiful aesthetic is inhuman and lonely and boring. CrossFit is the antithetical pursuit. We strive to improve the human experience through exciting camaraderie building. What a beautiful thing.
Elizabeth Ann Duncan (“E.A.”) is an attorney by trade and an amateur CrossFit nerd by choice. She will celebrate 5 years with the Derby City Fit Fam in August.