I woke up at 445 like I always do and for the first time I didn’t have any notifications on my phone, I didn’t feel the need to go through comments and decide if I needed to respond, delete or block anyone. I went to the bathroom, looked at my bin of shirts and got ready to go to the gym. I posted on Facebook a picture of the moon still high in the sky and arrived a few minutes after the opener.
I hit a PR for my bench, only 55 pounds, but I did this for all 3 sets and I kept my elbows tucked in – mostly. The cross trainer has become the third love of my life, since my second (stair stepper) has died and I don’t like running (my first love) on HIIT days.
I didn’t take a photo of my breakfast. I made it. Drenched it in syrup and berries and ate it.
Then I checked my emails.
I love working out. I love running and lifting. Maybe not always equally, but I love both – so I do both. I started this journey for me. For the first time in my life, I decided to do something because I wanted to. I wanted to get healthy. I wasn’t doing it for the approval of someone else, which honestly, is what all of my master’s was about. Yes, it helped project my career, but it was about some kind of approval. I received a 3.978 in my master’s and never got the approval I was looking for, but at least I have a career that is open for growth and opportunity, I also have a pretty piece of paper saying I did something.
Blogging is my outlet. I get thoughts of posts in the shower, during my lifts, when I’m at the store. I start to form sentences and paragraphs in my head, but ultimately when I sit down at the computer the words flow and I feel like I have the potential to be heard.
When I created my blog, my Instagram was 100% separate. It was about my life. Maybe I saw a very cool flower on a walk or I was going out with friends. There are definitely a lot more face-only selfies that populate in my Time Hop than I would like to admit, but that’s how my time on social media started – 100% about me. It also just happened that as fitness became a larger part of my life things that were important to me changed. I wasn’t interested in sharing the large bag of chips I was eating, I wanted to share side by side comparisons of how I physically changed. So two years ago, when I first started bodybuilding, I changed my handle to match my blog. It made sense and still makes sense.
I started competing and lifting because it gave me a new way to explore my limits. I know I’m smart. That sounds cocky, but academically, I do well. I have street smarts too. I am fearless when it comes to being lost in a city. Before I would ask someone who looked friendly for directions, but now I just pull up Google Maps on my phone. I don’t have an issue problem solving. But lifting and working out is something that I hadn’t tried before and I felt and still feel I can improve on. There are a ton of techniques just for squatting. There is always the possibility of lifting more weight. Essentially goal setting is endless.
Since moving to Massachusetts over four years ago, I have struggled to find in person friends. I moved for my career, I didn’t go to college here. I’m also usually the youngest in the office by at least a decade. My last job had a few young people and aside from one woman, who has since moved out of state, I didn’t have the same priorities as the others. In my current role, there’s a woman a few years older than me and we can talk about lifting and food and PRs, but she’s married and has two children. It’s still a different dynamic, it’s a different kind of life. Going to work and home was okay while I was getting my master’s, but once I completed my program in the fall of 2013, it made sense to put more focus on my health. I could do this without friends. It’s an individualized hobby that you can still find support for, similar to bodybuilding and competing – it’s a subjective sport and it’s 100% individual, but you can connect to others going through similar things.
The past few week’s I’ve talked about how comments have impacted me. How sometimes I feel terrible that I can’t help others with their questions or their journey’s in a way they are seeking. I have also found myself starting to compare myself to others. That’s what happened yesterday morning. I found myself upset about someone else, and that’s bullshit. In reality I don’t give a shit or at least shouldn’t about someone’s journey. I am me and they are them.
I was thin and a dancer and a cheerleader, then I was fat and obese and lost, now I’m fit and strong and have a scar that shows the hard work I’ve put in. It took me 52 months to lose the weight before I had surgery for the loose skin in my midsection. My journey is very different than many. I am more open than most. I also feel like if I’m not, then I have potential to start lying to myself – that’s not something I’m interested in.
I started feeling like my journey wasn’t about me. I do love connecting with everyone online, like I said in person friends are hard to make as an adult, but I don’t think people realize how tiring it is answering questions – especially the same ones over and over, as well as having so many things questioned. Yes, I know I’m putting my life out there, but as more of you have connected and started following my journey I have found myself needing to be more defensive because people feel like they can be assholes to large accounts. Hey guys, still a person here. I started to feel like my journey was more about helping others than helping myself, and yes, I’m glad I inspire you, but no, that is not my purpose. I need accountability too. I need to find others that love fitness like I do because I know those friends I do have in person don’t always get it. I started to feel like I was being judged for just being me.
I am loud when you get to know me, I can drink my body weight in bourbon, I laugh loudly and snort if laughing too hard. I eat crazy combinations because when I was a kid there wasn’t always food on the table. I eat pancakes every Monday now because for years I wouldn’t eat them because some nights as a kid that’s all there was for dinner. I love sprinkles because we never had them growing up. I wear bright colors and crazy socks because for too long I hid behind black and navy and bagging sweatpants.
This week, I am taking a break from Instagram because as a friend told me, she was getting tired for me. Yesterday I went on a brewery tour and paired my chocolate chip cookie dough Oreos with a ridiculously amazing and dark stout. Tonight, I’m taking myself to the movies and Bella is coming along – she really wants to know if we will find Dory. I am planning an adventure for myself for every night this week because I want to get back to my roots. I want to get back to myself. I’m reminding myself why I love the city I live in and why I love lifting and working out. This week is 100% about me. I’ll be blogging and I’ll be loosely posting on Facebook, but for the next 5 days (counting today) I’m going to focus on me.
I know for some of you this is surprising and you keep asking what’s wrong, but maybe that’s just a sign that we all need a break from routine sometimes – and I fucking love routine.
So I’ll see you Saturday for my check-in. Prep starts on Sunday.