Right where I need to be

Blogging. It seems the process takes on life of its own. There is so much to write about, yet so little of any substance. Or so goes my judgment and justification for why I’m not getting more posts written and published.

I have been pondering blogging a fair amount in the month of September. Not in terms of ceasing to blog, or chastising myself for not posting more frequently. No, this was more an observation of the ebb and flow of life. Work of late has been picking up – new clients, new projects, new chunks of time that might have been utilized writing being devoted to income generating projects instead. Or being sick. Or sleeping. Or any number of other tasks and priorities.

Each of us have our own individual reasons for writing and publishing about our lives, ideas, thoughts in a public forum. For me there is a catharsis and empowerment in blogging. No doubt in my mind that it has been a contributing factor in my evolving confidence and maturity to date.

An old friend emailed me last week an apology of sorts. This friend was extremely judgmental about my better health quest when I first began, asking intrusive questions about my weight loss and making derisive statements about the size of my upper arms. It was hurtful, yet the pattern of our lives that I would mildly object, tell her to knock it off, have a minor disagreement that would blow over. Lather, rinse, repeat over various topics through the years. The last time, though, I was working hard at my exercise, getting on and then staying on the consistency training plan. Her words offended me, triggered feel badly about me emotions, and I suddenly woke up and realized I do not need any help with my own negative self-image. It was terrifying to end a multi-decade long friendship, but I had to protect myself. TM (my long-time, long-suffering therapist) helped me through the logistical details, and it was a Very Big Deal for me to tell her that I needed to distance myself from her and her attitude and we should no longer communicate. She did not take it well, and it was like high school all over again with her “poor me” crying among our mutual friends. I was not being mean. Taking care of myself to the best of my ability is a unique job and primarily, ultimately my primary responsibility to myself.

It cost me a lot in terms of friendship and social interactions. While hard initially, I also understand people and that our individual needs do change along with the circumstances of our lives. But when I look back and examine the wins and losses, I see it merely as trimming of deadwood from my life. There are folks I kind of miss at certain times of year, yet I can also see there is nothing to apologize for in my behavior toward them. I did not say “you’re a horrid person and need to be banned.” Nope. Not my style. I was clear and direct: “You do not respect me or my choices. I think our friendship has run its course. I wish you well.” Or something equally benign.

She thought that was harsh. She felt I was being mean, yet telling me to fire my trainer because I was not losing weight under his tutelage was not out of line. Either way, we parted way, and in the last 2 years when our paths have crossed I was banished to her vision of freezing Hell. Oh well; I am apparently immune to social frostbite. It divided our friends, many on the other side of the line with her. The few I do still communicate with are honest about how difficult and uncomfortable it can be to be around someone as serious as I have become about overhauling my diet and my exercise habits; it points out to them the flaws in their own lifestyle choices. I understand that, and no, while in my own blogs I may have the zeal of the born again, I do not routinely flaunt it or criticize their own choices that differ from my own. However, my already thin patience for the whining and excuses is also lessened as well. All I ask, and sometimes it is too much, apparently – be responsible and own your choices; stop making or seeking sympathy and understanding when you continually make excuses your own inaction.

So I do work on that.

I want everyone to be happy, and I am sympathetic when life does not work out as we hope and desire. However, if you are repeatedly self-sabotaging and shooting yourself in the foot, common sense says put down the loaded gun or at very least remove the bullets before pulling the trigger. Yep, folks who do get irritated with me for my practicality admit that it is primarily because I am disrupting their pity party with reality. They still like me enough to forgive me for being a voice of reason.

So the email from my original frenemy was a bit of a surprise. The way it was worded, the way it sought to “share” responsibility for our falling out (yet still refused to accept her role in it), I had zero inclination to respond in anything akin to a positive way. There is enough of a legacy codependent within me that felt poorly about that choice, so I reached out to TM for help and support that I was doing the right thing by deflecting her outreach.

In the meantime, there was some additional information from other mutual friends. Frenemy has uterine cancer and is facing surgery and other cancer treatment. I am sympathetic, yet I feel little inclination to reach out and be part of the support team for her. Part of my lifelong habit is to feel guilty for my lacking more generosity toward her. But I got my own stuff brewing and whatever caring energy I have available needs to be directed toward me right now.

And I have no reason to feel guilty about taking care of myself. I have learned through the years that putting my oxygen mask on first is always far more beneficial than trying to take care of others while I am wounded and in need of care myself.

