Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Courage to Change


That might have been a little cryptic and morbid in comparison to my normal opening, but stay with me here: Changing your life on purpose is hard. Being deliberate about your choices is hard. Doing what is right for yourself and the people you love... yep, hard too. Not because it isn't worth the end result but because it requires some level of change, a deviation from the life you've grown accustomed to. But you know what's even harder? Living a life that you don't feel good about. It goes back to that whole "nothing changes if nothing changes" scenario. It doesn't pay to be stagnant in this life, but when you're standing on the cliff looking down into the depths of a scary-new-unknown versus looking back to the comfortable-old-familiar, it's hard not to second guess yourself.

I find myself standing/teetering on that brink sometimes when I look back on the lifestyle I used to live versus the way I have decided to be now. The habits aren't the only thing that changed--I didn't just trade late nights boozing for early morning burpees or my once a week pint of Ben and Jerry's for a frozen banana with almond butter (which is, incidentally, freakin delicious). Everything changed, even my relationships changed. People look at you differently when you demand more from your life and from yourself. Some are impressed, others are jealous. Most of them won't understand--that's the hardest part. And they'll probably talk shit either way.

No matter what you'd like to believe, changing yourself means changing everything--and that means accepting the fact that some of the people in your life will choose to be left behind. Not all of them; some will watch you for awhile from a safe distance and then join in. Others will check in from time to time but stick with their old ideals, and that's okay too. But some will scoff at you and try to belittle the choices you make because they're not brave enough to do the same. Lead, follow, be dragged, or be cut loose; nobody needs deadweight in their life. It's hard to come to terms with the idea that a better life for yourself would actually deter people from wanting to be around you, but that is the cold hard truth kids.

Thankfully you will find a better and more solid network of people somewhere along the way if you just hold fast. Jump in and tread water for awhile, eventually someone is going to throw you a life preserver and help you make your way to a new spot where you'll find a whole bunch of new someone's--other people who had the courage to take that leap of faith and understand why you decided to show up. And no matter how many times you stumble (and stumble I have!) on that road to a better life, they will always be there to help you get back on your feet once you're ready.

I won't lie and say all of this is an easy transition for me; there are days where it's all I can do to keep myself from backpedaling for fear of the unknown. Spending so many years with the mindset that I didn't deserve the best that life had to offer has made it very difficult to shift that paradigm and realize that I do deserve anything that I'm willing to work for. That includes a healthy mind and body, a good relationship with someone who really loves me, and a happy (albeit completely crazy) household. I have allowed that self-deprecating mindset to be a crutch for my backsliding for so long, it just isn't worth it.

How much further along would I be if I had just believed in my heart a long time ago that I was entitled to more than just mediocrity? It isn't worth dwelling on, but it is a valid question. Now, I'm not much for doling out advice unless you need someone to tell you what not to do--then I could write you a GD book. But I do know that the only way to get where you want to go is by continuing to put one foot in front of the other, so that's what I'm going to do.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sharing your Passion

He started drinking water on Sunday afternoon. I didn't think much of it at first, but then curiosity won over as the day wore on and he kept doing it. I was totally perplexed, because anyone who knows Todd can tell you that given the chance he would drink Mtn Dew from sun up till sun down. And then he started on the water again first thing Monday morning while I was making him breakfast. By 3 pm when he walked in with a Dasani bottle I just couldn't take it anymore and decided to ask him what the hell was going on. He's not one for any sort of change so when he does things like that it puts me on high alert--I'm thinking maybe he isn't feeling good or there's a zombie apocalypse on the horizon, which seems about as plausible as him drinking water. He simply says "What, it's better for ya" like I haven't told lectured him about this 18 dozen times. Like I haven't warned him about his sugar consumption and the fact that he has a family history of weak hearts and already has high blood pressure that isn't being managed by medication. The benefits of water over Mtn fucking Dew are not new to me. I realize that you have to pick your battles, and he's an adult, so I don't feel like I should have to nag or beg him to take care of himself. But Todd isn't your typical overweight/overeating heart-attack-waiting-to-happen kinda guy, which is what makes it even scarier in my book to think that he may be a ticking time bomb. I want him to be around for our kids and their kids, and I want him to be around for me.

