Sunday, July 24, 2016

Brave

Driving home from a workout before my vacation the song "Brave" by Sarah Bareilles was playing. I've always sort of liked this song. I want to be brave. I want to face all my fears without wondering where the exit is. I want to stand up for what I want.

Most of all I want to stop caring so much about what society says is "right". I see the magazines, I see the photoshopped, airbrushed covers and my chunky, solid body just does not measure up. Not in any way, shape or form. Not in the wildest reaches of my imagination does the body I possess measure up to society's "ideal" or flavor of the month (thank you Joanne for that phrase).

Do I ever stop to think that there is a great likelihood that none of the women I am seeing on the cover can deadlift 400 pounds, squat 275 pounds or bench press 200? Do I remind myself to celebrate what my body can do and does do well? Nope, nope, nope. I look at the thick, jiggly thighs and resolve to work harder.

My biggest fear from the beginning of this journey has been I will slip back to the person I was before. I will regain all the weight and then some. I have shared my fears repeatedly with both of my coaches. Recently one of them suggested it is time to stop worrying about that: I am not the person I was before. Hmmm, he might have a point.

So, am I telling you that now I love my body and think it is perfect. Bahahaha! NO!! I am telling you I am TRYING to accept the body I have now and what it can do while I work on making it even better. I am working on not caring what the size label in my clothing says and instead worrying about how the clothes fit and make me feel. I am going to try to focus on what I do well and work on my weaknesses without getting down on myself. I don't want or need to be a jack of all trades at Pride: I need to be me. The coaches want me to be ME, not a pale, cookie cutter version of someone else.

I was brave last week in a different way: I didn't work out. No Pride Fit Group Training, no Yoga Corr, no Buddy Training, no Muscle Hour, no Flex Friday. I did take a 2 mile walk most mornings, but for a week I didn't see Coach Tyler, Coach Dane or Pride Fitness Performance. Most shocking to me: I lived through it. I would dare say it was even good for me (Yes, yes, I am saying you were right Dane and Tyler, I did need the break). I will walk back into Pride early tomorrow morning and I can't wait. I'll try not to do anything embarassing like hug the walls, but I make no promises.

I have one other area of being brave I need to work on. I need to stand firm on what I want. I hate conflict, to me it is just easier to let others have what they want. Except that doesn't really work. The other person might be happy, but I feel resentful and angry. Recently, with a lot of help and advice from friends, I have started the process of standing up for what I want. It's going to be slow going and I'm sure I'll slide back into letting other people's needs dictate what I do frequently, but one baby step at a time. Those people who think I will always be swayed to meet their needs now have fair warning: my needs matter too. Don't think I will automatically acquiese because you feel your needs are more important. I will be honest, I will strive to be kind, but if you are bold enough to ask me to meet your needs and ignore mine you get what you get.

In the interest of being brave here's my attempt of the day.


Popham Beach July 22, 2016. 



Sunday, July 10, 2016

Someday

Someday.

I don't know about you, but I use that word A LOT. Definitely in dreaming about fun things to do with friends "Someday we should....". Many times when thinking about myself  "Someday, when I am fit....". The thing is, I am sort of fit now...some of the things I am putting off until that magical "someday" are things I should be doing now.

You know when someday is, right? For me it is NEVER. If I tell you I will do something "someday" you can bet I am thinking "...and someday is when hell freezes over. It ain't happening". My friend Carole has pointed out to me on many occasions that I should never say never. She's right, just about every thing I have said I would never do (i.e. complete a Tough Mudder, climb a wall, run around the pond, powerlift) I have done. Some I have done much better at than others, but I've done just about everything I said I never would. So I changed my never. Someday now means never for me.

It occurs to me as I write this, that this is one of the dumbest things I could do. I know myself: if I write it, I will post it. If I post it everyone who reads it is going to know that if I tell you someday chances are I am telling you never. Ah well, I may as well be honest.

Besides, I am not sure this is a secret. A coach who had known me less than a month was astute enough to recognize that if he ever wanted to see me on the platform at a powerlifitng meet he was going to need to do something about it himself. He was right, had he waited for me he'd still be waiting. I guess he saw something in me that led him to believe I would find my niche in powerlifting if he kicked my butt into doing it the first time. I am grateful he took the time to nudge me into powerlifting.