The timing of this could not have been worse, yet I wonder – is there ever a perfect time to have someone you have known most of your life be diagnosed with serious illness? Or is there ever a good time to realize you’ve been kind of a fuck up – are are so ridiculously fucked up overall – in allowing someone to treat you poorly and then return with whatever expectation that their illness is going to matter so much that you stop dead in your tracks and abandon all sorts of leaps and bounds forward?

I am in an emotionally weakened state right now and rebuilding my defenses and acceptance skills. Sometimes picking at the childhood wounds causes fresh pain and unexpected bleeding that cannot be staunched with the first aid skills I have adopted through the years. Good thing my village of experts includes a mental health specialist who seems to have infinite patience waiting for my next breakdown.

After an hour together yesterday and half a box of kleenex, I am still muddled yet so determined to be stronger and not let my past interfere anymore with my forward moving present. I hate hating to deal with this old shit, because it pierces the facade that I am so boringly average. And I get up, go to the gym, move whatever weightier weights I can to and fro. It’s good for body, but it is soothing balm to my soul.

Good, bad, ugly – life is messy. It takes some time to learn the necessary skills and gain the experience to put it all in order. I need teachers and guides. I’m grateful that I have grown up enough to know how to seek out help.

At the end of it all, it simply reminds me: I am right where I need to be. And it is going to be okay.

Training #49 – Born to fly

Monday morning and training with J, always a good start to my week. He had mentioned to he last Thursday that there would be some new stuff today, so I was expecting a new List with perhaps some new or different ways of doing things. As usual, I was not disappointed.

From today’s List:

  • Alt Seated Side Laterals
  • T-stab (arm rotation) Push Ups (slight bend)
  • TRX Y
  • Front Alt Raise w/ Side Step (raise and step same side)
  • 1-arm Lying Chest Press from Stability Ball
  • Band Leaning Pull Ins (high anchor split stance)
  • 1-arm DB OH Press (split stance press=lead)
  • Bird Dog Holds
  • Band Chest Flyes
  • Good Mornings (bar across back/hip hinge)
  • Any Push Ups (used TRX)
  • Advanced Plank Holds (pushup position, 1 leg raised)

There is yet another block to this List, but we did not get to it today. I can wait. I have plenty to ponder and obsess about until we get around to it. This was indeed a new learning day. Some of the movements were familiar and from other Lists, but there was enough new or variation layered in that I classify this as a teaching session.

I cannot tell how long it has been since something brand new has entered into the List fold to warrant the teaching session label, but it certainly feels like a long while. And I feel like a new and different trainee in my reaction and responses to the new stuff.

In the plot of space inside my head where negative girl dwells locked away in her cage, I let myself stop and listen closely and strain to hear the faint bleating of a how I completely, totally sucked at the new and returning after extended absence items on my list. The tone is familiar – a notes of shame and humiliation in the tone and subtext of her words, the despair and absence of hope for improvement, the directives to quit now while it is only this embarrassing and this humiliating to be this bad at exercise.  I listened very closely. I heard the words, the tones, the disgust in her voice.

And I wonder who that is that still locked up inside my mind? I remember the days when this was the endless feedback loop after every training and most of my initial attempts to replicate what J was trying to teach. But she seems like someone else, someone I know or knew yet consciously choose not to associate with, because she brings me down and makes me feel crappy (rather than happy) about myself and all my efforts in the exercise realm. Negative girl undermines and compromises my willingness to put myself out there and try new stuff. Try to practice. Try to get it. Try to improve. And I cannot have that, not anymore.

There were new challenges today, and I certainly do not feel like a failure. I am not ashamed for not being instantly successful with new things. There is no humiliation, disgust, despair, or embarrassment running through my thoughts or impacting my performance and ridiculously cheerful mood. If J was thinking or feeling anything of the sort he is always far too professional to display it.

The only thing I find humiliating or shameful is that I might regress backward and become too fearful to try. I have enjoyed significant success and felt my confidence soar to new heights beyond the clouds of my limited imaginings. I still have my nemesis stable of exercises; I also have my arch nemesis. But I work at them every week, and sometimes if they really bug me I try to perform at least a single rep successfully every single day (which in reality could consist of multiple unsuccessful attempts first) before leaving the gym.

