I typically aim to add value to the lives of others. I tell myself that those who know me feel they can rely on me in times of need, and that they are comfortable being vulnerable in moments of emotional turmoil. I aim to approach both people and scenarios with an open mind and a willingness to engage in unbiased dialogue without judgement. Yet on this blog, which I’ve run for years, I have typically chosen to stay away from subject matter that can be perceived as controversial.

As the first week of 2018 comes to an end, I’ve felt a strong sense of obligation to stop holding back. Stop pulling punches. START being more vulnerable, myself. While by and large, this blog is meant to be about fitness, my desire to help people become healthier, and my affinity for impressive feats of human performance, this blog also serves as my voice. The words I type represent my persona, and while I’d love to be viewed as a valuable and positive resource, I also would like my “reputation” to be associated with words like bold, unapologetic, and empowering.

Last night my brother sent me a text telling me that Oprah gave an incredible speech during the 2018 Golden Globes as she accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award. Thankfully, we live in a time where seconds after receiving his message, I was already able to find the speech on YouTube. Thank you, technology!

Let me preface this next part by admitting that I am the type of person who cries at the end of animated children’s movies when “puppy” who ran away is brought back from from the shelter by mom and dad, while little Susie was crying in her room thinking she’d never see her best friend again. Cue slow motion running towards each other, cue me pretending to cough to give myself an excuse to bring my hands up to my face to dry my tears. REGARDLESS….

Watching Oprah’s acceptance speech literally left me speechless. Not only was I choked up with emotion, but as soon as it was done I turned the TV back on and could only muster a, “… wow….” from under my breath. Here’s the thing, Oprah is an incredible public speaker. But we knew that already. The stories we’re hearing about discrimination, misconduct, and abuse are disgusting and appalling. But most (decent) people agree on that, too. The reason I think her particular speech resonated with me so much is that what we’ve seen over the past few months truly has the makings of an entire culture shift.

The discrimination towards women in the workforce has got to stop. The abuse of power (typically by men in leadership positions in this particular case) has run rampant in many ways since…. basically the beginning of our society. But what’s happening now, today, during our lifetime, is individuals are standing up to defend themselves. Those who are discriminated against or abused based on gender, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, disabilities, and so many more areas, are beginning to not only get, but hold the attention of larger audiences. In those audiences, more and more people are building the courage to stand up and fight alongside those who have been wronged for so long. Strength in numbers in the fight for the greater good is beginning to create headway for fundamental change.

There have been well-written speeches throughout the years that motivate and inspire meaningful change. This is has the power to be one of them. There are also individuals out there who are already calling for Oprah to run for president. While I understand the passion with which those claims are being made, there’s a lot more to being a president than having a moral compass and striving to improve the current state of affairs. But politics aside, I hope that people who watch the video below can view it from an even broader perspective than “men discriminating against women” for one reason and one reason alone.

While those specific injustices need to come to an end, there are countless others that deserve just as much change and reform! I’m writing this post to offer my support for positive change. I’m writing this post to thank people like Oprah who have the courage to stand up and refuse to sit idly while the corrupt few around them benefit from the intentional hurt and mistreatment of others. And I’m writing this post to let you know that I am here to be a positive agent for change.

Yes, this blog is about fitness most of the time. But sometimes, I’ need to use my voice to discuss things that are more important than a funny dog video or some athletic accomplishment. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I really appreciate it.

-Tom 1/8/18

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