"In the Flesh" Collection
Some of my earliest memories revolve around the body—being picked up by my uncles, running around with overflowing joy, the comfort of holding my mom’s hand. For every happy and every sad experience, there was a sensory feeling attached to them. But as the innocence of youth began to fade for less important things like popularity and ego, I remember the unhappiness I felt for the state of my physical place in the world. Even in elementary school, I began to identify with the idea that I was “almost… but not quite.”
I was kind of athletic, but not really… I was kind of smart, but not really… I was kind of popular, but not really… and the list went on. As much as I wanted to be a more confident and charismatic version of myself, I felt powerless to get out of this place of limbo. The lack of resources, and the comfort of the familiar kept me in a hated but accepted place. As I grew into my formative years, this belief about myself would harden by years of self-sabotage and self-pity.
But like the light that leaks through the clouds to show the sun is still there, it was the grace of physical victories that helped chip away at this grip of darkness. None of these victories were spectacular, but they were impactful. For instance, I thought that being able to do a pull-up was physically impossible. I would try with embarrassment to wiggle my way up the bar during physical fitness tests at school, but didn’t get close. Years later, with the purchase of a doorframe pull-up bar, I would slowly but surely increase my ability. Today, I can do more than 20 pull ups at a time with relative ease. Another grace was my struggle with acne. While neither my mother, father, aunts and uncles, or grandparents had this condition, it’s something that still affects me today as an adult. The breakouts I would get as a teenager, and into my twenties were the worst. They would put me into crippling states of depression as I struggled to separate who I was, with how I looked. As I grew older, did more research, and spent years testing out various regimens, I began to notice strategies that helped my skin improve. I ate healthier, stuck to a regular exercise regimen, and didn’t use harsh chemicals on my skin. I thanked my body for being so responsive to unhealthy inputs, and for a “limitation” that led me toward a healthier lifestyle. Through the pain and struggle of physical exercise or the pain and struggle of physical ailments, I realized that life isn’t about avoiding pain, but working with it to realize the joy on the other side.
God embraced the physical world. He healed the sick, he fed the hungry, and he continues to give us our daily bread. Our faith must integrate spirit and body: The prayers we do for loved ones are strengthened when we visit them in person. Our empathy for the homeless is improved when we volunteer to feed and clothe. Our promises of improvement after confession must be backed up by committed action.
Each of us are called to make disciples of all nations… to be lights of the world. And the best way to change the world is to change ourselves. The work of healing, restoring, and strengthening our bodies isn’t easy. It takes commitment, discipline, community support, sacrifice, pain, radical self-responsibility, failure, and a willingness to look at ourselves as God sees us. But all this helps us develop the virtues to better love and be loved by those whose paths cross ours.
It doesn’t take expensive athleisure, brand names, or a logo to implement these changes. But it’s my hope that if any of this resonates with you… and the designs in this collection can serve as a reminder to you and those around you to enhance the beauty and virtue inside all of us, make the investment and place an order. This is the year where you make your own victories. This is the year that you remember you weren’t just made for mediocrity or comfort, but that you were made for greatness.