Without going into much history, I’ll say that there was a dark period in my life, much like you’ve probably been through as well.
Mine was a nasty divorce. Friends chose sides, and the losses were tough. I became angry and bitter. I felt hopeless. And I was seriously depressed.
One day during my storm, I started going to the gym. And over time I noticed my depression lessened. My confidence resurfaced. And a new me evolved.
While learning to do squats with weights I never thought I could lift, I was also learning to push through my heals and dig down deep into my gut to overcome my anger, bitterness and hurts. It’s become the one thing I could always control when the world around me was spiraling out of control: My potential.
I control whether or not I can get through one more rep or not. And the feeling when I do it is nothing less than miraculous.
So eventually I got off the express lane headed to Victimville and changed my course.
The past couple of weeks I’ve had a chance to reflect on where I was and where I am now.
And where I am now is happy and at peace! But my friends, I do have to work for it – mentally and physically – every single day.
Sure I go through times where I convince myself not to go to the gym that day. And you bet, sometimes that one day turns into five or ten.
My friends, I pay for it! My thinking isn’t as sharp. My spirits are a little more downtrodden. And I feel like I am losing rather than gaining.
You see, doing something, (anything) even if it’s just 20-30 minutes is better than doing nothing.
When I commit to my workouts, I know I am moving forward instead of taking steps backwards.
So the principles of lifting have helped me lift weights off my shoulders that are not seen with the eye.
I push though my heels.
I dig down deep into my gut.
And I move forward not backwards.
It’s helped me to forgive, move past, let go and understand others and their struggles a little better. What’s more, it’s helped me smile and shine (again).
Little did I know that fitness saves the soul! And it’s saved mine.
I hope you can also get off the express lane to dismal distress to let it save you.
Go where the glory finds you. Let my tears fall on sunshine and guide you to where you belong. May the angels turn my cries of pain into a song of your return. And may the clouds filter your view as you look back to see me smiling and willing to let go of all I knew. Go now, Dad, where the pain of this world can no longer reach you.
So here my friends is a photo of me today at 52 and 175lbs!!!! I took it to show some friends my latest Zyia purchase.
But as I look at it I also see a message to share.
I used to be skinny. Today I weigh 40-50 lbs heavier than I did in my younger years. And I’m considered overweight.
A few years ago, Kenneth Chavez sparked a fire 🔥 in me. I joined his fitness class in Carnegie to help me lose weight. I guess age, along with that nasty lil Thyroid problem that plagues a lot of old women like I 😂, had other ideas. (Girls! When they tell you after 40, losing weight is harder – IT IS TRUE! So start your lifelong fitness journey TODAY!)
So the physical and mental battle began. I tried several different diets, I didn’t over-eat, and I was working out. But the scales would not budge! “What the hell? What the ever- loving HELL!”
I can’t tell you how many times I just wanted to quit going to class! But something in me just wouldn’t allow that!
I looked at the ladies in my class. Each one was a different body style and at different fitness levels. The group ranged from teenagers to women in their 60s and 70s. I saw them smiling, a glow on their faces and tone to their bodies.
So I took a step back. I focused on my gains: My mental state was awesome. I felt good. And I had tone in places that I hadn’t had in awhile.
I stopped focusing on my weight.
Now, I would be lying if I told you it isn’t still a mental battle for me. I’ve accepted that it always will be. But when it starts getting in my head, I just adjust my focus! I tell myself to accept the body I have and to be proud of it! And I remind myself…
Even as I write this and look at the photo those nasty, lingering thoughts come pouring in…
“OMG, if someone hasn’t seen me in awhile, I can just hear them – ‘Good gosh, she’s gained a lot of weight. She was always so skinny!’”
“Is Evan repulsed by my body?”
“I bet my haters are loving this!”
And here’s where our mental challenge begins! We must let our minds do their little negative thing. THEN we look again, and embrace who we are, what we look like. We accept our flaws and our strengths!
One thing I learned from my dad is that life is just too damn short to harbor.
My friends, we all come in different packages. And we are each beautifully flawed!
So move forward in your battle and never give up. Do what you can, and be proud in what you do and who you are. Don’t let the voice of the things you can’t change be louder than the voice of the things you can change!
And start your fitness journey today! Whether it’s walking or taking a class or joining a gym – always be moving forward!
