Cheryl Haworth is a legend in women’s Olympic weightlifting. A new documentary — appropriately called Strong! — profiles her career. Here, Cheryl sits down and raps with Stumptuous about her experiences.
It can be hard to remember because your illness or disability sometimes feels like your body’s defining characteristic, but remember that your body is, in the ways that matter, the same a everybody else’s. It wants to move, to act with purpose and focus and silliness and joy. Your body does not care that it can’t do the same things other bodies can, or that it moves differently, or that other people might think it looks weird – it just wants to do what it can do, whatever that may be. What’s different about you is not nearly so important as what’s the same. Your body, just like everybody else’s body, wants to be used. Use it.
Some time ago I received an email titled, “Shaky man Down Under.” It was from Neil, an Australian man with Parkinson’s disease who had taken up weight training as part of his therapy. Since I suffer from the delusion that everyone who can move should do resistance training, and since I was also working with a client suffering from a related disorder, I encouraged him to keep it up. He leaped into his training with renewed enthusiasm. Every now and again, Neil sends me progress reports.
Nearly 10 years ago I got an email from another Krista. She was a police officer and powerlifter, and we hit it off pretty much right away. I asked her for some pics to put up on my site, and as it turned out, she had penned a few strength training articles of her own.
When I saw her compete at her first powerlifting competition, I noticed that her opening lifts were higher than many of the women who were heavier than her. In other words, she wasn’t just strong for her weight, she was strong compared to women who were much bigger than her. So, I figured she knew what she was talking about.