19.2, I wasn’t ready for you this morning

19.2, I wasn’t ready for you this morning. My mind was feeding me lies, that of course, initially, I believed. So I left the gym thinking I wasn’t going to attempt you in this mindset. I could use the old adage, it isn’t you, it’s me, and that would be 100% correct. 

You see, I stepped out of my comfort zone last weekend and tried something new. I walked into a level 1 Crossfit Training Seminar like I belonged there. I learned new information and got new tips on movements I’ve been working on for two years. I left there feeling on top of the world for multiple reasons. I told myself I didn’t care if I passed the test because I just wanted the experience. But I should have known it would affect me anyway.

When I learned I had failed, I was disappointed, but it took a bit for me to process that now people were most likely going to ask me about it, and I’d have to tell them the result. Then, the minutest of details caused a tailspin in my head when I came in this morning to attack you. I learned open workouts were starting at 10am, not 9am, as I assumed. Friends at the gym were supportive and told me, “Just do it now! I’ll judge you!” I agreed.

But after some minutes my mind began feeding the lies that it knows I succumb to all too often.

You didn’t pass the test, it wasn’t that hard, you should have been able to, you’re a teacher for crying out loud.

Speaking of which, what the hell was that this week. Can’t you even control those kids for one day? You know that meeting was about you. God, get it together.

You didn’t even know open workouts are at 10am. Don’t you know anything? Even when you do know you forget!

I don’t even know why your going to do this workout, it’s not like you’ll get past the first 8 minutes.

And so, I got my things and walked out the door wordlessly. Hoping that by Monday I would be back to being myself and able to tackle you again.

And then my best friend texts me.

her: Where did you go? Are you coming back? Everyone’s worried!

me: I wasn’t feeling it so I decided to just leave it until Monday, no worries!

her: Ah! I get it, they were all just worried about you, they all jumped me as I came in the door saying I needed to text you!

me: Well now I feel even more stupid!

her: You shouldn’t feel stupid! You should feel loved! They were worried!

I should feel loved. A novel idea. I should have known.

She is always telling me I’m not invisible, and I usually don’t believe it. But while they may not have caught me going out the door, they sure proved to me I’m seen, which changes the entire outlook.

So, I wiped off my face, stopped at the drug store for a prescription, got a coffee, and headed back to the gym. After a deep breath and telling myself it was fine, just walk through the door like you’re totally normal, I went back in to a round of cheers and all was forgotten. No words were spoken, no questions asked. Just a regular day at the gym. And like that, I was ready for you again.

See, this year I’m not stressing over you, friend. I’m enjoying you. This year I get to compare myself to last year, not myself against others. I’m in a whole new league than last year. A little less green, a little wiser, a little more in tune with myself. I’m using you to boost my confidence, even if there are movements I can’t do, there are still movements I can do better than I did last year, and that’s something.

I was frustrated this morning because life got in the way of those plans, that mindset. Things happen, and people forget. Not everyone passes a test the first time, and some days we think we suck. But you are always noticed by someone, and you aren’t always seen by others through your own eyes.

In the end, I did better at you than I thought, and it was fun. The cheering and laughing with others reminded me of what Crossfit truly is: a community. I doesn’t matter what you leave at the door when you walk in, or maybe drag in with you.  In the end you belong in this little misfit group of humans that all have complicated lives. We come to this gym to relieve the daily stresses and rid ourselves of the frustrations of our daily lives. And hopefully we walk out happier, freer, and healthier. With a better outlook than when we walked in. No matter the mistakes I made that day or week, I can rest from the dead tiredness you brought me, knowing I gave you everything I had for 12 minutes. So thank you.

I have a strategy… We shall see how this goes…

IMG_0016The past two workouts (aside from the Jesus WOD, because that’s just crazy) I have been doing prescribed weight. It started as a challenge to myself on the first. I loaded the bar for a quick decrease if needed, but then I just pushed through, because who ever gets anywhere by making things easier? Today I did the same, but maintained. I’ve had to switch my mindset from competing for more reps vs using heavier weight. I may not get as high a rep count, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that I doing the same work, or maybe even more. So this will be my new strategy. It will be a struggle because I’ll need more breaks, which will make me feel as if I’m not working as hard, but hopefully it will pay off in the long run. In any case, I’m not going to get anywhere by staying at a lower weight. We shall see where this goes I suppose, lol.

