And I felt stupid, I felt like a stupid girl to think that I actually thought I belonged there. I felt ashamed and embarrassed.
But then there was this other part of me. I felt angry and rage, and I could feel this venom coursing through my veins. And lucky for me, that part of me won over.
Next day I found out what the standards were for the men, and I started training. I would train during the day and then I would train that night by myself for months, pushing and pushing.
And eventually, I got stronger. But what I realized is my confidence got stronger and my mental armor got stronger. That part of me because it was all mental, it wasn’t really physical. And I built up my mental armor and eventually I started competing on the same level as the men in my class. And even in some occasions surpassing them.
I earned the respect, not through going to somebody and saying hey you need to respect me. I knew that that wasn’t going to work. But I earned it through my actions.
I have to tell you, though, not everybody respected me no matter how much I excelled, no matter how so much I surpassed, not everybody respected me.
And that’s when I learned it wasn’t my issue, it was theirs. That’s when I learned you don’t need everybody’s respect. Some peoples you don’t need. First and foremost is your own: respecting yourself which I acquired.
And then knowing whose opinions of you matter and whose opinions of you don’t. When you learn to differentiate which ones matter and which ones don’t, that’s when you’re really free.
I want to finish with this: how you define yourself is your choice, how others define you is their choice, is up to you to decide which definition you prefer.