Just my random thoughts after taking a simple photo this morning.
This was Christmas two years ago. Dad was feeling good during that time. He was so proud of cooking this cobbler with his cast iron.
This how I see him – smiling, that twinkle in his eyes and a hint of ornery to his spirit.
Recently, Mom let us go through Dad’s things. I wanted this jacket because it’s so him!!! It’s now in my closet. So one day when you see me wearing it, you will know it was my dad’s and what it means for me to have it.
I try to express my love and respect for him, but oddly it seems my words fall short each time. I don’t have a skewed perception of my dad that only sees him as perfect. Rather, I’m very aware of his flaws (most of them are the very ones with which I battle – after all, my mom has always called me Little Gary).
My dad was one of the most genuine humans you could have ever known. If he was afraid of his transparency or honesty about his transgressions, it never showed. He was neither ashamed nor proud. He was just an open book. And he didn’t mind sharing his stories so that someone else might heed the lesson in them – or at least get a good laugh at his expense.
All to say – I miss you terribly, Dad. You are everything I try to find in the people around me. But honestly, there is no one in the world like you.
Just one more day… Just one more smile… One more hug… just to hear you laugh… or call me Susie again…
I cling to my memories and walk with you in my heart every day.
The days hit hard and heavy, and the memories come on strong. God took you before I was ready, as if I could ever prepare for you being gone. Under your protection, I could always tell the truth. And you had this laugh of understanding, letting me know you knew what I was going through. No judgment passed, just that twinkle in your eye telling me what I should do. It’s not that I always heeded your advice, but it was the way you could make me feel better about failing and even more – how to dig in my heels and push on through. And even now when I know what you would want us all to do, my sorrow clouds the voice of your wisdom, and the blow to my gut has made it hard to understand a life without you.
Dad, I know I’ll find my footing, eventually, but it will be a hollow victory ’til I see your smile again.
Unable to sleep, I’m thinking and reflecting on my week. It was only last weekend that you left, and I am stuck in this place of reality and telling myself you are just gone somewhere for a bit.
I’ve picked up my phone a few times to give you a call. Putting it back down was an indescribable pain.
Then last night, as I was thanking someone for asking me how I was, I was talking normally – composed – and the next thing I knew tears were just falling at will.
To be expected, sure. Embarrassing, yes.
Last night I told Evan that I couldn’t imagine spending 56 years with someone – highs and lows, the good, the bad, the ugly, never leaving their side during illness to only have to let them go and stand alone.
There were times I would get so frustrated that mom wouldn’t let Wayne and me help her more. But as I’ve watched her grieve and listened to her intimate moments of saying, “goodbye,” I’ve gained a truer understanding of marriage, love and commitment.
My mom made my dad a promise that he would never have to wonder who would be taking care of him.
To the very end, she kept her promise! I will forever respect and appreciate the love and care she showed my dad. My losses, my awakenings, my confusion and clarity are all heightened.
All to say, week one of life without you is in the books, and last time I checked, my grief is still with me.
Storms are rising
Waterless clouds brew and
Churn an everlasting turmoil
That will haunt everything we do.
Too many demons we carry
Ego and pride working together
To divide and conquer anything that is good.
This song I sing will mean many things. So if you find a way to feel, I’ll give to you my words, for you to hide or steal – just increments of me passed on and passed away ‘til that moment you might see all I gave was all I had today.
Both lost to the misery we choose, we sink deeper among the demons that make us hate to feel and help us lose. I’ve dipped my feet in water so cold it burns. And kissed the fruit that sours and turns. I’ve shone in the dark and faded with the light. I’ve mended my wounds and climbed to new heights. And still the moon glistens, and the sun tingles my skin. So I know my living just might not be a dying sin.
I’m here, but I’m gone. My words are all I have left to whisper or scream or not speak at all. I’ll just place them here. And make my entrance or take my fall.
I’ve dealt with negativity all week. It makes my head hurt. I cut a friend loose and finally accepted the betrayal of the only person who could hurt me. It makes my stomach turn. It makes me mad at myself. It makes my arches ache.
So I’ve decide to become addicted. The way I have it figured – I only really have maybe 30 years left. My kids will be grown, and I’ll be retired. Why not live out those years homeless, giving BJs in some alley for my next fix and thinking my thoughts are poetry.