Sometimes it’s possible to be both happy and whole, yet struggle with recurring thoughts of sadness or feeling broken. I think we tend to forget that as outsiders looking in on someone else’s life at times. They can seem to have it all together, everything is going good, the pieces are falling together, they’re genuinely happy… Yet. We don’t see them when they are alone, we don’t see their thoughts or hear their cries… because all we see is the outside.
Sometimes you can be so far removed from your past hurts and you can feel like you are fine but inevitably you realize you’re a little weaker than you thought or a little more sad than you want to admit. It’s in those moments you doubt yourself. You doubt your progress, you doubt your abilities, you doubt your sanity (maybe that’s just me) and quickly you find that instead of feeling full of all of the good things you have in your life you are feeling full of insecurities, sadness, doubt, second guessing, hopelessness.
So what do you do? It’s almost like a pendulum… you can stay swinging in these feelings that are a temporary cloud over you and something that is no longer your reality but a reminder or you can swing back to reality. It’s hard though sometimes, you know… we like to sit with reminders, even if they hurt us. Because, why? Because they’re comfortable. Because they’re familiar. Because maybe we were in that period of time for so long anything other than that feels foreign and so for a time we like to sit in the familiarity of hurt and sadness simply because there was a time we were so conditioned to exist in that sphere it actually feels good even though it is hurting us.
I don’t like admitting when I have these moments but for me it’s important to share them. For one, I know a lot of people think my life right now is super glossy and fabulous and unicorns live in my basement. And, that’s just not so. Grace Kelly is cute and everything but she is no unicorn. Secondly, I know a lot of people that read this or know me are going through big life changes, too… or they are trying to. And, it’s so important to remember that yes these new journeys are worth every bit of fight but they are going to be moments when you are going to feel like you did six months ago, a year ago… ten years ago. But, it is okay. Because, it’s temporary. You are moving forward. You are changing. You are no longer who you were before.
The feelings are always the same when I have these moments. The biggest one is feeling like I’m not good enough. Especially when I see certain things and I find yourself comparing or thinking about past situations – it’s a really horrible feeling. It’s horrible because it makes me truly sad but it’s also horrible because I know it’s a lie and it’s not reality. I know what I’m worth, I know what I bring to the table, I know where I’ve been and how I’ve changed and who I am now, I know how hard I’ve worked, I know what I have to offer… etc. etc. etc. I know these things but a single moment can cause me to doubt every single one of these things. Temporarily.
So, know that it doesn’t always have to be perfect. You don’t always have to be one hundred percent happy and flying over rainbows – even if you are truly happy! You are going to have days that make you feel like you have done nothing to better yourself. You’re going to have reminders for the rest of your life about times that make you sad. It’s inevitable. But, you keep moving on… you trust that you have grown enough and you are continuing to grow and you find yourself staying in those moments of reminders less and less.
If you follow me on Instagram (also, I’m back on Twitter – follow me!) you may have seen me post about last week being difficult. Which, being on a competition prep (or going through any very rigorous/disciplined chapter) that’s to be expected. I’ve had lots of really great weeks with some difficult ones the past 15 weeks but last week was especially rough. I was having major doubts about my abilities, I felt like I wasn’t seeing the progress I wanted, I was becoming discouraged, etc.
On Thursday I was in the midst of my training session doing plyometrics and I just lost it. I was face down on the carpet bawling my eyes out. I’ve posted about crying during workouts before and I had someone tell me, “working out isn’t something to cry about” and that it wasn’t that serious. That kind of caused me to want to be reserved about sharing the difficult days I go through but you know what? Getting in shape is DIFFICULT. Anything you are 110% committed to is not going to be easy. It’s painful and it’s a commitment to make strides every day – to make good choices, to do it when you don’t feel like it, but most importantly – to never give up. I am so serious about what I am doing that I do have a lot of feelings about it and contrary to what a lot of people think, I do have other things going on in my life, too. I watched Ronda Rousey’s interview on The Ellen Show recently and she talked about how she cried a lot – because of how much work goes into preparing for a fight and it’s an emotional thing for her. When you’re so involved in what you do, you put everything into it and sometimes you cry. It’s cool. That’s all I gotta say about that!
A lot of this I can attribute to the roller coaster of being on prep and hormones, etc., but there was something to be said for last week. It really almost broke me. I knew the feeling was going to be temporary but when you are in that head space it is all you see. Something good to come out of those moments when I was being really hard on myself. Despite feeling like I hadn’t made any progress we checked my BF % on Thursday and it had gone down again. Progress. And, then the weekend happened. I was beginning to feel myself even out a little bit more and as per the usual, I was taking progress pictures and I noticed a huge change (to me) in my body. I can’t tell you how excited I was. I fought through that hard week of feeling like I hadn’t made any progress only to realize I really had made huge progress. You see, this has always been way more about losing weight. “Don’t blow away,” everyone says. It’s not about being skinny. It’s about building a new body. It’s about shedding the old me. It’s about being healthy.