When we first started dating he said, and I quote, "sooo what's up with this Crossfit thing?" He then proceeded to tell me that it was fine if I was into it but that I'd never get him in there and we pretty well left it at that. Yet over the past couple months since I've been hitting it full force I can see some interest sparked in him; not just about the eating aspect but the working out part (although he finds the state of my poor hands to be appalling). I can tell he wants it but he doesn't like to do anything unless he's the best at it and he sure as hell isn't going to walk in there and have me out-lift him at every turn. Like so many people that walk into the box for the first time, he's super self conscious and he doesn't realize what the rest of us have long since learned--nobody else gives a shit what you're doing because they're too worried about what they're doing! I'm freakishly excited about his budding interest in paleo and (potentially) Crossfit, but I'm doing my best not to show it too much for fear of spooking him like some kind of wild animal.

I've found myself already loading him up with information, sending him links and trying to explain to him why pasta is the devil and fat is a satiating little merrymaker who's been living with a bad-rep for so many years. All the while I'm sitting on the edge of my seat hoping he will buy into this lifestyle because I know how much healthier he would be and how much easier it would make my life if he were on board as well. At what point do you have to come down off the soapbox and realize people are going to do what they're gonna do and you can't force them wake up and take care of themselves? I know that even though I've had some guides and helping hands along the way, I ultimately had to come to a place of health on my own for myself and realize that only I was responsible for my success or failures. Good intentions don't mean a damn thing, it's what you do that counts.

So how do you begin to explain something as simple and complex as Crossfit? I mean he already sees me coming home drenched in sweat and dirt and occasionally blood, bruised and battered and thinks I've lost my GD mind. How do you explain in words something that elicits so many feelings in you--ask anyone and they will tell you that the box is so much more than the workout.

It's learning something new every day.

It's finding discipline and strength you didn't believe you could ever begin to have.

It's physical, mental and emotional transformation that works from the inside out.

It's a new sense of confidence.

It's doing things you've never been able to do.

It's conquering your own demons.

It's pushing beyond those self-set limits.


It's showing up for yourself.

It's showing up for each other. Community, friends, family--by far the most rewarding part.

I don't know where this whole water-drinking, question-asking phenomenon is going to lead, but I really hope it's a step closer to the box.. Fingers crossed!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Time Well Spent

We spent last weekend out of town for a couple days on a mini vacation, taking the boys to the Louisville Slugger factory, then heading back up to Cincy for the zoo and a Reds game. Britt was out of town with her mom so she wasn't able to come, but I'm learning that going with the flow is a necessity when everyone is going in different directions. Trying to hold all that together is hopeless as herding cats some days, and with a family and a business the glory days of my early 20's seem far away... Goodbye Gulf Shores girls' trips. Much as I love my family I am a little sad to see those days go. But the boys were super pumped about going and it made me happy to see and hear how excited they were to get to do something that I consider so simple.

I spent several hours on the day before our trip running around like a mad-woman trying to get everyone packed and ready to go. There's nothing simple about traveling with this many people, even if only for a long weekend. Extra clothes, snacks for the kids, plenty of activities to occupy them on the drive down (because otherwise Braylon, aka the question man, will drive you bat shit crazy), not to mention planning the trip and getting a hotel, because who doesn't love waiting til the last minute to do these things?! At any rate we pulled it all together and nothing irreplaceable was forgotten.

TRUTH...

