The Courage to Become | Jena Cuellar Harris
Insecurity about my body is something I've never felt comfortable admitting.
Am I too short? Too muscular? Not curvy enough?
Ever since I could remember friends and family have always made comments about my body type. “Woah, look at those traps,” with a light squeeze on my shoulders. Or, “Those legs! They’re bigger than mine,” from a guy. And perhaps jokingly, lovingly, or admiringly but I don’t think anyone ever truly realizes how some of those comments can affect the way we feel about ourselves; How we harbor those comments deep down all the way into adulthood.
We can even let some of those words affect petty decisions like our style of clothing to serious decisions like business opportunities and career choices.
Being a young, athletic, female, can be extremely difficult when you are growing up.
When the majority of girls your age have softer lines and a more feminine build, you wonder, “Is it wrong to look the way I do?” Yet, at the same time, you love it! It can be quite conflicting in adolescence.
I've never been one to let adversity stand in the way of my goals.
When I decided I wanted to go to the University of Texas at Austin to run track, I hunted down the coach during freshman orientation and told him I wanted to run for him. I'd been offered scholarships to other schools but I didn't want those other schools. I wanted to be a Longhorn. So my persistence allowed me the opportunity to walk on. I made the team, proved myself, and ran cross-country and track all four years of my collegiate career.
When my husband and I decided we wanted to open our second business, a juice bar in South Texas, we were faced with wary friends and family members questioning whether or not it was a good business decision.
Of course, their worry was out of love, more than anything, but if that qualm didn't send us running in the opposite direction, surely the hesitance of others in the industry to give us advice would deter us, right? Nope!
It was quite the opposite. We traveled to juice bars around the country to learn from others, we spent tireless hours in our kitchen creating our own menu, and spent money we weren't sure was going to be recouped on blenders, juicers, and ingredients. This past April, our store, Shake Express, successfully surpassed the first year "make it or break it" phase and we are entering the second year with much acceptance and excitement from our community.
I'll never forget, a year ago, a client of mine was sharing an experience he checked off his bucket list. He proceeded to ask me, "What's on your bucket list?" I told him, "I've always wanted to start a blog. I've wanted to for years." His reply was, "Well what are you waiting for?!"
In truth, I was waiting to be leaner? Curvier? Smaller or less muscular? Putting myself out there in front of the world to see was a scary thought for me. Will they judge me or nitpick at what I am or am not? Compare me to other fitness bloggers?
So many insecurities and silly, unimportant, EXCUSES that hindered me from putting that "check" on my bucket list item. In the depths of my mind I could hear the voices of my adolescence seeping into my grown woman mind.
It wasn't until a year later that the topic of me starting a blog resurfaced. As business owners, some seasons can be tough. The fluctuation in revenue can be a bit unnerving. A few corporate career opportunities arose and they sounded safe. No worrying about what profits were going to look like for any given month or whether or not we'd be able to enjoy some of our lifestyle favorites during low season. For whatever reason, though, every time one of those opportunities felt like it was within grasp, it slipped away. Strangely, however, I was never upset or saddened about not getting the job. Perhaps, deep down in my heart, I knew that it's not what I wanted to do. God was steering me in another direction. But where?
I finally told my husband one Saturday afternoon as we floated around the pool, "I think I'm done trying to get a job. I have a job and I love it! I love my clients and I love what I do. But I want more!"
"More" in the sense that I wanted to reach more people. My client list was/is at full capacity. I can only help so many people, one-on-one, in a day. "How do I maximize that," I asked him.
My husband’s reply to me was, "Why don't you start a blog?" At that moment I stopped and thought to myself, "Have I ever shared with him my desire to start a blog?" I knew for a fact I hadn't. Maybe this was a reassurance that it was time.
My husband laid out a game plan and told me that he would help me to take photos and record videos. His newfound savvy behind the camera married with my journalistic background could definitely be the recipe for a successful and informative blog. A blog to help a myriad of people, not just locally, but globally, with fitness and nutrition advice! This was my goal, was it not?
I took the night to ponder and pray on it. The ease in the way the opportunity presented itself seemed almost super-natural to me. A sign from God. How do you say no to that?
The answer is- you don’t.
I felt compelled to do what God was calling me to do and He would help me to overcome the insecurities I have battled since childhood.
And he has.
Along with my loving husband who thinks I am the most beautiful woman, with the most amazing body. When I hesitate to post a photo or a video because I look to “squishy,” or short, or muscular, he is my biggest admirer reassuring me of how great I look.
I can confidently say, today, that I feel surer of myself than ever.
Do I have days where I’m being extra judgey of myself or let those comments I was once sensitive about resurface from where I have learned to bury them... absolutely. But it’s a work in progress. Everyday is.
At the end of the day, I’m glad I was able to overcome it and have the courage to start my blog because through it, I have already received messages and comments from followers thanking me for my nutrition and fitness advice. They have thanked me for motivating and encouraging them. That was my goal all along.
This was my courage to become a blogger.
You can feel Jena's fear and feel her walking through it, right? I think that's the most special part of this piece. She really let us see behind the curtain - and not everyone is brave enough or ready to do that. So -- thank you, Jena!!!
To keep up with Jena - make sure to follow her on her blog page - Jena's Gym and Juice.