And in line with that, truly the only thing remotely similar to failure or regret that I feel – I wish I had tried harder to hang with the last planks. And even that, I can categorize it as vague disappointment, learning about limits and what I am truly capable of doing, how hard I can or should push myself. Fatigue is an interesting thing, particularly with the upper body work. My brain thinks everything is fine, but my arm reaches a point where it says “no more!” My arms and shoulders were so tired, but maybe if I had not given in to the fatigue I would have come away feeling even more awesome and powerful and a flourishing student in Wonder Woman school. Or maybe my shoulders and upper arms would ache even more. Legs do it as well, but I always seem to reach my rep count before fatigue settles in completely.

As I grow more competent I find the struggle to identify what is real fatigue versus me not wanting to go further remains. I still judge myself pretty harshly in this regard. And if that is truly as bad as I get with shredding myself, I am doing fine. At least I was not sprawled out on the mat and refusing to get up, period. In the back of my mind that always seems like really great idea and therefore within the realm of possibility. The spoiled princess dwelling within me is pretty well contained most of the time, thankfully.

Perhaps my type B+ personality is more on display, but if I were capable of mastering brand new stuff immediately out of the box I would probably not be training with J twice weekly for months now. Examining my thoughts and emotions about this morning, I would say I am mostly curious, intrigued, and unwilling (versus unable – big difference in my mind) to push forward on newest new things on my own right now. It’s not my old version of crazy brain fear or anxiety that holds me back; it is a lack of depth in understanding how to be effective in the individual exercise. My current biggest fear in the gym is an injury that makes me have to stop my practice and training. I feel particularly vulnerable to it when I have failed to pay close enough attention to or acquire appropriate knowledge of potential consequences. Without that, I cannot diagnose for myself where I am faltering going through the steps of the new movements. Fortunately I have become quite comfortable with throwing myself on the mercy of J’s expertise rather than bumbling along on my own and staying ignorant and not getting it, potentially harming myself or others in my path.

Funny thing about the chest press from the stability ball. When I got home and was providing M the readers’ digest version of my session, the first thing he said was “J knows you refer to it as the instability ball for a reason and was not surprised when you fell off it?” No question in his mind that I did, in fact fall off it. But only once! J then corrected me on holding the 20 lb. dumbbell while setting up, and by the second set I was doing better with it. This is not one of those things I lack understanding about, because M and I have had one of these balls at home for years and years and I have fallen off of it in various ways many, many times. Even friend J, who is in my email demanding asking for details within an hour after my sessions conclude most Mondays and Thursdays, said the same thing when I mentioned the ball, only his questions were “how many times did you fall off it?” and “did you hit your head on anything this time?” *eye roll* Oh well; I am a predictable creature of clumsy habit.

Embarrassed? Humiliated? Mortified? Not at all. I actually did not have to suppress an impulse to give it much thought other than scrambling back to my feet and trying again. I watched J demonstrate and explain the correct way to hold the dumbbell while setting up, and then paid very close attention to what I was doing while going through it myself the next time. I would like to be more graceful about my dismount rather than simply plopping my ass on the ground, but it worked for today. There remains a lot of room for improvement in this exercise. I know my hips were dropping as I focused on what my arm and the pressing upward motion was doing to me and to the ball. But improvement comes with practice, and I will get there.

How cool is it that I am not obsessing over the learning curves and simply looking ahead to practice and future improvement? Big 180 from my initial training forays.

The new T-stabs and good mornings … I have my reservations right now. The T-stabs because they are hard and I’m not 100% sure on form yet. I have done similar things in prior yoga classes, but it has been awhile. And I never felt like I understood what muscle groups should be doing the heavy lifting. The good mornings, I feel like I have the basic movement down well enough with some minor concerns about setting the bar correctly. Perhaps I will just work at positioning the bar across the shoulders first and then practice the hinging. Either way, there is no rush. I can go slowly, take my time with these. Or not. If I start having doubts or start freaking myself out, I’ll wait for review day. It is not as if I have no other Lists for practice.

And of course I cannot help wondering – is there an exercise labeled bad mornings?

Tomorrow is my lower body List rotation, because I am feeling the need and desire for a cardio win day and this one always does that for me. I will likely work at the bird dogs and the planks, both of which have been in the rotation before. However, my version of bird dog hold is more like deranged dog quiver, since my mind seems to be having issues with the opposite arm/leg positioning. The pushups will likely find their way to being tacked on to the end of the lower body list, because they teeter on the edge of release from the nemesis stable right now.