Being fit and healthy isn’t about a number on a scale. In fact, I threw my scale away months ago. I weigh myself every few weeks with my trainer but that’s it. Other than that, I don’t look at a scale. A number doesn’t define me or tell me how well I’m doing or show me true progress. It’s not about fitting in a certain clothes size or being accepted or being desired. It’s about being me – 100% me. This is who I’ve always been meant to be. I have absolutely no doubt about it – whatever clicked inside of me this spring caused a tidal wave of change to rush over into every area of my life. I’ve had moments of blissful happiness, but they’ve not been of any credit to myself – this time I am happy because I am happy with myself.
If you’re happy with yourself then that’s what matters. We all don’t have to be the same. We all don’t have to have the same goals or strive toward being in what each of us deems “in shape.” Life isn’t a competition. I’ve had friends tell me they were jealous and that has left me feeling really strange. My life isn’t anything to be jealous of – I have my own skeletons and issues just like everyone else. I work hard – very hard – at something I am passionate about. I do have a great life but we all have things in our life that make it amazing… we just so often focus on others’ greatness we forget about our own.
When you think you can’t go on – you can. When you think it won’t make a difference – it will. When you think you’re the only one going through it – you’re not. When you feel like giving up – don’t. Those are when you get the “Aha!” moments, the moments you have been working so hard towards pay off, the moments when you get a second (or third or fourth) wind, the moments when you feel the difference. Those are the moments worth the sacrifice.
Time brings a lot of things. It brings healing. It brings closure. It brings change. It also brings clarity. If we allow ourselves to be open to being refined, time can sharpen our views of what we look for in life. I have been closed off to a lot of things the past several months – much to the credit of being super focused on getting in shape and more recently prepping for my fitness competition. I haven’t had to “deal” with certain aspects of life… and, it’s been really nice. It’s been nice to just focus on something that, while is about myself, is also outwardly focused. I’ve met new people and I’ve participated in a lot of outside activities and I’ve pushed my limits. I’ve not been alone in doing these things and it’s been a good growing and learning experience.
While I have undoubtedly not been alone, I am very much alone in life right now. If that makes any sense. I go home alone every night. I go to sleep alone. I wake up alone. My home is full of love and happiness, but I. Am. Alone. And, you know what? That’s okay. I’ve always been someone who has been okay with being alone. It’s not something I really sit around and cry about (not that I haven’t before, but those are rare occasions). There have been moments in my life I haven’t been alone… very specific time spans in my life and those are the moments that make me miss that feeling. What feeling is that? The feeling of being safe.
Merriam-Webster defines safe as: “secure from threat of danger, harm, or loss” – those are such comforting words. Secure. Safe from danger, harm… secure from being lost. Time and experience give us the remarkable gift of clarity. Clarity to say, “This is what I want” or “This is what I don’t want” or even “This is what I need.” We all have our deal breakers, our nonnegotiable, our “must haves.” We learn the skill of compromising but there are always those couple of things we know we need to be happy yet we often settle without them because we’re getting older or because our friends are getting into relationships or married or having babies or we are lonely. We are a society of settling. When I was younger I used to think my “must have” was someone who was going to be successful and “do things” in life – to go places and live big. Looking back now, if I had settled for those things (which are wonderful and by no means are settling for a lot of people) I would be a very miserable woman right now.
Instead, I have come to a place in my life where I realize those “must haves” were really just cheap imitations of what my true non-negotiable is – safety. I thought safety meant success. Success = safety. Sure, success does play a part in feeling secure but there is so much more to security than money or success. Safety is more than an action – it’s a feeling. Usually we hear it the other way around – something is more than a feeling, it’s an action. But, not always. We all have pictures in our mind of what this can look like. As long as I live my picture of my must have… my “safety” feeling will be forever ingrained in my mind. It will be a perfect moment that encapsulates that feeling of safety. It’s a moment that’s mine forever. That feeling for me, unless it’s as comforting and secure and safe… nothing else can touch it. What does this mean for me? Who knows… probably a long time of being alone. But, in a world where we settle for so much… some things you just can’t settle for. No matter how “right” they appear or how it good it looks on paper or how everyone approves or how awesome every other part of it may be… You can’t put a price tag on that “thing” that makes everything else dim in comparison.
