Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Testament to my Beastlyness

Would you believe it if I told you I was the runt of the family? Me. Oldest born. 5'6". Runt.

You see, my family...we are not small people. Nor are we wimps.

This is my dad. He’s a bit over 6-feet tall. Former wrestler and high school Hot Rod of the Year. Descendant of vikings and barbarians.

This is my mom...well, she’s one of those perfectly petite people, so we’re excluding her from this study, since viking blood doesn’t flow through her veins. (She brings to the table my French ancestry...wonder if that explains my hatred of guns and love of cheese).

This is my brother, Ryan (his wife, Laura, is with him!). Again, over 6-feet tall. People used to always ask him if he played football, but this was before Tim Tebow revolutionized the rules for homeschoolers and sports and so he’d always reply “No” while probably thinking to himself “Can’t a guy just be big for no reason?”

This is my sister, Emily. She is like 5’9” with epic, strong hair. The hair of a Valkyrie.

This is my brother, Jared. Though the slimmest of all us kids, he’s like 6’3” and his skinny jeans don’t help with the super tall illusion. He can build shelters that blend into the forest and traps that catch wild animals.

And then, again, there’s me.

At eight, I’d play wrestling with Ryan and his neighbor friends.
At eleven, I was my dad’s go-to person to help him move all of our furniture into the moving van.
And then again at twelve. And thirteen. And fourteen. We moved a lot.
At sixteen, despite my ho-hum skill, I got to play the position of catcher on my softball team a few times. (We all know that’s where the beastly players play...that, and first base).
At 25, I killed it as lead paddler on a white water rafting trip. Not to mention, I was running 6 miles a day at the time and lifting rather frequently.
And today, at 28, I’m considering training for a Tough Mudder.

All this to say, despite being the runt, I’m no wimp. But I often get the feeling that I come across wimp-like.

I opened a new gym membership, and part of the whole deal was I got a one-on-one assessment from a personal trainer.

Now, I hadn’t exercised or done anything remotely healthy for about a year leading up to this (I have the number on the scale to prove it). Yet when my super-buff trainer, Craig, handed me a kettlebell, I manhandled that thing. After one round of reps, he was like “do you want a heavier bell?” and I was like “yeah, this feather-like joke of a kettlebell is about to fly out of my hands” and he was like “you can go pick whichever one you want” but I had already gestured at HIS kettlebell. The one that he had selected for himself to use while demonstrating the moves.

“You want this one?” he asked.
“Okay” but I could hear the doubt in his voice. As if he said, How can you, a wussy blond who hasn’t lifted a thing in the past year aside from her laptop, even think to be able to use MY kettlebell? Can't you see my muscles, woman?! Can't you smell protein shakes on my breath?!

To which I replied, “I am Amanda, daughter of Randy, sister of Ryan, Emily, and Jared. Great granddaughter of Carl Oskar Johansson of Sweden and Hulda Edin of Mora, Minnesota. My ancestors raped and pillaged yours. I think I can handle this kettlebell.”

And I did.


  1. Hilarious Amanda! Do it! The Tough Mudder. Let's wear our orange headbands the next time we see each other!! I'm signed up for June 1st! Hoo-rah to Strong Girlz!! :) -Raj

  2. Don't forget I'm 5'6" and the runt of my family too! Let's be runts together. Tell the family I say "Hi!"


  3. I stopped listening when you said you were 5'6". I'm 5'3". :(

    Just kidding. LOVED your post!! and I'm super jealous of your sister's epic hair. Just sayin.

  4. My husband is 6'5". He gets asked if he plays basketball. A lot.

    Stop talking about the gym. It makes me feel guilty. :P

  5. Woo Hoo! Show that kettlebell you're the boss! :)

  6. Raj - If I can get myself to the point where I can run 3 miles nonstop before March or so, then I may sign up for one :)

    Nikki - :) Miss you!

    Bethany - I'm totally aware that I'm an average height! So that's why it's frustrating that I'm so puny in comparison to the fam!!! Embrace your shortness. I've often thought I'd rather be really short or really tall than average :)

    Lindsay - Just got back from the gym *flexes muscle*

    Winter - Yeah!!

  7. "My ancestors raped and pillaged yours. I think I can handle this kettlebell." I want so badly for you to wear that on a t-shirt. Also, don't you mean "you were almost killed as lead paddler on a whitewater rafting trip?" Just to clarify. Those gnats almost finished you off.

  8. I told you you reminded me of the fierce, arrow shooting, Viking princess in Brave

  9. Followed this here via Twitter. I'm the runt in my family too (except for my mom) and I'm no shrimp at 5'7".

    And, I graduated in the homeschool class of 2001. We rock!

  10. Erin - T-shirt is on the way. And I remember the gnats dying, not me. They died as soon as they touched me, they were so terrified.

    Laura - haha, I forgot about that!

    Rachel - Homeschoolers unite!