My therapist is making me rewrite this post in a more positive light… (this is painful to read :-)

In crossfit, there is this epic event known as the crossfit open, which leads to the even more epic event, the crossfit games. Anyone can enter the open, while the games are for the most fit athletes in crossfit. So, of course I signed up, because I’m a badass…

The open is 5 weeks long, one WOD per week. The first week, while I was nervous, I killed it and fell in love, much like my year-long love affair with crossfit. As the weeks wore on, I was challenged in many ways, both mentally and physically. When I start something new, I always have this amazing expectation that I’m going to be great at it, like awesomely so. Then, when I’m not, I dig in and get to work. My thought process becomes, “If I’m not great at this, then I’m going to keep working at it until I’m satisfied.” I know, this may sound unrealistic, but we all have our own dreams, and mine is striving to be better every day at everything I do. Because I have a brother who succeeds at so much, I am inspired to push myself to work as hard as I can each day. In my younger years I spent a lot of time switching between competing with him and being a free spirit, and I realize I made many mistakes. These mistakes have made me who I am today. A strong person, determined to succeed and be the best person I can be.

While I am the type of person that is usually incredibly hard on myself, I am slowly learning to be easier on myself and give myself the benefit of the doubt. I work hard to tame my inner voice, which comes in the form of many people in my life. I have to remind myself that these voices are much harder on me in my head than the actual people! There are so many people who genuinely care about me and are wishing the best for me.  I want these people to know that they impact me in many positive ways, and I appreciate all they do to advocate for me. I’ve worked hard to recognize these people in my life and to continue to reflect their kindness onto other people I encounter in my life.

I’ve learned as a parent and a teacher, you have to work hard to keep your inner monologue in check, especially when you have impressionable girls (or students) around everyday. When I look in the mirror, instead of saying “I’m so fat”, I work to tell myself, “look how far I’ve come.” I weigh myself less, and focus on how my clothes fit, or how I feel better just from doing the things I do. Instead of saying out loud, “I can’t do this”, I try to remind myself that changes take time, and I’m working hard to get to the place I want to be. I remind myself that set backs happen, and that’s ok. I can get back up tomorrow and start again. These are the things I want my girls to see and hear, so when they face obstacles in their life, they can face them in a healthy, positive way, rather than thinking they can’t change themselves for the better.

During the open, even though it challenged me mentally, I kept at it. It made me accountable to myself and proved I show up to do the work.  I was capable of doing the work, so why not? The last WOD came out on Thursday and I was so excited to watch a friend do her workout, it was amazing. There were people there cheering her on, and she was doing everything Rx (the fun stuff, like chest to bar pull ups and heavy weights and awesome things like that) and I’m thinking, I can’t wait to do this! If I keep working I’m going to be able to do that someday. I want it SO bad, and it might take time and I know there will be obstacles, but with time, patience, and tenacity, I know I can do it.

There is no fantastical conclusion to this story, except I finished the open. I didn’t finish last. I worked hard, did my best, and I got what I wanted out of it. I COULD do it. Seriously! My friend continued to encourage and tell me to keep going so I didn’t regret not doing my best. I can’t wait to look back on this next year and see how far I’ve come and how many new things I’ve learned to do. I will continue to cheer other people on at my box and have fun meeting new people. If I hadn’t done this there would be so many people I wouldn’t have gotten to know better, and that’s the most rewarding part of the open.

I’m beginning to realize that the hard work I put in gives me so much more than I got being hard on myself. So I’ll keep at it, and someday I will be able to look back on this experience and say, “Look how far I’ve come!”

That’s the end game anyway. 😊

The one in which I’m mentally challenged… by crossfit.

In crossfit, there is this epic event known as the crossfit open, which leads to the even more epic event, the crossfit games. Anyone can enter the open, while the games are for the most fit athletes in crossfit. So, of course I signed up.

The open is 5 weeks long, one WOD per week. The first week I was a hot mess, but I pushed through and fell in love, much like my year-long love affair with crossfit. As the weeks wore on, I was challenged in many ways, but none more than the mental challenge that comes from being in any activity that involves competition. For me anyway…

When I start something new, I always have this unreasonable expectation that I’m going to be great at it, like awesomely so. Then, when I’m not, I become disappointed with myself. My thought process becomes, “If I’m not great at this, then why am I doing it?” I know, I know, completely ridiculous and unrealistic, but we all have our imperfections, and mine is striving to be perfect at everything. Maybe it comes from being a younger sister to a brother, who in my eyes, everyone thought was perfect at everything. I spent much of my younger years either trying to be great at something like him, or rebelling against his perfection. It caused me to make MANY mistakes in life, some that have repercussions I’m still dealing with today.

