Inspiration, Part 1
One of my primary goals this summer is to inspire people to do their own thing. If my journey can inspire even one person to attempt to change his or her life for the better, it’ll have been a success.
Luckily for me, I have a good friend who knows what it feels like to be that inspiration.
A few years ago, I was introduced to Andrea Kuchinski through a common friend, Sara Delmar. Without question, you could tell the moment you met her that she was a certifiable bad-ass -- the sort of laid-back, happy-go-lucky gal you want in your circle of friends.
By her own admission, Andrea was out of shape. Her body type belied that strong-minded personality that all her friends loved her for. Her weight caused painful self-confidence issues that ate at her, day after day.
But one day, Andrea decided she wasn’t going to be that girl anymore. With her wedding on the horizon, she realized it was time for a dramatic change.
She created a website, thick-to-thin.com, aptly named because of her mission at the time -- to lose a lot of weight. Sounds simple enough, right?
Not quite. Andrea got introduced to Crossfit, described by Wikipedia as a “physical fitness philosophy and also a competitive fitness sport,” and by me as “the workout regimen of crazy people.” Weight-lifting, plyometrics, gymnastics, strongman exercises … Crossfit will kick. Your. Ass.
Andrea quickly realized Crossfit was her calling (and spent many a Facebook conversation trying to convince me that it is mine, too …). And as the months went by, that once-overweight bad-ass became a well-oiled workout machine.
But about that URL. Thick To Thin. Thick To Thin.
For everything wonderful that Crossfit does for your body, its primary objective isn't weight loss. And although she had lost a lot of weight, the Thick To Thin gal -- she of a marketing/graphic design background -- had encountered a modest identity crisis.
Never fear, though. Andrea puts it best in the ‘About’ section on her site:
“… Along the way, I learned that being thin isn’t the only thing I want.. I want to be strong, inspiring and awesome!”
Just like that, the Thick To Thin gal became the, well, Thick to Thin And Strong And Inspiring And Awesome gal. As her success story permeated social media, she decided to design t-shirts that would help other girls embrace their own inner bad-ass. What started as a little side business became an internet phenomenon, and suddenly that once-out-of-shape bride-to-be found herself shipping shirts around the world, to women (and, yes, some men!) who see themselves and their inner strength in her story.
A few weeks ago, Andrea asked me to help her craft a press release about the Thick To Thin business. Her Facebook audience teetered at around 9,000 ‘likes,’ and I urged her to push for 10,000 as a newsworthy milestone. In typical Andrea fashion, she shrugged off my request, promising me that number and then some in a matter of hours.
I’m writing this blog post from the comfort of my bed in Binghamton, watching the sun rise over the Chenango River. By the time that same sun sets tonight, that audience of 9,000 ‘likes’ will likely hit 15,000 -- 15 THOUSAND people who read Andrea’s story, or saw her photos, or watched her video, and said, y’know what -- that girl, that once-thick, and now thin-and-strong-and-inspiring girl -- on the inside, that’s me.
And as for me? I’m proud to say I’m one of those 15,000. I’m proud to call Andrea, no matter what size she is, a friend. And I’m proud to work with Andrea, to help her continue to spread her inspiring message this summer around the United States.
I’m not a woman, and I’m not overweight, but in Andrea, I see myself and my story. Much like Andrea, I’m setting my goals high, and I’m dropping everything to make it happen. Much like Andrea, those goals may change along the way, and that’s OK. And much like Andrea, I’m going to work my ass off to achieve those goals.
So thank you, Andrea Kuchinski. You are a big part of MY inspiration -- a torch I plan to carry around the United States this summer.