Someday I will have confidence in myself and my abilities. Yeah, not so much this one. I am working on it. Sometimes I feel confident, tell me we are deadlifting 215 pounds or I'll be bench pressing 135 pounds 5 reps for 5 rounds and I feel confident: I know (or I'm pretty sure) I can do those things.

Then I step up to that barbell loaded so it weighs 365 pounds and I get myself set up and lift. It feels so heavy while I'm pulling it past my shins that my confidence withers and I'm left with that voice that tells me I suck, that the bar is not going to lock out and I should quit right there. Fortunately at that point I also have Coach T or Coach D right there. Their voices are louder than the sneaky bitch in my head trying to undermine me and I get to lock out. The weight that gives me pause changes, but once I get past that "heavy" lift nothing else I pull feels as heavy.

That sounds weird right? How is it possible that pulling 365 pounds feels heavier than pulling 385, 395 or 400 pounds? I suspect it is mostly mental in my case. I over think things, shocking news right?? As much as I am chanting "this bar isn't heavy" in my head while I set up the nasty little voice in my head is also whispering "That is so much weight, you'll never move it...you'll be rowing 5000m for sure when you blow it. Coach T won't let you fail this without a consequence. And Coach D, he's going to be sorry he's been wasting his time training you".

I need to evict that nasty voice once and for all. Not someday, but now. There are days I might not pull 365 pounds, but that in no way means I've failed. I can't fail unless I walk away and refuse to try. That's just not going to happen, because there is no way I can look either of my coaches in the face and say no. There is no way I can look into the faces of my friends, the people who have travelled to Burlington with me, the ones who send me encouraging messages, the ones who make me laugh and remind me it will be okay when I am one step from bolting and tell them "Nope. Can't do it. Won't do it".  If I can't find the strength to do it for myself, then I will find the strength to do it for everyone who supports, encourages and cares about me.

I'm not perfect, I'm a work in progress. If I need to draw on my need to please people to get the job done then so be it. I know I need to work on it so that making myself happy is important too, but for the moment I will take what I can get. Lifting heavy stuff makes me really, really happy and I will get to that any way I have to.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Why I Lift

I follow a page on Facebook called "Girls Who Powerlift". If you have any interest in powerlifting at all, check them out. There are some interesting articles as well as profiles of female powerlifters. One of the things that caught my attention was videos of members talking about why they lift. Not that any of you have asked for that, but it's been on my mind, so I decided I'd write my own list. I'm not going to make a video or anything like that. I'm much better with the written word. When I speak I stutter, stumble over my words and lose my train of thought.

So here goes. My answers to why I lift.


1. I found myself.
I am someone who has spent the majority of her life worrying more about making other people happy than what would make me happy. I often let people tell me what I was doing and when I was doing it. I didn't think it was a big deal, me being happy wasn't important, making other people happy was much more important. Even if making someone else happy made me feel bad that was okay.

Excuse my language, but to HELL with that! To accomplish what I would like to I need to devote time and energy to myself. It took time, it induced A LOT of guilt, but I finally figured out that my wants are just as important as anyone else's. In fact, I've discovered that sometimes it is just fine for me to ask for what I want and to expect to get it. Not every time, I am not a diva, but there have been times recently when I have stood by what I want. Those closest to me will tell you it was hard for me to stand firm, that it took a lot of talking and reminding on their part to get me to stand my ground, but I did it.

I lift because the person I found when I stepped up to that bar intrigued me. She might be scared, her heart is thundering in her ears, but she knows what to do. She knows what to do and she does it.

This person doesn't think she's better than anyone else. In fact, that doesn't remotely matter to her. Her job is to be better than she was the time before and that is all that she cares about. I have discovered I am competitive, but I also want everyone else to do well. I cheer for those I compete against and I am as excited for their PRs and successes as I am for mine.


2. I feel competent.
I am unfamiliar with this feeling. In my other life I am a teacher. I just finished my 16th year of teaching as a matter of fact and I can tell you that in that time, other than my first year when I was sure I knew everything, I have felt competent a handful of times. The question I hate most in interviews? When they say "So tell us why we should hire you?" Seriously?! I haven't ever said it but it is so tempting to reply with "I won't whine and argue when you load me down with way too much work. I'll volunteer for everything under the sun so you won't figure out I have no damn idea what I am doing."