I am the type of person that is SO incredibly hard on myself, whether it be my profession, being a parent, daughter, sister, friend, athlete… you name it. My inner voice comes in the form of MANY people, and sometimes that causes me to believe that what those voices are saying are actual truths. It messes with me, and can put a strain on my friendships and relationships in general. You might think you have no impact on my life, but I analyze EVERY little comment you might make to me, or someone else, or a comment you made to someone else and not to me. It may be ridiculous and abnormal, but it’s a part of who I am that I’ve been working to fix. A part I thought I was making progress with, and then the open happened.

I’ve learned as a parent and a teacher, you have to work hard to keep your inner monologue in check, especially when you have impressionable girls (or students) around everyday. One day I looked in the mirror and had to stop myself from saying, “I’m so fat”, or weighing myself several times in one day, or saying out loud, “I can’t do this”, or not eating for a day because I’ve been eating horribly for a week. I NEVER want to hear my girls say or do these things, so censoring our hiding those inner thoughts or actions that want to come out can be quite a challenge, but necessary.

During the open, I began to tell myself that it didn’t matter that I was doing this. It made no impact on anything. It was embarrassing that I was even doing this, because WHO do I think I am? The last WOD came out on Thursday and I showed up to watch a friend do her workout, and it was amazing. There were people there cheering her on, and she was doing everything Rx (the REAL stuff, like chest to bar pull ups and heavy weights and awesome things like that) and I’m thinking, why the hell am I even attempting this!? I’m NEVER going to be able to do that. I want it SO bad, but it’s not in the cards for me. And if it is, it will take years, and I’m over 40, and maybe I have MS, or some other auto-immune disease that will screw my body up, and really, who do I think I am!?!

There is no fantastical conclusion to this story. In true Liz Campbell form, I became defiant. I wasn’t going to finish this last stupid workout. I was done. I was over it, I got what I wanted out of it. I compared myself to the rest of the world of crossfit, and in the end, I wasn’t that impressed with myself. Seriously. My friend told me, “I don’t think I can let you NOT do this! Aren’t you going to regret it? «No» (Insert incredulous look here.)

In the end, at the last minute, I decided I’d do it. I wasn’t going to try my best, because it won’t be good enough, but I’ll do it, because I’m not going to be a quitter, and what the hell anyway. But I did, and I tried hard, and it still doesn’t feel good enough. But hopefully some day in the future I’ll look back and it’ll mean something. If not, oh well. I did talk to some awesome new people after, and cheered other people on. So maybe I made a difference to them. In my twisted mind I can’t see that I would. But I’ll never know and I’ve learned to accept that unknown in my life, sometimes.

Again, I don’t know what the point of all of this is, but someday I hope I’ll look back and realize that I’m ok, I turned out fine, and maybe there are other people who are just as majestically messed up as me. Maybe then I’ll be good enough for myself, or maybe not. But hopefully I’ll be happy with who I am and I won’t give two sh*ts what anyone else thinks of me.

That’s the end game anyway. 😊

I’m gonna fake it to make it… or something like that…

It has been a while since I’ve written anything of substance.  I have been re-reading posts on occasion, and get really frustrated because it seems that every time I do post, it’s when something is bothering me.  But then I think, well, that was the whole purpose of this exercise, wasn’t it?

Those of you who know me well know I struggle with depression and anxiety. I hate change, and love routine. I thrive on it, but I can get bored just as well. This coupled with the fact that the past few years anger as a response has begun to rear its ugly head making me an even larger hinderance to myself have begun to irritate myself to levels of wanting to smack myself silly just from listening to my inner monologue. I can’t image how those who have to listen to me on a regular basis might feel. I know, I know, “You’re so ANGRY.”

I have had a rough couple of weeks.  I of course, being me, have made it incredibly worse by not allowing my mature side to control my emotions, and playing the victim, as I often do so well.  But even that aside, I admit that it’s been rough.  Like a perfect storm with all of the natural ingredients rolled into a perfect little ball ready for implosion: and today it imploded.

I cried, I got pissed, I yelled, and screamed (in the privacy of my own car, thank you very much), but it happened. Am I proud of it? No. Could I have compartmentalized these feelings and emotions and not outwardly displayed them, probably, but my emotional intelligence is diminishing with age and my self-control is lacking.  Do I need to pull myself together and be an adult? Yes. Do I continue to make excuses for myself? Absolutely.