So, while the world around you settles down and makes decisions based on facts and numbers instead of feelings and instincts… while you watch everyone else fade away into new lives and you are still making your own… while you have moments where coming home alone again and turning on the lights only to turn them off again as you slide into a cold bed and one more night like that seems almost unbearable… remember that that thing you need – the thing that makes you think, “Oh… yes… there you are.” It exists. I promise. I know. It’s there… somewhere. You just simply have to be patient enough to wait. Wait for it to find you in the darkness – where your light is the beacon that leads it to you. Your must have. Wait for it… it’s coming.
until next time… xoxo, patty lauren
It’s a funny thing when you start taking care of your body – you feel so much better. I know, it’s a crazy concept… lift heavy weights, do HIIT, run sprints – but you feel better?! WHAT? Okay, I might be being a little sassy. Hang with me.
Before I changed my lifestyle my body was actually in a lot of pain at times. I have a mild case of scoliosis and my back used to hurt me a lot… like, all the time. It wasn’t unbearable it was just uncomfortable and ached a lot. Inevitably the back pain would channel itself into a headache. Some weeks I would be fine and not have pain for days and some I would be popping Tylenol like candy.
On top of back pain I also had severe stomach pain. “My stomach hurts” was a daily comment. I could have dealt with the back pain but the stomach pain was a continual, every day thing. I hate going to the doctor, but I made a half hearted attempt to get some answers a couple of years ago with not much help other than “it could be your gallbladder.” Um, no. Deep down I knew my stomach issues probably stemmed from my lifestyle choices, but I wasn’t ready to change them. That’s the thing with change – you can half do it or you can do it all the way. I wasn’t ready to fully commit to changing – isn’t it funny how sometimes we would rather deal with continual pain (and this could be in any part of our lives) rather than just make a decision to change and deal with a temporary pain in order to change our lives?
Since I changed my eating and began my commitment to the gym my stomach hurts about 1% of the time now. You know when it hurts? Well, unfortunately for me it hurts when I eat too much dairy. Which explains a lot – growing up in a frozen yogurt store and eating yogurt all of my life probably contributed to most of my stomach issues. In moderation I have found I am okay but if I overdo it, I pay for it big time. Other things I’ve always known hurt my stomach are the same, but dairy was the big one and now I know how to moderate it.
As far as my back – I haven’t had problems in months. I’m sure shedding 30 lbs this year alone and 40 lbs total helped take some stress off of my back, but I believe the strength training and conditioning has helped make it stronger. I actually couldn’t remember the last time I had back pain until last week… which is what made me think of this topic anyway. I found myself relaxing in a hot bath and yep, you guessed it… eating protein cupcakes. It’s a far cry from bubble baths and jazz music and candles and wine Fridays but somehow soaking in a hot tub because my back hurt and shoveling cupcakes made out of protein powder and egg whites into my mouth because I was in that magic hour of the anabolic window seemed more productive at the moment. And, thank God this is temporary… cause Momma needs a real cupcake.
I know there are true physical pains and issues that working out and being healthy can’t “fix”, but I truly believe a lot of the issues we find ourselves facing or complaining about can be alleviated or remedied completely if we will believe it really is as simple as starting to live a more healthy lifestyle. I join the masses of my other fit friends who want to scream bloody murder when I see another pill, powder, or drink that promises to change your life. You know why we buy into this junk? Because it seems EASY. And, sure, it’ll work for awhile – most of us have tried something like this at one point or another, but is it sustainable? No. Is it healthy? No. What does it teach you? Nothing. It’s easy. These things also cost $$$. You know how much a fit body costs? Basically nothing. You’re already spending money on food – buy better food. All you’re paying for is a gym membership, if that. But, so many of us would rather shell out hundreds of dollars for “supplements” and jump starters and fillers because they promise quick results. It’s madness!
I just had this conversation with someone talking about If It Fits Your Macros (you can read more about why I follow IIFYM here) and how counting macros is the most sustainable way of eating (for me, anyway). I have always believed in the saying of “everything in moderation” – now, obviously I did not always practice this but I do whole heartedly believe in this. I would highly recommend reading this recent article from CBS News about IIFYM – it really breaks it down for those who think us IIFYM followers go around eating doughnuts and pizza all day. Sure, I could eat two doughnuts and that’s it for the rest of the day but that’s not sustainable and I’d be even more hungry than before. So, I eat REAL food… and if I have some room left in my fats and carbs I’ll enjoy a “treat.” I don’t do it every day and especially now I’m not doing it at all but once in a while is not going to kill you.
I had this conversation with someone very recently – you can restrict, restrict, restrict and at some point you are going to snap. Trust me, I know this first hand. If you cut out every single thing you enjoy you are either going to rebound really hard, start binge eating, or gain back everything you lost. Life is too short not to enjoy – so, if you want a piece of pizza (or two or three) – eat them… but, do it in moderation. And, time your carbs before and after workouts. And, eat your protein. And, eat GOOD FAT.
until next time… xoxo, patty lauren