45 minutes for 45 days Challenge: Part 2

 

27. First, I failed at this challenge. I was on a roll and then I had a particularly busy week, which included the chance to tell a story on stage at Keep Talking CLE. I had a few other big events that week and I told myself I could skip a day and I would make it up by doing a double. But I told myself that a few times and then just stopped. And I fell out of the habit. As I’m writing this, I feel shame. I also stopped writing for more than a month. While the Keep Talking event made me feel amazing, gave me a high, I failed to keep the momentum going from that. I went through a few terrible weeks of deep depression after the event. I’m embarrassed. And I have been the last month, which did not help me get back on track. But all I can do is forgive myself and move on.

28. Maybe I did not accomplish the challenge I set out to do. And I did not write anything for more than a month. But I did submit my final research paper for graduate school, roughly 20 pages. And I traveled to California and Hawaii. I read good books. I stayed late at the bar with friends, having memorable, hilarious nights. And the beauty of this all is that I get to try again. Not achieving my goal does not define me and does not limit me from further pursuits. But I had to let go of my shame and forgive myself. I also need to revel in all that I learned so far

29. Working out should be just as much about (re)connecting with your body as it about calories, muscles, heart rate. I took a dance class this weekend, a sensual dance class at Pure Mvmnt. “Pure Mvmnt is a female empowerment studio that uses movement and mindfulness to help build self-esteem and self-love. Our classes uniquely blend personal development with fitness.” The whole class was about feeling sexy, confident, and strong – for myself. And it wasn’t one of those classes that try to sneak in intense fitness with surprise attacks of core work or burpees. It was purely about me connecting with my body. The teacher, Nikki, encouraged us to touch ourselves the whole time, i.e hips, breasts, our hair. It was such an empowering experience. The best part? I realized that I had been doing all of the moves in the privacy of my own home for years now.

30. I was fortunate enough to get to take a class with Diana Vitantonio this weekend. Diana changed my life when I first encountered her class back in the summer of 2016. She’s since moved to California and I’ve missed her ever since. Sunday’s class was hard af. Diana said something during class that really struck me: “Stop feeling sorry for yourself”. I love to throw myself a pity party in a workout class, when I’m feeling weak, which I do for about 80% of the class. I can’t do all of the chatarungas in a yoga class. I never go as fast as anyone else in spin. I feel the weakest in barre because I can’t do most of the class. Every single time I’m feeling weak, I feel sorry for myself. That’s fucked

31. Just because something is hard, doesn’t mean I can’t do it.

32. If I inhale twice as long as I exhale it usually gives me the oxygen that my body is missing. Usually when my mind says, “I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE”, it’s just my body craving oxygen. It helps if I repeat “just because its hard doesn’t mean I can’t do it”. Then I find a spot to focus on (drishti), which almost always gets me through the challenge.

33. I had always thought if something was hard it meant pain. Feeling pain is literally our brains telling us to stop. I understood grit and dedication, but I did not understand the difference between challenging and pain. What if what I was feeling when working out wasn’t pain, but it was a challenge? When I felt a challenge, I thought it was pain, which I thought was like touching a hot stove: if it hurt you, you should get your hand off the stove as quick as fucking possible and never touch the stove again.

34. It hurts because I’m changing. When it hurts, that’s when the change that I’m looking for comes.

35. I am worth it. I’ve heard this from every good instructor I’ve ever had. I am worth spending time on my body and mind. I am worth improving my health. I am a phenomenal woman, and I deserve a healthy body.

36. I don’t do things I don’t want to do anymore. After my first Orange Theory class, I left high. I thought I was hooked. I thought if I got an unlimited membership, I’d go all the time. After a couple of sessions, it was boring to me. Albeit still very challenging. I didn’t really enjoy going anymore but I told myself I had to keep my membership because it was the best workout and the only way to get as skinny as I was in high school. Of course, I stopped showing up and I can change my body if I show up. I’ll only show up if I truly enjoy the movement.

37. I’m tired all the time. I think its left over from my flu or this new medicine I’m on. Working out gives me energy. But only when I really work out. I’m happiest after a workout when I sweat. Like soaking. When I get to that point, I can improve my mood and increase my energy.

38. I hate showering right after a workout. Sometimes I’m gross and wait a few hours.

39. Exercise is important when you have anxiety and depression.

40. Working out. Sweating. Whatever you call it. Isn’t a punishment. I blame the American youth sports culture for this. Growing up, working out was a punishment. The worse I played at tennis practice, the more suicides I would have to run. When my cheerleading team got in trouble, we would have to run laps. But fitness isn’t a punishment. It’s a gift to myself. Not only am I making my body stronger, healthier. I’m carving out time in my day just for myself. I don’t have to do anything for anyone else for 45 minutes. I don’t even have to work out a certain way or live up to my teacher’s expectations of form. I am there for me and I’m just trying to sweat and have fun.

41. A year or two ago at spin class, I was pushing my body. And asking it to go harder. And I was mad at my body for not being able to perform at the seemingly level of everyone around me. And I started crying. I cried because it was so hard. The class. The cycling. There was so much pain. I cried even harder because I was mad at myself for how I treated my body. I cried harder for all the bullshit I had to deal with the year prior; for the emotional abuse I endured at my last job. The shitty men I’ve dated. The fact that my last two living uncles died in the span of four days of one another. I was mad at the world that had tried to beat me down for 27 years. So I cried.

42. I cried the hardest because I was proud of myself. For surviving and thriving. For leaving that job, when I didn’t have anything lined up. For believing in myself enough to know that I deserved more and could get it. I was so proud of myself for getting through all that shit. I was proud of myself for getting there to that class that day. For pushing through. I didn’t want to go that day. But I got there. And I was kicking ass and crying. At the same time. And it all just came out like a purge. The room was dark and shielded anyone from seeing. I cried. I sobbed. I kept cycling.

43. I have been mean to my body. I’ve talked so much shit about my body. Fuck. I can’t believe how mean I am to it. I pump it full of fast food and cigarettes and alcohol, and deprive myself of sleep and peace. And then I tell everyone how disgusting my body is. But now I know that I can still work on my body and believe it’s perfect at the same time.

44. My body is amazing and strong. My body is beautiful. It is Rubenesque. It is big and sexy. I take up space. I fill out dresses; my hips, stomach, legs, and breasts form beautiful, supple curves. My stomach has cellulite and stretch marks from gaining weight rapidly. My belly is full from eating and drinking and having too much fun. I am sexy and I am strong.

45. To my body: I am sorry that I’ve been so mean to you. More than that, I’m sorry that this won’t be the last time I’ll say sorry. I don’t know if I’ll ever truly accept you. I say I do. Sometimes I think I fully accept you. But I haven’t gotten there yet. I’m so sorry that I’ll probably be mean to you again. When I do, please forgive me. I’m not perfect. But I’m working on it.