Today I realized that maybe some of the issues I thought had been resolved from my divorce might not be as resolved as I once thought.  My sense of injustice is way out in left field as of late, and that needs to be rectified. As I talked with my friend this week I once again realized that as an adult, life’s not fair, it’s never going to be fair, and that’s just the way it is.  I realized today that I don’t trust people. I WANT to, but I have a such a strong engrained mindset of everyone being out to get everyone else or   lacking the ability to care about anyone else that it eventually becomes impossible for me to trust almost anyone.

After my divorce my paradigm of trust began to shift to new people. Even now, that shift scares me because I place so much value on the assumption that those people will be there for me when things once again get rough. This circle of trust continues to become smaller and smaller as the years go by and I have begun to wonder where my balance needs to be drawn because we as humans are flawed individuals. We make mistakes, we are not perfect, and that should be ok.  So why am I not ok with this?

I am so concerned with how others see me, that sometimes it scares me.  My need to make a difference or to be a meaningful asset to the team constantly finds myself being disappointed and deflated.  I don’t want to be the leader, or have all of the power in situations, but I want to know that I contribute and that my contribution is appreciated and recognized. Is this normal?  Does this make me a narcissist?  Am I a bad person because of this?  I think these are the components of my frustration that need to be shifted, but I don’t know how to look at it differently and I think (or hope) these are natural responses as an individual.

I’m tired.  Today is the first time I can remember since my divorce that I am physically and emotionally exhausted from the events of my day.  I am maintaining the feeling that I just want to crawl into bed and cry and sleep and not get up for an entire week. It’s frightening and exhausting all in one and I remember that I am not infallible. I will continue to make mistakes and be a poor example of a person because we as humans are always changing and growing and regressing and messing up.  It’s human. I have to continue to remind myself that the person who plays it off that they are constantly moving forward and becoming better are not only lying to me, but to themselves, because nobody is perfect and that’s ok. And those that are faking it to make it are ok too, (I need to stop being equally angry with them…) and maybe I need to do a little bit of that myself.

I know come Monday morning I will get up, take a shower, and go to work, because that has also been engrained in me by some pretty awesome people who continue to encourage me to keep going. I will be ok with the fact that I’m not perfect, and while other people will play it like they are, we are human after all. All flawed individuals with insecurities and hopes and dreams that may never come to be, but I know if I don’t get up and go, I’ll never know who I can be.

Fifty Shades of Angry

Rosalita
I have no f*cks to give!

I’ve got an anger management problem.  I don’t think I’ve always had it, I think its developed since my divorce.  I’m not really sure where it comes from, although my dad has been known to throw random objects into the woods in the back of our house.  He’ll be grilling out and the spatula won’t work like he thinks it should… and wham, it’s flying over the back yard into the trees.  Sprinkler not working right? Watch out cars going up the hill, that thing will break a window if you’re not looking…

I’ve started watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix with the BFF, and I have to tell you, I really relate to the anger on that show.  Not like, I’m gonna pee on your floor relate, but I get the gist of it ya know? (I swear if my BFF calls me Crazy Eyes one more time I’m gonna blow. I call her Dandelion in return, so I’m pretty sure we’re even in the end.) My favorite thing about the show is they tell you the story of everyone’s past so you can see where they’ve been and understand what led up to them being incarcerated. Life sucks for everyone so I guess it’s all in how you handle it. I can honestly say I hope my anger isn’t that severe, and I hope I look good on the outside, because some days whats going on inside wouldn’t look too pretty on the outside.

I have a multitude of angry emotions that can be volatile if I’m not careful.  Stewing is never a good sign.  My BFF has spidey sense for it.  She sees it coming a mile away. She’s always telling me, “You’re so angry… I also have this thing where if I get really mad I cry.  I hate when other people see me cry, so I won’t make eye contact. Like, if I don’t look at you, you can’t see I’ve been crying and I won’t be embarrassed. That’s generally the first day. The second day is my emotionally compromised teenage girl angst day.  By the third day I’m good. It’s those first two days you gotta steer clear though.

In the meantime, this attribute tends to be quite challenging when around children, working with children, or being a parent to children.  My dry wit and sarcasm doesn’t help either, but anger, it just fuels the fire.  My oldest tends to have an anger management problem as well, and while I use to think she got it from her father, I’m not so sure I can pass that off on him anymore.  Homework time seems to be a problem area, as well as bedtime.  The yelling, the crying, the tears.. it’s all just so, cliché. It frustrates me to no end, and if it’s not one of them it’s the other. Like they have a schedule all worked out for how we can drive mom crazy the quickest.