When I lift I feel competent. Maybe I won't pull every bar to lockout and sometimes my squats don't hit parallel, but I still know what I'm doing. I know what I can do to make the next time better. I don't worry my coaches will think I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm upfront with both of them: if I don't get it I say so, I ask for a demo and I won't soldier on if I'm unsure: I'll ask for a spotter or for one of them to watch me. Part of that is the promise I made to one of them to always be honest, but another part of it is being certain enough in my competence to know when I need more help.


3. I like being strong.
There, I said it. I like being strong. I like how it feels. I like knowing when I need to lift the 44 pound box of cat litter, the bag of mulch or the lawnmower I'm going to be able to do it. I like being asked to help move one of the benches at Pride if it is needed in a different location. It's flattering to hear "Okay, Kim and guys: you'll be deadlifting 245 pounds".  Being strong means I can take care of myself and those I care about.

The physical strength has come with a new awareness of my mental strength. I know I have what I need to get through any situation. I suspect I've always had the mental strength, but I didn't trust it before now. I don't always trust it now if I'm being honest but I know the strength is there when I'm done completely freaking out or feeling out of control. When the initial panic subsides I suck in a deep breath, let it out slowly, square my shoulders and get my fierce face on: I'm a warrior, I've got this.

Photo courtesy of Jenice Churchill Photography. Be Your Own Hero concept courtesy of Tyler Tinker
One more thing before I go. I set a new deadlift PR on June 14. 395 pounds! I still grin when I think about that. I tried 405 pounds first and as much as I wanted it I got the bar about a foot off the floor, but I couldn't bring it to lock out. I was bummed about that and Tyler told me to take a walk and get a drink. He removed some plates so I would only be attempting 395 while I was focusing myself. I won't say 395 was easy, it wasn't, but I got it to lock out. YES!  So now the total of all my lifts is 870 pounds (275+200+395= 870). Only 130 pounds to go before I hit 1000 pounds total.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

My Niche

Friday, June 10 marked the end of the school year for students. Teachers have one more day to go, but for all intents and purposes the school year is done. Hard to believe that this year marked my 16th year in education. Man, that is a long time. A lot longer than I thought I would stick with it to be honest. Don't get me wrong, I love what I do, but sometimes the paperwork and the demands from every direction are wearing. I want to do a good job, I intend to do a good job, but there are days I find myself perusing the help wanted ads or wondering if I can get a job at Wal-Mart.

I have an outlet for the doubt and stress. I lift. I lift barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells, heck I'll lift anything. I'm not going to lie: I love knowing I can lift more than a lot of people. More than that though I like knowing that I am good at something.

I am a person who does better when I know where I fit in. I like to know what my purpose is. Okay, if I'm being honest I don't just like knowing what my purpose is I need to know.

When I started on this fitness journey my purpose was to be in better shape, to enjoy my life and actually live it. That kept me going for a good long while. I am a people watcher though and looking around the gym I noticed people who seemed happy or comfortable doing all those things that didn't come easily or naturally to me. I decided I could fix that by spending even MORE time in the gym.

For the record more time in the gym isn't necessarily the answer. It took me a long time to finally understand that and I don't think I would have realized it or accepted it without a nagging IT band and some honesty from one of my coaches.

I'll be the first to admit that when Tyler suggested I needed to devote more time to recovery I flew completely off the handle. At the time we were communicating through messages, not in person. I am forever thankful for that because I am pretty sure I would have cried and yelled. Not that he couldn't have handled it, but I like to at least pretend I'm a calm, rational person and my reaction to his suggestion was neither calm nor rational. We finally agreed to talk at my next buddy training session and I obsessed about it until the day arrived.

I have an overwhelming fear that I will slide back to who I was before if I don't keep doing everything under the sun. Then there's that other fear that I just don't measure up and no one wants me around. By the time Thursday rolled around that week I seriously considered just backing out of training.

We talked, well mostly Tyler talked. I talked a bit at the beginning, then I listened. I told him he was right, I knew I needed balance, but I couldn't think of a workout I could give up. I felt like he'd given it some thought, that he knew I was completely freaking out and he told me that he never expected me to be the best at everything, that the workouts were designed to have something for the variety of clients he has.

We talked through all the workouts I did in one week and despite my fear that he'd want to take everything away that wasn't the case. Tyler told me that Yoga Corr was important and the Pride Fit Group Training classes were important as was buddy training. He did suggest that I take a break from Muscle Hour for a few weeks and that maybe Saturday Morning Sweat could be cut as well. It flat out scared me, but I agreed.