I probably need to plan on arriving earlier than usual to accommodate the extra stuff I would like to try. But even at the earlier start and doing this stuff at the beginning of my day, it is all very, very good. I then have the rest of my hours to back-burner ponder what went right, what went more imperfectly than other things.

I’m working on this post from under the dryer at my hair salon while texting with another friend. Multitasking at its finest. This is today’s reason for the typos and grammatical errors I am not going to catch before pressing publish.

It was a fun morning. For whatever reason, Monday tends to energize me for the rest of the week, getting back to the gym and back in to practice. And now that I have had most of the day to reflect on the new stuff, I feel better about it. I will overcome my hesitancy and master these things.

My week as a pseudo-vegetarian is coming up in another post, probably tomorrow, so not a lot to report as far as diet explorations and experiments. I am doing okay with my eating, still imperfect, still not overly obsessing about it when I possibly should be starting to panic or something else. But where it matters – my A1c – I’m doing very well. Next month will be full labs so I’ll know how all my other internal systems are functioning and progressing, conversation with my present endocrinologist, and a much better understanding of how my insides are doing (improving, I hope!) before I panic about not doing more to further burn more fat or otherwise alter my body shape.

RD is sharpening his pencil on my meal plans, and I will feel better after blasting through a lower body/cardio blast tomorrow. My current mild level of distress can be traced back directly to the fancy-smancy heart rate monitor. Every time I plug it into my laptop to charge it downloads the information about my sessions and days’ activities and the sneaky thing about it is that I now have a few months of measurements and data to look at when it downloads and charges. I do not feel like I am failing or even faltering, but I can pick out the days when I did a lot of lower body or even sets of walking lunges. It seems the things that I find the most challenging and like the least are the big heaters in the calorie burning and heart rate elevating. Yoga and pilates are not quite so showy in this regard, and I just remind myself when I start to furrow the brow over it that there is no finish line in my future and to just keep moving. I also tell myself that those readings are completely meaningless to me, because in truth, I have not framework of context to plug them into right now and therefore am indulging in a freak-out over essentially nothing. I do not count calories consumed, so why would I bother worrying about calories burned?

So I will force myself to stop looking at the day’s results each evening when I take it off my wrist. The watch only needs to be charged every couple of weeks, so I am going to return to the habit of letting it tell me it needs to be charged before plugging it in. When it comes to this type of stuff, ignorance truly is bliss.

Hope you all have a fantastic week!




Attitude, aptitude, altitude

Practice (as in gym, just for clarification) went really, really well today. I returned to upper/lower body sequences, using an older lower one (we refer to it as “Abel 30”) and a combination of 2 of the more recent advanced sequences for upper.

For perspective, the last time I did Abel 30 (at least a month ago), it completely kicked my ass. At that time after the third set I was lying on the floor sweating and breathing hard and thinking longingly of a shower and a nap, and not necessarily in that order. I recall doing 2 sets of upper body with the lightest weights possible afterwards without much enthusiasm and feeling so very tired when it was over.

Today, not so much. Today, I felt more like a student at Wonder Woman training school. A first year, first month student, but still – quite a change from the last time I went through this List. I was sweating and breathing hard, but after going through the 3 sets of lower body at a pretty brisk cadence, I was able to move through my 3 sets each of 2 different upper body sequences without any issues except for running out of available time. Frosting on the cake of that little victory, I felt fantastic. Energetic. Happy. Ridiculously excited for being so sweaty and gross. Finally I am getting what other people meant when they would say they felt great and energized after working out. For so long I wondered how they could say that when all I felt was (1) relief it was over, (2) that it was f**king hard, stressful, and exhausting, and (3) dear Lord, just kill me now. (The last was not every time, but frequently enough to be memorable.)

From there and in my meandering wanderings through blogville have me wondering – does my healthier attitude toward the exercise have a positive impact on my aptitude and abilities for it?

I have admittedly falling in love with exercise. What I did a few months ago, what I’m doing now – I am making incremental forward progress in so many surprising ways. Which I have discussed extensively on the blog. But it is growing more difficult to read certain blogs I loosely follow because of the near constant level of judgment, complaining, and overall whining. I understand venting – plenty of that going on around here. But when it’s several times per week, without any particular resolution or glimmer of an idea for change, it starts to bother me. Between that and the constant discussion of frugality, cutting expenses, saving money, and blame-shame about the spendthrift ways of others who may not be particularly frugal folks (present company included in that classification), I am nearing the point of swearing off personal finance blogs again.

