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Iron Privilege

*First, I’d like to say thank you to everyone who commented, messaged, emailed, facebooked, etc. to share some kind words with me after my last post. You all have NO idea how much I appreciate it, truly. Thank you.*

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This past month has been…rough. After a rather painful series of events, I left my gym and consequently left my coach, my team (I still see my teammates regularly since they’re the best people ever), and people I’ve been training with for years. I started at a new gym that I’ve been to before and really enjoy it there. But change is tough. And it is made tougher by difficult circumstances. I don’t share any of that for sympathy or “woe is me” points, just to add some context.  But, it’s done, I own it, it’s over; you learn, you grow, and you become better. So there’s that.

All of that to say, it’s been a little tough. My method of dealing with it all, amongst other things, has been to sort of throw myself into training. Exercise has been my coping mechanism of choice for a while and I’m absolutely convinced that there are few things in life that squats and sunshine cannot make better. Throwing myself into training has meant that while I am keeping busy…it has also been a bit too easy to turn into (even more of) a headcase.  That has only been compounded by the fact that, when a bunch of not so fun shit happens, my head space is not the most positive place.  Not having much external support training-wise has also meant that it has been really easy to get caught up in the idea of not being good enough, not making enough progress, etc.

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Basically, I have found myself lacking some perspective. And then, the other day, an image popped up in my Timehop from when I fractured my foot (jeeeez this blog has been around for awhile), and I instantly remembered how awful it was to feel so…incapable. I could barely walk, I certainly couldn’t do anything active, every day tasks were a chore and it was pretty miserable.

And then I realized that while I was beating myself up for not being able to deadlift or squat three plates or load a 250lb stone,  I had forgotten what it was like to not  be able to do any of those things.  I had forgotten that being able to dedicate several hours of my week to being covered in chalk and sweat, having calloused hands, feeling sore, and having the capability to do the work required is a privilege. Lifting is a solo endeavor – everything is earned and no one does it for you. The sheer ability to even go to a gym and get under a bar is a privilege. And I think that’s easy to forget. There is no “Ugh, I have to do this.”; I get to do this.

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 get the opportunity to find and define success through early mornings, late nights, heavy breathing, exhaustion that brings you to your knees, the sound of plates clanging together, and knurling marks on my back. I get to go do the thing that I really love to do. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that most of us started doing this because it is fun and it makes us feel something special. We get caught up in sets and reps and PRs and competition dates and forget “why”. I know I have. Remembering “why” changes things – it makes it fun again. And yes, there are days when it’s lonely and hard and you feel like you’re just going to explode from soreness and exhaustion…but even then, knowing the pay off and knowing what you’re working towards makes it worth it.

I’m not a great athlete, hell, I’m not even a GOOD athlete – I’d put myself squarely as mediocre, at best. And mediocrity is not something I accept. So while I have wallowed and thrown myself a pity party and whatever else people do when shit gets hard and I could continue to do that because it’s easy, I think I’ll just be thankful to have the privilege to be able to say “fuck you” to mediocrity through iron and barbells and sweat.

Wiping the Slate Clean

This space has been quiet for awhile. Part of it has been unintentional – life happens and stuff – but part of it has been because I just don’t know what to say (write?). In the past 3 months I have – moved, gotten divorced (or more accurately, am in the process of doing so), been trying to find a new job, had a little nephew come into the world, and had all of the regular life stuff that we all deal with. And it’s been a rough 3 months. Between all of that, I have found myself at a several points asking myself “what do I want?” What I want in training? What do I want in my career? What do I want for this space? Etc. And the honest answer is…I don’t know. But I want to find out.

As someone who is very introverted and extremely unconfident, I have found myself struggling to find my footing in answering those questions. In an attempt to practice being more emotive and open, I’ve overstated my own importance – I shared more instead of letting others share more. In an attempt to find some sort of confidence, I’ve come off as narcissistic and self-centered. In trying to show others how much I truly care about them and their success, I’ve over-emphasized my role. In short, in trying to correct things, I overcorrected and made mistakes. And now I’m struggling to find the middle ground.

I have never, ever deliberately tried to be inauthentic or disingenuous, but perception is reality, and the reality that I could be perceived that way is not lost on me. I value honesty and authenticity above most things and the fact that there is even a possibility of others perceiving me as neither one of those things…well, it’s soul crushing. And for all those things, I apologize.

So what will happen with this space? I still don’t know. It will continue to exist. It will probably change in some way. If you’ve stuck around, THANK YOU. I hope you’ll stay to see what’s next.