As much as I would like to be a person who is good at everything, even I have to admit I am not. Doing everything under the sun, going to every class Pride Fitness Performance offers wasn't going to help me capitalize on my niche.

I'm a powerlifter. I need more endurance. I definitely need to be flexible and mobile. Mostly though I want to be stronger. Deep down in my heart, I'd still like to face an American Ninja Warrior course and see what I could do, but I recognize that will likely never happen. What could happen if I am careful and smart and work hard is powerlifting in another venue, a bigger venue. Maybe even a national competition where I could see some of the greats like Kimberly Walford compete. I'm not in that league yet, I know I'm not, but it's a dream and a dream that fits in better with my niche.

I've fit into the teacher niche for 16 years now. For someone who likes to keep her life as neat and ordered as possible it has been a relief to find my niche at Pride. I'm the one who likes anything to do with deadlifts and deadlifts pretty well.

Before I end this I have a new PR (personal record) to report. In my bench press, definitely my weakest lift. At one of my last buddy training sessions with Coach Dane (my buddy and I are spending time working with Coach Tyler again now) we worked on my bench. I did 155 pounds for 3 reps, then 175 for 2 reps. I'd already set a new PR with the 175 so I was happy. Coach Dane decided to see if I had 195 in me. Turns out I did, which was a HUGE deal since I failed my bench attempt at 185 pounds in April. Then he said "I could stop there, but I'm not going to. Let's try one more." I rested for a little bit then got back under the bar. I don't think I knew it was 200 pounds before I started, but I could be wrong about that, it's been a few weeks. It was heavy, there was nothing easy about lowering that bar to my chest then pushing it back up and locking out my elbows, but I did it. I bench pressed 200 pounds.

Let me say that one more time: I. Benched. 200. Pounds.

This happened in May. If I am careful and smart and train hard and it all works as I hope it will I will bench 250 pounds in November.

So, let's see how close I am to the 1000 pound club with my new Bench PR:

Squat: 275 pounds
Bench Press: 200 pounds
Deadlift: 385 pounds
Total: 860 pounds (140 pounds to go!!)

There you have it. My latest ramble.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

309

That's a pretty big number in the title. That number represents my weight before I started this journey. When I was chosen as a Biggest Mooser finalist I was 293 pounds, but when I decided things had to change, that I had to change, I weighed 309 pounds. That's more than I can squat at the moment and a lot more than I can bench press. In fact, 309 pounds is close to 80% of my current deadlift PR of 385 pounds. My point: it's a big damn number.

I remember struggling to walk a flight of stairs. The school where I work has two floors. There are 21 stairs in the main stairwell. I know this because I used to count them as a way to distract myself from how hard it was to walk up. I remember how hard it was to fit into a seat on an airline and when I did fit how it felt to put the seatbelt on. I had to make it as big as it could get and then I had to suck my gut in and hope like hell it would buckle. It did, but it was uncomfortable. Do you have any idea how it feels to need to turn sideways to get down the aisle  on a bus or a plane or any aisle in any vehicle because your hips are too big to allow you to walk down the normal way? That is beyond uncomfortable

There wasn't much that wasn't uncomfortable at 309 pounds. About the only thing I didn't mind was being invisible.

I'm not 309 pounds anymore. For some reason I was under the impression that when I weighed less the struggle would be over. Yes, I really was naive enough to believe that if I changed my weight I wouldn't be me anymore. It's never worked for anyone else, but at some point I got it in my head that I was different and somehow I would be a completely new person when some of the weight was gone. Would you care to hazard a guess about how that has turned out?

Yeah- pretty much like you'd think. I am a different size, but I am still the woman I was before. Guess I am not that special after all.

Recently I've struggled. Struggled with feeling worthy, struggled not to attack myself for being human. I've even struggled with getting to workouts and then when there's a partial recovery week and I don't have to worry about whether or not I'll be able to talk myself into getting to my workout I feel bad. If you are getting the feeling that I can and do worry about everything in the world you're right! It's probably a good thing we practice breathing every week at Yoga Corr and the coach reminds us that our breath is the one thing we can always control. Another 4,000 repetitions of that advice and I might actually take it to heart.