Is there a better way to frame it? Can we bitch, moan, complain about traffic and other inconveniences of modern life without sounding so petulant and whiney? I know lots of people who waste money; M and I do as well from time to time. If it’s not your money, if I and others like me are happy with our level of spending and savings, if personal finance is just that – personal, why be so judgment and throw shade?

The healthier I become on all fronts, the more I step away from the negative girl mindset, the less patience and interest I have in things that used to hold meaningful dialog for me to some degree. I do not need constant influxes of insincere happy-happy-joy-joy, but I also believe that staying stuck in the mud of judgment, misery, impatience, and unhappiness is also a choice, occasionally an involuntary one at that.

I cannot change anyone except myself, and if I what I am reading and following gets on my nerves enough to write a post about it, must be time to vote with my touch pad and stop reading those particular blogs. Having gotten my blog start in personal finance, it feels like they are part of my reading roots and it has been difficult to completely break away.

Please don’t get me wrong – I love reading about someone scoring a great deal or having the good luck of finding a fabulous something in their travels through shopping for the wants and needs of life. I am just weary of reading about the lengths people go through to be frugal in all aspects of life, pay down their mortgage, increase their retirement contributions, and essentially feel superior about their financial stability and choices. Others are struggling, and I get that and understand the need to budget and be careful with their income. But it is rarely the lower income bloggers who annoy the living daylights out of me.

I strongly hope that I do not become that girl in the exercise realm as I move along. I feel so much better about this process, and I have worked hard to achieve this degree of competency. Just as I no longer compare myself to those exercising around me, I also do not judge them in their abilities or consistency practices. Because it’s not my place, or my style, and we who live in glass houses should never throw stones.

It brings me back to the original query for this post. Is my attitude better because my competency is increasing, or is my competency increasing because my attitude is better? I have no innate aptitude for exercise and movement; it has taken quite a bit of work to get to this level with so much yet to learn and master. Probably it’s one of those chicken-and-egg queries, and likely it does not matter much in the great big picture. It is true I am very engaged with my better health quest, particularly the exercise aspect of it. However, I am grateful that my practice now pays real dividends even I can see and feel and not pooh-pooh or minimize my own performance, and my attitude has improved in that I can recognize, accept, embrace, and celebrate those improvements. While it is really, Really, REALLY nice not to have J correcting me continuously or have the cues reworded and reworked to get the movement pattern set in my head, it is equally nice not to be fretting and worried about the List of the day every time I step through the gym doors.

I believe they call that confidence.

This week outside the gym there has been increasing frustration with poor behaviors and choices around me, that end up impacting me. Those things are impossible to ignore, yet not letting it drag me back to the depths or to negative girl’s doorstep has been surprisingly easy. I talk about it, sort out my thoughts about it, but I am not feeling overwhelmed or even emotionally engaged with the drama. It’s merely them, doing what they do, and me, doing what I must. I have some distaste and irritation about being put into such a position, but other than that, it does not engage my feelings. I like that. A lot. I will save my emotions and reactive impulses for things that matter to me, that make a difference or hold some value for me personally. Significant things that matter are fewer, and I am better in my ability to sort life’s wheat from its chaff.

And I really like that.


In the margins

I get a fair amount of daily email from clients. Although I work in the environmental industry, I do not work in anything remotely connected to conservation or saving the earth. If I did, I might think more about my habit of printing emails, especially those with detailed or complicated inquiries and requests. I like to have the printouts so I can write all over them with my own notes before actually typing up a formal response or picking up the telephone to discuss it.

Writing in the margins is part of how I process. I do not think I think as quickly or as on my feet as other, far brighter people do, and I have always taken notes on anything I hope to retain for future reference. It’s definitely a big part of how I learn.

But sometimes there are other observations or comments completely unrelated to profit margins or expense ratios or required follow-ups with third parties. Occasionally I correct the grammar and spelling. Or I puzzle out or look up unfamiliar acronyms. I love the online dictionaries to find definitions for new words, particularly with clients in different industries and product lines. There are a few people I hear from in a business context that write really, really well, and I get lost in how eloquently and succinctly they express themselves. Those are quite possibly the emails that make my year.

I am such a nerd.

Then there are texts. While I do not print those out, I might make notes about them, translate what I think they meant before autocorrect took charge of the missive. And I love the timestamps, the texts that come in while I slept because the sender was “thinking and had to ask before they forget.” Because I am just like that, too. I love text and email because I can send off my question while it’s freshest in my mind and whoever I’m asking can get back to me at their convenience. If it is ever something I need more urgently than a vague sometime later, I pick up the phone. In my book, voice mails are much more  urgent and must be dealt with first so I can remove them from the rolling to-do in my head.