Becoming a parent and partner to a much larger family has presented me with a lot of new challenges. When it was just Connor and me things were still relatively simple. He was of course first priority, but that didn't make it tough to still do the things I needed/wanted to. Now it's a whole other ball game. The problematic thing about a growing family and more complicated life is that we tend to put ourselves on the back burner and then use our added responsibilities as an excuse to stop taking care of ourselves. Or at least that's what I did, and I think it's a prevalent story in society. Forgoing our duty to ourselves to be all that we can be for everyone else--hello folks, we're mothers not martyrs! Fortunately I've been down the ugly road of zero self-care once before and am unwilling to do it again, so I pulled myself out of that tailspin before things got out of control.

It made me wonder why we sacrifice self-care as a legitimate trade off for being a parent/partner, telling ourselves it's ok to be unhealthy or skip out on exercise because we just don't have time--too busy taking care of everyone else. Newsflash: if you don't take care of yourself first, you're not going to be around to take care of anyone. I may not have been moving into the obesity limelight again, but I can tell you my attitude sucked far worse than it already does when I was dipping out on the gym and slamming pizza and ice cream on the regular. At first I found myself feeling guilty for taking that time away every day to go to the gym, but I realize it is absolutely necessary if I want to be the best version of myself for everyone else, and damnit it makes me feel good.


An hour or so a day at the gym isn't that much in the grand scheme of things, and having friends that I can work out with and talk to about something other than baseball, WWE, or farts is time well spent in my book. Forking out a little more on fresh foods and produce at the grocery store rather than boxed bullshit or mediocre restaurant food every night is worth the payoff. If my kids see me making time to take care of myself (even if that means I have to get up ungodly early), odds are they're going to do the same one day because that's how they assume it should be. Make yourself a priority... taking care of your family isn't a justifiable excuse for not taking care of yourself.

(And if you come to Crossfit, you can buy your kid sweet shirts like this one)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Can't


How I feel today===>

I got my first unbanded pull-up on Sunday. After two years of Crossfit (albeit inconsistent), I was finally able to get my chin over that damn bar. I just jumped up there like I always do to give it a few unsuccessful attempts and nailed it on the first try. Cleared that mother by a couple inches even! It was exciting, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I almost cried. Triumphs like that make you thirsty for more.

I've been examining my own efforts a lot more closely as of late, trying to really decide whether I'm pushing as hard as I can every day, every WOD, every time. Scrutiny is necessary sometimes to keep yourself honest, and I've mentally "no rep'd" myself more in the past couple weeks than I probably ever have in my entire Crossfit career. You can't tell yourself lies and expect to get staggering results.

How many times have you done something half-assed and called it good enough? Too many to count.

How many times have you used the word "can't" as a crutch? Can't is my favorite, because that eliminates any possibility of even trying. Can't keeps you from failure because if you already know you can't then you don't have to try. Can't also keeps you from success. Can't is a cop-out.

I don't do handstands well.. something about going at the wall head first just freaks me out and the first few times I tried, my arms just buckled out of fear. Fuck that, my head and neck don't deserve that kind of abuse so I said to hell with it. I struggled with pull-ups for two years with minimal results. I ate a box once and I haven't done a max-height box jump since. Notice a pattern anyone? Choosing mediocrity has left me with what I consider to be mediocre results. Sometimes you just have to get out of your own way.

I never tried to climb the rope before, just assumed it wasn't going to happen because of the array of other shit I haven't been able to do so why try right? And then one day I asked for help and I'll be damned if I didn't scale that thing like it was my job. Sunday I went in to do a WOD incredibly hungover and told Matt I "just knew" I couldn't do most of the movements at the weight he had prescribed... And then I proceeded to do them all Rx, followed by my first pull-up and then 5 more. Today I did my first unmodified WOD with pull-ups, and I've never been more proud to have hands that are ripped to shit.

(Okay, maybe not that bad..... but they were sketchy enough to make Todd gaggy hah)

Can't has been a cement block chained to my legs for so long. It makes me think about all the times I didn't do something just because I assumed I couldn't, or because I didn't want to fail and look stupid. But I'm quickly learning that the old adage is true--You can't let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.