I do have another point for writing this post and it isn't just whining. I don't know how many of you reading this have heard about or watched the show STRONG on NBC (Thursdays at 8 pm if you are interested). When I first heard about it I wanted to watch it because the premise was fascinating. A chance to choose a coach and work on getting fitter and stronger compete against other teams in challenges. The first couple of weeks there was a lot of drama between the teams and if it hadn't been for the challenges I don't know if I would have kept watching. The challenges have me hooked: many of them look like things that could happen at Pride and even things I could do.

On this week's episode the Gray Team left the competition. I've liked the Gray Team from the start. Jasmine seemed like a fighter and she seemed to be keeping her head down and getting it done. I respect that. While they showed Jasmine and Wes saying goodbye to the remaining three teams they cut from that to Jasmine speaking about her experience and her journey.

I don't think I have all her words exactly right, but what she said hit me. It made me sit up and take notice. All credit for the words goes to Jasmine Loveless, STRONG and NBC. All mistakes are mine:

"Part of that fight was for every single woman who has ever felt less than or made to feel like somehow she took up too much space in this world. Go ahead and take up that space. That is what it looks like when you are not afraid to take up your space and be strong and beautiful and bold and fight like hell."

What she said was interspersed with the goodbyes and scenes of Jasmine and Wes at the top of the Tower.

I'll be the first to admit I'm not entirely comfortable with who I am. I want to be true to myself. I want to be strong. I want to continue competing as a powerlifter and see how far I can go. There is still a part of me that remembers all too well being 309 pounds and wanting to be invisible. Jasmine is right though: I have a right to be here. I have a right to take up as much space as I want.

Recently I've spent a good deal of time silencing that negative voice, shushing the nasty little whispers about my worthlessness and lack of skill wishing I could be invisible if only long enough to get around the pond without everyone seeing I am dead last and the damn ducks are moving faster than me (not just when they were flying, that I expected, but when they were waddling along in front of me. Dear God, I got lapped by DUCKS).

The first time I slogged through a sad pond run I cried most of the way. I was last, everyone else was cooling down and stretching. I didn't quit, I kept going, but I fully expected I was in for it when I finally made it back.

You know what I got? Not the lecture I was sure I'd earned and the mean voice in my head assured me I deserved. What I got was a smile, a fist bump and someone whose opinion matters a whole lot to me telling me I'd done a good job fighting and finishing. How did I feel? Like a HUGE pile of SUCK. I checked in with another person whose opinion matters to me and he reminded me I'm a powerlifter and I shouldn't let things like that discourage me.

So to make this long story a little shorter: there's still work to be done on this journey. More pounds to drop, more muscle to build and absolutely more work to do on the inside. The mean, nasty voice isn't as loud as it once was, but it is there waiting for the chance to pipe up.

I won't quit: I have every right to take up my space, to be strong, to be bold and to fight. I have a right to train with the coaches I work with now. I am worth their time and their talent. I have a right to take in everything they are trying to teach me and apply it to become a better, stronger version of me. The weight may have changed, but the person I have always been is still the same.

I might not always be comfortable, but I'm not turning back now.

Thanks for reading.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Feeling Proud

Just so you’re warned before you start reading this post I am about to climb up on my soapbox and rant. I will try to keep the ranting to a minimum, but I can’t make any promises. I am generally a quiet observant person. I would rather listen than talk and I would certainly rather cheer than perform. This does not mean that nothing bothers me or gets to me. My family and friends can attest to my ability to fly off the handle at the drop of a hat.

My point is: it takes a great deal for me to overcome my natural impulse to fly under the radar and be invisible. I push myself outside that comfortable realm as often as I can mostly because leaving my comfort zone scares me and I don’t like to be scared.

I’ve discovered an activity that plays on my strengths and also scares me witless. Come on; guess what it is…you know you want to. I’ll give you three guesses and I bet you get it on the first try. YES! Powerlifting. Hey, no eye rolls, you had a chance to walk away before now. I warned you.

Squatting, benching and deadlifting at the gym don’t scare me much. Sometimes I look at the weight on the bar I’m about to pull, press or squat and think “Yep, my coach is trying to kill me” before I get to work, but I do it. If I need to I step away from the bar, refocus, regroup then come back to it, but I don’t feel nauseated. A powerlifting meet is a completely different experience.

Okay, one last chance…the rant is about to begin. This one has been bubbling up inside for some time now so walking away might be wise.

