Here I go blending literature. Hamlet and Alice in Wonderland.Well, damn. I guess I like variety.
When I find myself needing to find myself, I start something new. I find a challenge to see what else I can prove. It’s not necessarily to prove something to the world, but I guess to prove to myself something can be accomplished. Something great, even when I feel ordinary.
I started my weightloss journey when I felt that I wasn’t in control of what was happening around me. I’ve said this before. A break up, a family member diagnosed with cancer, searching for a job in my field, applying and getting into graduate school, finding a job in my field, that family member dying from cancer after barely being diagnosed, moving for that job in my field and starting graduate school. All within a year, with the majority happening in four months. That’s overwhelming. And while yes, I made the decision to apply to graduate school and yes, I made the decision to apply to a job out state – I couldn’t control if I was going to be accepted into the program or offered a job.
I started running when I felt that I needed to be pushed. I felt moving forward and pushing my legs to their limit was what I needed at the time. I’ve only run a handful of structured races and they aren’t far distances by any means, but that wasn’t goal either. Symbolically running away from something and running towards something new. In reality, trying to see how long I would be able to let my legs go for before I felt they would give out.
I started competing when I felt wasn’t challenging myself in my gym routine. I had started with some gym classes and zumba – I loved dancing and that’s pretty close. I added in pilates every now and then, I added in running, but something was missing. At the time I had been trying my hand at online dating. You can’t even judge someone for saying that now because I feel like so many people connect that way, whether it’s a structure platform made for online dating or through social media. In my case, like many others, I found a lot of assholes, self-absorbed (more than me), ignorant, uneducated children. I can’t even call them men.
I started competing and decided to shift focus. I had seen these strong women online -yep, that’s where I saw them, on Instagram. I thought how cool is it to see these women appearing strong, being strong and breaking every myth I had ever known about weightlifting. I figured, if they could do it, why can’t I.
I went to work and to the gym and to work and to the gym and ate and went to bed. I stopped trying to find a partner in crime and looked for myself all over again. Thinking back, I can’t tell you what I expected to find in myself, but I know that most days I was impressed by what I was accomplishing, by what I was reading and by what I was allowing myself to do.
That was the biggest piece of it. Don’t hold back. Keep charging forward. Don’t let anyone tell you no.
This past fall when I shifted focus again on finding my zero – finding my balance. I shifted a lot of things – I lifted heavier and tried to be more mindful with my eating rather than tracking strategically. I said it before, I found myself in lattes at new coffee houses and homemade sugar cookies. I found myself playing more card games than I can count. I found myself on the kitchen floor because sometimes when you’re down, you’re down. I found myself in other people. I found myself in their smiles and their stories. It allowed me to feel connected to the world, something I felt I hadn’t been doing in a while. This fall was 100% different than when I started competing.
In the summer of 2014, I found strength in myself that I didn’t know I had. I found excitement in a world that I had feared so much for longer than I should’ve because I feared the unknown. I found myself in the kitchen. I had a cleaner focus on macro counting because I believed at the time that’s what I needed. I later learned I was wrong, but I learned new recipes, I tried new foods, I became more adventurous. I found myself by cutting things out of my life that we’re holding me back. It’s like pruning a tree. You need to cut off the dead branches for it continue to grow and eventually blossom. Cheesy right? Well, you should kind of know me by now.
One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Chesire cat in a tree. ‘Which road do I take? she asked. ‘Where do you want to go?’ was his response. ‘I don’t know.’ Alice answered. ‘Then,’ said the cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.’ – Lewis Carroll.
This. This is how I approach finding myself. This is how I approach trying something new. I can’t completely foresee the path that lies ahead, but I can see a few steps and in the moment that matters. I just don’t want to trip.
I couldn’t foresee meeting John Paul or JP or Babe or hey you at the very end of my first competition season. But I believe that when I trimmed back and went soul searching, the magic happened, I believe the magic always happens in that moment. JP is magic. He was what I didn’t know I deserved or needed or wanted.
He has shown me that love can look different every day. You love yourself and others in so many ways and it’s okay to change how you do that. He supports my crazy decisions and I think gives me more than I deserve, even though he says it’s just enough.
I said a few weeks ago that this is my last season. I said that I can’t wait for the future. I don’t know what my health or fitness goals are, but I know that I don’t need to find myself anymore. That was the realization I had this week. I can’t wait to see what I have left in me, but I know that I don’t feel that I need this sport like I used. The gym is always there. I can lift however I want to, whenever I want to. I don’t need to be structured thoroughly and I don’t need to be defined anymore. I was doing it to myself because I still felt lost.
But I think when I finally gave myself a break this fall, I truly found myself. I found out that I wanted to go back to school, but I needed to bite the bullet and do it. I found out that I actually did want to help people, that while my journey is 100% about me and has selfish moments, I do overall want to make others think differently about themselves, their journey’s and how they move forward.
I went into this season with fire in my heart and a goal in my head. Goals change and that’s exciting and scary. I’m navigating it with a different purpose. I thought I needed to keep soul searching and I admit, I was wrong.
I don’t feel like Alice alone in the woods or tumbling down a rabbit hole like I once did. I feel like I can love louder now. I feel like I can put passion and energy back into the world because I let myself stumble around.
A piece of my heart hopes that others will allow themselves to get a little lost so they can found.
“Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.” – Alice in Wonderland