When I take on projects I tend to go at them super full force and (real talk) when new things come along I have a history of leaving the old behind. I can be rather unfocused in general anyway but this being my first post Grad-School summer, my brain is constantly on alert for new things to shift my attention. I havn’t written in quite some time and a lot has happened in the interim. Since I last wrote I have transplanted to Philadelphia, thought I might stay forever, worked a coffee shop job, decided I definitively wanted to come back to the west coast, applied to over 100 jobs in the bay area and landed two. I am home in Oakland and I keep finding myself wondering what happened to the summer. What did I do exactly? Well, I worked a service industry job. I lost a very dear friend to a drug overdose. I relapsed into some food behaviors that I’d work hard to leave behind. And I panicked. And I got really confused about physical fitness in general.
For me, food and exercise are intrinsically linked to my mental health. When I felt listless, unmotivated and uninspired by my food and workout I felt listless, unmotivated, and uninspired by my life. I am not saying that the lack of love for a workout routine caused this quarter life crisis that I’ve been going through but I can tell you that there is certainly a correlation. I need to feel good about what I’m taking in to my body and how I am moving it to feel good about my life and vice versa. Obviously, this is an extremely delicate balance.
I’ve been home for almost a week and the dust has settled around me. I have taken some time to dig deep and look in both the physical and emotional mirrors. Emotionally, I see that I have been careening through the past few months like a deer dodging headlights. Physically, I can see that I’ve lost fitness. FUCK. Nothing makes me continue with my unease more then a physical reminder.
Maybe it’s the Bay Area briskness that has me thinking its Autumn and therefor time to recommit. It scares me to look at my body and see the muscle tone I worked hard for began to lessen, to struggle with push ups and basic calisthenics when for years now I have seen myself mostly get only stronger. It scares me to look in the mirror and want to lose weight because I have never ever done that healthily before and it is controversial for me to even admit that that is a concern of mine.
There is a whole faction of the blog world, particularly in the eating disorder recovery realm that awesomely asserts that the writer’s bodies are asides, not the issue at hand. I love the fact that these blogs exist and I am amazed that women with eating disorder histories EVER get to the point of really being able to set their body image to the back burner. For me, that seems like an impossibility. Although I respect it, it is not my story.
Something I have found in the process of intense and terrible struggle with exercise is that for the most part, I actually enjoy being physically active. I do not like feeling like working out is my number one priority. I do not like scheduling my entire life around my physical activity and I do not like feeling like what I am doing is never enough. But I do like watching myself get stronger. I like the way exhausting myself physically quiets the incessant and anxious hum of my brain. I like the feeling of sweet surrender to sleep when I have spent the day using my body outside in the sun. Physical activity has kept me from going insane, given me focus when I felt completely listless, and changed the way that I think about what my body can do. Of course I wish I didn’t even think about what my body looked like when I exercised and the fact that I do makes it a double edged sword for me. Despite that fact, exercise is a coping mechanism that I don’t plan on giving up.
As I watch my life shift from grad school student to high school teacher I feel excited at the possibilities before me. I am excited to get some teacher clothes, to make my syllabus, to meet my students. I am excited to refocus on getting that super strength that this blog so proudly boasts. I am in the process of working out a trade with a local CrossFit gym, and while I did months of at-home CrossFit WODs (Work-out of the day) this summer I am sure that the addition of weights and an in-person community is going to add a whole new element to my fitness and I am excited to see what happens when I get out of my routine, change up my comfort zone.
Once again, everything is changing and my body is with me to see what the changes bring. Every day we have the opportunity to prioritize our wellness, be it physical or otherwise and I feel lucky that even when I feel scared or sad I have the willingness to recommit to my self and my practice time and time and time again.
Bring it on. I’m ready to see what the next steps reveal.