Tuesday night after Yoga Corr I went into the Weight Cave and took a picture. Nothing earth shaking there, nothing that should have provoked tears, but it did. The picture is of the two trophies I have earned in my two powerlifting meets. As I took the picture I thought about it and found myself saying inside my head “They’re both first place trophies, but I was the only woman in my age bracket, so that’s why.”  In fact, when I talk about the meets, just about every time I say I took first place I have to add the caveat “I was the only woman in my age bracket”. I can’t just leave it at I took first place. Why??

Does my accomplishment mean less because I was the only woman competing between the ages of 45 and 49? That seems to be my take on it, that a total weight of 793.66 pounds is less impressive because I was the only woman in my age bracket. That’s pretty damn sad, because if one of my friends did that I would be whooping, hooting and hollering like a fool in support of them. I support my friends, but I won’t support myself. I make stabs at it, I will say I am proud of myself, I might even mean it, but I am very quick to point out what needs work.

Take my check in after Muscle Hour last night: 
Muscle Hour at my happy place. Back Squats tonight. I set a new PR of 275 pounds (300 pounds is within reach). Feeling pretty darn proud, but there's plenty of work still to do on my pull ups, hand stands and Bulgarian split squats.

Would it really have killed me to end the post after “I set a new PR…”? Apparently. Not that my pull ups, hand stands and split squats don’t need work, but couldn’t I have taken one second to just be happy with what I did? Even during the class when I went to find Coach Tyler so I could tell him I’d PR’ed my squat I felt like I was shamelessly begging for attention, that I was doing it only to get a fist bump. What gives?

I know I am not the only woman (or the only person) who has difficulty feeling proud of myself. When I do feel proud it feels like I’m begging for attention and I should just stay quiet. Who cares about a total weight of 793.66 pounds, it’s not that important. It’s not that impressive. Except that it IS important to me and it IS impressive.

Why does it feel so awful and so wrong to talk about what I’ve accomplished? Why is it easier to point out faults or what I still need to work on instead of just stating what I did do? Why did taking a picture of 2 trophies I worked hard for feel like the most self-centered, egotistical, morally wrong thing I’ve ever done?  Just how crazy am I?

I’m not touching that last question with a ten-foot pole. There’s a whole lot of crazy between my ears and there is no sense in beating that topic to death yet again. So I’m going to try to tackle the other questions. Notice I didn’t say I am going to answer them, nor did I say I was going to find solutions. As with most of this journey, I’m quite sure the solution is going to be an on-going battle.

1. I don’t feel worthy. There, I said it. It’s out there. I’ve grown. I’ve changed. I’ve finally realized it’s okay to be me, but I still struggle with feeling worthy. It really does feel that I shouldn’t talk about my accomplishments because they aren’t that important or valuable. I should celebrate my friends and their victories and successes, but I need to stay in the background.

2. I don’t want to sound like a jerk. No one has accused me of this, well not in regards to speaking about my accomplishments, but I still worry. I do not want to be one of those people who have to follow up anything you say with a story of what has happened to them.

3. Size does matter. In my heart it does anyhow. My head knows that my worth is not measured by my size, weight according to the scale or my body fat percentage, but my heart won’t believe that message. It still clings to the idea that if I get to a certain size and weight I will magically be a better person. I am quite sure that no matter my size or weight I will be the same person I am right now.

So maybe I’ve figured out I do deserve good things. I understand I am not wasting my coaches’ time by walking through the doors at Pride as much as possible. I am almost okay with my friends celebrating with me and congratulating me on my accomplishments. As much as I want to be “there” (that wonderful, mythical place where all this makes sense, I feel good about who I am all the time and I stop whining on and on like a broken record) I’m not yet. I’m closer to that person than I used to be, but I’m still not done.

I made it to the party, now I need to let myself enjoy it and accept that it is okay. The world won’t end if I look at my trophies and smile or post that I hit a new PR and leave out what I still need work on.

Rant over. You survived. I’ll put my soapbox away now. I'll leave you with the picture that sparked this whole rant.


Thank you for reading.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

I am

I don't know what's up with me lately.

I am the first person to admit I am competitive, even when I shouldn't be. I'm not the best or the fastest, but something in me wants to win. Maybe it's a leftover from the little girl who wanted to be noticed and praised. Even when there is next to no chance I'm going to be able to accomplish what I've set out to do I don't want to admit it.

