Over half way through the 100 Sweaty Sweats Challenge, and it sucks less than it did at the beginning!! Get out your party hats!
Our bodies contain thousands of mysteries and the more we move, the more are uncovered. “Just try” I tell myself. The goal isn’t to crush it. It isn’t not to crush it. The go is forward. The goal is to go and allow the outcome to reveal itself. I’m not trying to be ripped at the end of this. This journey is more profound than physical. It began as checking a box, maybe a fitness brag. It’s turned into me flirting with other movement, creating exercise, trying new things and offering myself patience in the struggle.
Fitness is not an exclusive club. Movement is not members only. I am not interested in an exclusionary version of exercise. Yes, times matter if you want them to. But that does not determine the athlete. It’s how you show up for yourself in the moment. We’ve disempowered ourselves in calling interior efforts performances when they are experiences.
This process has also motivated me to show up for myself more 24/7. Especially with food. Chronic dieting is a self-abuse I indulge in regularly. I haven’t as much recently, and frankly, its because I have to dedicate my energy to bigger things. But I’m still really tired of any notion that restricting specific foods or exclusively consuming specific groups denotes strength or disciple. That logic is literally the pathology of eating disorders. Restriction doesn’t make you strong. I am completely disinterested in such a feeble definition of strength. The capabilities of my body aren’t limited to numbers. And my entire physical self has told me this all along. It told me this in recovery every time I starved myself until everything around the elliptical grew blurry. My body forgives me for the twelve years spent kneeling before a toilet, purging as penance. I no longer feel guilt or fault or shame for taking up space. Who the fuck cares if my thighs jiggle or my stomach is soft? And you know what? I’m not waiting for the weekend to eat the cake. Not because it’s fuel for my workouts but because my body isn’t a problem I’m constantly trying to solve with calories in, calories out. It isn’t something I try to control or manipulate. I focus on maximizing, connecting, deepening. Shrinking is a direction I no longer pursue.
I want to see fat bodies committed to their best lives and scrawny bodies and differently abled bodies. Appearance says nothing about our abilities. Our pasts say nothing about tomorrow or even today. Can you stop worry about what you call yourself and just do the damn thing? Stop worrying about if you’re a running, a yogi, a crossfitter, a gym rat or dancer. You are you– this incalculable power pulsating through the universe. Can you believe that long enough to show up? To try and fail and show up again? Because I gotta tell you, anybody can show up when its easy. It takes balls to fail. It takes gall to crawl forward when you want to stop. And it takes a ton of courage to ask yourself, “what makes me feel alive and how can I incorporate that into every day of my life?”
Great feats stand on the sweat of small steps. In the thick of challenge, focusing on the small aspects maximizes the larger pulls. When I sprint, and my anxiety flutters, “Oh god this is fast and my arches are tight and what if I get hurt or throw up and fall off of this treadmill and die??!?!” I return to my breath. Steady. Powerful. Smooth and unbothered. I tell myself, “you can stop if you know you need to stop. but are you stopping from need or nerves?” Either is fine, honestly.
I’m not telling you to push yourself until it hurts. I do not believe pain qualifies the intensity of movement. I believe that you are capable. I believe that you are the expert on you and maybe you don’t give yourself credit. Most of us don’t. We encounter so many naysayers that they begin to take up rent in our brains, begin to speak over our self talk. The first step to challenging negative messages is daring to question the belief. You question by doing what scares you, showing up where you don’t feel you have a right to be. The dare deepens by defining ourselves with our own rulers. Can you be brave enough to hand yourself the trophies you want when the people you’d prayed would validate you quit handing them out? Because that’s where you get free. That’s where you get unstuck.
I hull an extreme personality through life– riding polarities of blazing highs and arctic lows. What I’ve learned is to never discredit the middle ground. The most important thing is to keep going. Keep trying. Try knowing that a lot of things will fail and that isn’t a character flaw but a human condition.
I don’t always want to move or workout. I don’t force movement that doesn’t work. Frankly, I no longer care if I suck. I don’t care what the person next to me thinks of my performance or how my body looks. My experience is not for you. Movement is for the body its inside of. That may look different daily because we aren’t robots. But it should feel like something you want to return to, whatever that movement is.
I thought about bragging about the cool ways I’ve pushed my body, but I don’t look at my abilities like a report card. Don’t get me wrong– I will absolutely be posting them at some point. But this has always been about me and for me, and I’m not really looking for your admiration here. I would, however, love your buy in for yourself. I want to see you comparing yourself less to people on instagram. Stop using the word “never” in association with yourself. Because, honestly, you don’t know what your capable of. And you won’t if you constantly use other people as a rule for your own achievements, but I hope you dare to make your own journey. Have the courage to fail and fall down and fail some more because that’s the only way you get anywhere good.