There is just something wonderful about the printed word, even with bad spelling, wrong or awkward grammar, acronyms, and slang of all varieties. I like reading. I am a text-in-all-forums addict.

Recipes, instructions, ideas I find on the web, even personal notes from family and friends are likely as not to have my multi-colored ink commentary additions. Dishes I make regularly have my own pronouncements of their appeal or ideas to try to improve them, complete with failures crossed off and noted results. My favorite – OMG! DON’T EVER MAKE THIS AGAIN! on a Bolognese sauce that was supposed to be easy and sounded like it would appeal and turned out to be the biggest cooking fail of my lifetime. If you knew my lack of interest in cooking (and by extension lack of skill), you would understand how characterizing it that way makes it a Very Big Deal indeed.

When I was an admin and working in a word processing pool, I used to highlight edited text in the green or purple highlighter as I checked it against the final document I produced and returned. This served two purposes: satisfied my OCD tendencies to ensure I completed all requested changes and protected me from asshat professional staff that would be unable to resist more edits and would then state I had missed something rather than admit their actions. I also got into the habit of correcting grammar and occasionally clarifying the meaning by rewording awkward text passages. It mostly went unnoticed. It was the 90s and not everyone knew how to use word and excel. Plus, in those days, the professional staff might be complete heavily recruited brainiacs to the prestigious big 8 accounting firm where I toiled as a lowly admin, but that was no guarantee they could actually write or express themselves clearly in print.

Trainer J creates these cue sheets for me, complete with a photo he approves of illustrating the movement. It is my list of exercises to practice, in the order to perform each, and with the cues and instructions we went over relentlessly in our sessions. Looking at the list each day starts the soundtrack that plays on demand in my head. I have an entire series of these sheets, all covered in my own notes and scribblings about what to do or not do, things he said, questions I asked (and J answered), or what I thought during the learning session. Looking back at our earliest pages, I see a gradual calming of my nervous system, where I went from being completely freaked out every single Thursday to the light finally clicking on after a lot of sweat and maybe a few tears and lots of practice on my own between sessions.

Annotating today’s cue sheet reminds me that the title of this post is what I would use for a personal biography. For me, the sweet spot in life is there in the margins, away from the main text and illustrations. In all facets of life there are support staff of varying stripes doing their jobs outside the limelight; that is my tribe and where I feel I belong.

According to brain books I have browsed, the brain is divided into sections that do different things (over simplified, but this is not a post for neurosurgeons). According to me there are distinct sections of my brain that have nothing to do with anatomy. There is the portion that functions on pure instinct and would rule my life and choices based on prior experiences of fear, anxiety, and silence. In that respect I am not only living in the margins, I am actually marginalized by default. Me as professional victim.

Then there is the other part of my brain, the thin slice that considers itself a closet badass for its stealthy, brilliantly disguised beige-blend mannerisms. This glob of gray matter understands I rule the margins (in some bold purple or green or fluorescent orange color ink) by my own analysis of opportunities and making the smartest choices possible. That part of my brain will not allow me to be victimized or become an incredible shrinking woman by default. It is one thing to want to pull out my invisibility cloak and cower beneath it by choice; it is quite another to be outsourced as inconsequential because I am passively invisible and too afraid to ask for what I desire. I vacillate regularly between these two ways of living my life, but in the end, I pull up my big girl panties, step outside my comfort zone, and make myself meet the challenge. Sometimes it really sucks, too.

Earlier today I had training with J, and it started me down this rabbit hole and thinking about what it is like to feel empowered and to be powerful. I have no need or desire to exercise power over others; simply keeping me on the straight and narrow is a full-time job all on its own. But this training thing … I think I could learn to be good at this weight training thing. And it’s both a kind of terrifying and completely awesome idea. Goals still pop up, a reminder that I have nothing specific in mind, and I really am okay getting cozy without a defined end game. When I finally reach a milestone, I will have the ability and the confidence to recognize and to own it. Maybe the fun part is the getting there?

Until then, though, I am quite happy. I am hiding behind my invisibility cloak with headphones in my ears, practicing and perfecting my forms and slowly releasing the death grip on my anxiety and my fear. It’s a process, one tiny little step forward at a time.