Except lately I am admitting it. Maybe that makes you think I'm a quitter. I've pondered whether or not I'm a quitter a lot lately. The jury is still out on that point, but I have come to an understanding about who I am recently.


1. I am enough. There, I said it. I feel like the biggest ego-maniac on the face of the Earth right now, but it needed to be said. I've spent a long time fighting myself, trying to make myself fit into what everyone seemed to think I was. Or at least what I thought they wanted me to be. I'm coming to realize that anyone who expects me to be someone other than who I am does not need a place in my life.


2. I am evolving. Sometimes I feel like I have multiple personalities. I want to be the strongest, I want to be a ninja, I want to be mobile, flexible and agile. I'm pretty sure I can't be ALL of those things. I want all those things though. I feel like I wasted 42 years of my life fighting my body, trying to starve myself to be thin, then giving up and eating everything in sight to pack on as many pounds as possible so I could be invisible. I'm not thin nor am I invisible. I still miss feeling invisible at times.


3. I am strong. I am NOT the strongest, not by a long shot and that truly is okay. I didn't think it would be and when I couldn't pull 650 pounds at the Pride Games I was not happy. I was completely pissed off in fact. I felt my body betrayed me, but in reality I betrayed my body. I didn't take any time off to regroup after my powerlifting meet (one week prior to the Pride Games). In fact I worked out the night before the Pride Games. Next time there will be recovery time, I learned my lesson. My mind wants to think I'm invincible, my body knows better.

I am mentally strong too. I am learning that not doing what I set out to do isn't the end of the world and doesn't mean I should lash out at myself with every negative thought and word I can come up with. Sometimes I cringe when I hear how I talk to myself. I would NEVER tell a friend, or member of the Pride that they sucked or were wasting everyone's time, but I frequently tell myself that. It's just not okay.


4. I deserve praise. What's not to love about a fist bump, high five or a hug? You know what: I DESERVE those things. After my last meet I got a text from one of my coaches telling me I did an awesome job and he was proud of me. I think I grinned for hours, possibly days after that. I am trying hard now to just say thank you when someone praises or compliments me. I might think of all the things I could improve, but I keep those to myself. I don't have any right to tell someone their opinion is wrong, I'm trying to remember that.


5. I can't do it all and that is okay. I have finally figured out there are things I do well and enjoy and those are the things I should do more of. I love to deadlift and squat. I am learning to love to bench press. I am fascinated by powerlifting. I might never be a runner or a ninja, but I'm learning to accept that. It doesn't mean I won't work on those skills, I will. The fact is no one is asking me to be a cookie cutter client. I might be lapped by turtles when I run around the pond, but I hold my own deadlifting and squatting. As long as I do the best I can do that's all anyone can ask.


I've had a lot of different dreams over the course of this journey. Currently my dream is to go to a national powerlifting competition. That probably means finding another powerlifting federation and that idea makes my stomach twist into knots right now. The idea scares me: I like Vermont Powerlifting and the All Raw federation. Right now I am biding my time and continuing my training, hoping that neither coach is going to want to talk to me about another meet before the next Vermont Powerlifting meet in November. If they do though I will listen. Neither one of them wants to see me hurt or humiliated, that much I do trust 100%. If the conversation comes up, it because they think it is time and that I am ready. Just keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn't happen any time soon. Let's be honest: my fears won't stop me, but they give me pause.


6. I am NOT a quitter. I wanted to be at buddy training. I was looking at my fourth rope climb, in fact I was on the knotted rope, trying to get my feet to the second knot. I couldn't do it and my grip gave. Dane could have told me to get my ass back on that rope and climb the damn thing, but he didn't. He told me to regroup and go again. I didn't know if I had that last climb in me: my arms were tired, but my coach believed I could do it. I did indeed do it and when I smacked the cowbell it was a huge relief. Before that I wanted to quit squatting to the box with 195 pounds, but I didn't. I will admit it felt like that box got lower every rep, but after failing my second attempt at squatting on April 2, I will do EVERYTHING in my power to be sure I squat to at least parallel every damn time I squat.


So there you have it...another stream of consciousness post. I am me: the biggest bundle or nerves, fears, strengths and insecurities you are likely to meet.

Thank you so much for reading.



No quit here. I was pretty sure this row was going to do me in,
but I did my 500m and then a 50m prowler push