Then there is the whole working with kids thing, which probably doesn’t help when it’s time to work on homework with my own kids.  But it is what it is, right? This week at school one of my students has been unusually more talkative than usual.  It’s not abnormal for him to be so vocal, but this week seems to be particularly bad.  I use the Classroom Dojo which is a computer app that you can use to give or take points to students based on appropriate or inappropriate behaviors. At one point this week, I decided I was going to use Pavlov’s version of conditioning him to stop constantly interrupting me.  I mean, it was so bad I couldn’t get a full sentence out all afternoon. So, I started taking a point off every time he interrupted.  He got up to like -14 points.  It was pretty impressive if I do say so myself. I felt like Dr. Evil telling Scott to “zip it”.

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Apparently my students find my temper amusing at times. Today I heard one say, “Look how red her face is!”. I should probably do something about it before I stroke out or say something I may regret later, but it’s probably way past that point now.  I generally say things without the filter on full blast and usually end up regretting it later. It’s not that I mean the things I say in anger, it’s just I tend to get all worked up and in order to deflect the blame I put on myself (or rightly should), I will start bitching about anyone and anything that doesn’t have to do with me.  It’s a defense mechanism really. So… yeah, I should look into that, although apparently there aren’t many anger management classes around here.  It’s just… so exhausting.. Lol.

 

 

Be kind, for we are all fighting battles…

It’s been a particularly rough week at school. Today I learned one of my students is homeless and it definitely struck a chord with me. I felt horrible after I learned this because first thing this morning s/he and I had an incident and had I known I would have handled it completely differently. S/he had brought some coloring sheets and math pages to school. As I was helping him/her get things turned in for the morning and get him/her set I told him/her I would take them and hold onto them for him/her. S/he got upset and the situation escalated.

Later I couldn’t help but feel bad because I too know what it’s like to not know where you are going to be the next day, week or month. I remember shortly after the girl’s dad left feeling completely hopeless. We were living in a home that his family owned, and while they willingly let us stay, I knew it wouldn’t be forever and new plans would have to be made. On a Catholic teacher’s salary and as a newly single mom, I knew having my own place would be next to impossible. My options were slim and with debt and attorneys fees, the stress it imposed on me and the girls was felt daily. Then adding the fact that I was let go from my teaching position in a free-falling work force added even more emotional stress and turmoil.

I always remember my girls having a difficult time letting go of things that were theirs. Even today the smallest things are kept and secreted away in hiding places. And now I understand, not knowing what is temporary or what is permanent can be stressful on an adult, let alone a child.

This past year I have often become frustrated because others say it is hard to understand where children from low-income are coming from and the situations they often encounter. I don’t know if it’s because I too have been in many difficult situations in my life, as well as other people I have known, but I always think to myself that not understanding others mindset or culture can cross over into all socio-economic statuses or family situations. Very few of us take the time to actually get to know people and their struggles, and it’s not always our fault. Many of us don’t like to openly share our hardships or stories. We think it makes us weak in others eyes. But I think it makes us strong, and better able to understand where others are coming from.

Someone once told me a story of a person suffering from cancer and how she would always ask the other person how they were doing. The person would say to her, “Why are you asking about me? You are going through one of the hardest struggles in life there is?” But the person would always tell her that EVERYONE is going through a struggle in their lives. It matters because it is happening to you.

I think so many of our misunderstandings and miscommunications could be refocused if we all took this viewpoint towards others lives. It’s not a race issue, or an economic issue, it a human issue. We all struggle, we all fight our own daily battles. The importance is showing kindness to others and to recognize that we don’t know or understand completely what another person is going through. The importance is taking into account the feeling and mindset of others, and custom tailoring our interactions to make them meaningful and thoughtful for others.

So there are a few things I want to take from this: one, always be cognizant of where others are coming from, you never know what battle they are fighting. Two, be brave and tell your story. We ALL have stories, and they should be told. They are powerful and are a part of us and have made us who we are. And lastly, keep an open mind. Don’t be condescending or critical of others. We all have different perspective on life. No one is the same. That is they beauty of our world. Sometimes it’s good just to stop and watch what is going on around you, and to recognize where you can help: be it a kind word, a helping hand, or encouragement to others to keep going. Keep your chin up friends, and know while no one can know your specific struggle, we have all been there and we are all cheering you on.