The rest of my year is shaping up to be full of writing activities, time with family, work and moving regularly. I am actively exploring Kemetic Yoga and dancing around in my own house for these options. I also decided to spend more time reading. One of my current reads, “Rockaway: Surfing Headlong Into a New Life” is about a 40-something journalist and divorcee who challenges herself to become a surfer. It reminds me of my goal to continue competing as a Strongwoman. This is no surprise as reading has always made me want to dip my toes into worlds I have yet to explore be that with travel, athletics or activism.
I have a tendency to pile on but letting reading take me somewhere else never leaves me feeling like that. It inspires me to write better, look for the detail and cultivate understanding. I attended James River Writers Conference over the weekend and served as a ShopTalk expert with the topic “How to Own Your Story: Getting Your Truth on the Page.” It was invigorating to listen and dispense advice to other writers and part of me wished I could jet off to the future to hold their finished works in my hands.
We were told at the conference that being a literary citizen is writing, reading is writing and good conversation can be writing. I believe this to be true because when I am engaged in any of these things, I find spirit lifted and I feel nudged to get to a pen and jot these experiences down.
I am hosting the second session of the virtual open mic poetry series “From the Page to the Mic” with Henrico County Public Library this Saturday and the last on November 13th. I am attending a showcase at my sister’s pole studio next weekend and an author’s signing in December. I will be bending, stretching, dancing, writing, reading, listening, supporting and watching others’ art. I can’t think of a better way to grow into the kind of writer I want to be.
I got a reminder that today makes one year since I completed the 75hard challenge. There was a picture of a group strength training class and video of me taking my final–150th workout in 75 days. 75hard challenge comprised of 2 45-minute workouts, reading 10 pages of a personal development book, drink a gallon of water, no alcohol and following a diet of your choice each day for 75 days. It was both hard and helpful that the last 30 days of 75hard fell during bloglikecrazy.
The truth is that the reminder snuck up on me. I didn’t realize it had been a year. I knew it was close but 2020 has disoriented my sense of time and a sense of myself. During 75hard, I was planning on competing in a Strongman, training for the possibility of a Trifecta (three Spartan races) and for the first time, I saw a new thing emerge in me. An athletic me, a physically competitive me, the me who knew she would fall and never come in first, but was willing to shatter those perfectionist tendencies.
I want to find her again. I need to find her again. It would be easy for me to slip all the way back permanently. I spent 39 years never truly competing. Never willing to break down the body. I jogged, belly danced, took Zumba, water aerobics, yoga, hot yoga. I never knew dedication.
Now that I know I want her back, it’s time to do what I can at home or outdoors by my lonesome. Buy (and use) weights, kettlebells, go on walks, stretch and plan for a safe way to compete again (hopefully) in 2021.
I am looking for inspiration today. Every year I participate in the bloglikecrazy challenge, I have a couple of days like this. The ideas seems stale. I type a few paragraphs and then delete it all. Nothing reads right and what inspired me only yesterday seems like it never was.
So what to do on a day like this? Where the time and opportunity to write is there but all I want to do is fling pen, computer and phone far, far away to avoid doing it. I am thinking this is when I choose to calm down, take a breath and realize I created and control this space.
If inspiration to write a poem, an essay, a gratitude list or a letter is nowhere to be found, then accept it. By acceptance, I mean write about it just as I am doing now. Making the choice to be consistent with writing anything is my only way through. Each year, I remind myself of this as if it’s the first time I’ve thought it.
I don’t get frustrated with myself because I need the reminder. I figure this is God’s way, on a lazy Sunday, of sending a nudge.
A nudge for me to remember I am only human. That just because it may not come easy today doesn’t mean it won’t come.
After all, three years of challenges have been met and on day 22 of year 4, there’s no reason to believe the moment cannot be met now.
5:00am is not an hour I tend to ever see. It has been the hour I need to be up by for a long drive or when I have dragged myself to bed after passing out on the couch downstairs.
I am a night owl. I usually write or get ideas for writing at night. I have been known to pick up a novel at 1am when I can’t sleep or just in the mood to know what happens next. I like to discover new movies, shows or insightful interviews late night, too.
I am trying something new for the month of November. I joined the Miracle Morning challenge created by Amber Aziza. I will be rising right before 5am Monday-Friday to log into a Zoom call for an hour and listen to inspirational speeches, business advice, workout, write, journal or commune with an accountability group. It’s mission is to provide education and support while building a morning routine for women. The group definitely leans toward entrepreneurial women which is not really the category I fit neatly into but I found it doesn’t matter.
I think what matters is if you can answer this question with a resounding Yes: Are you a woman with goals?
I am a woman with goals who would like to see what it’s like (even if only ends up being for a month) to gather with women from across the globe to honor what’s best in ourselves. To put ourselves first–not a spouse, a child or anything else.
Our first call is complete and I already have had the pleasure of meeting my new group and learned 3 ways to think about a journaling practice.
One thing I loved was Amber’s emphasis on giving ourselves grace and space. I know I am not alone when I say I am hard on myself when I don’t show up the way I need to every single time. This morning practice, in addition to building routine, is supposed to be a place where forgiveness lives.
I may not be in love with a 4:45am wake up time but I can get with any program that allows for that kind of grace.
Against the advice of a few, I am back for year 4 of #Bloglikecrazy! What is it? And why was the advice so negative you may ask?
Bloglikecrazy is a challenge created by Javacia Harris Bowser of See Jane Write to publish one blog post everyday in the month of November. I have completed the challenge every year for the past three years. I have posted through sleeping on a cot beside my husband in the hospital, travel, during a strenuous 75hard challenge where I exercised twice a day while working my 9-5 and while I felt ill.
So why have I received advice against doing it this year if others have been so successful? Because this year my writing goals and dreams are starting to become more realized and the fear of the few who advised against it (and love me) are that I will drown in a sea of time management chaos.
The truth is their fear is not unfounded. In the next 30 days or so, I will be preparing for and facilitating two writing workshops, working on pages due for a big project in Spring of 2021, present at a virtual Writer’s Conference and Monday-Friday this month, I will be up at 5am for morning routine challenge led by the fabulous powerhouse entrepreneur Amber Aziza. There’s also this little thing called being a wife, taking care of home and working my regular job (remotely).
I will be the first one to admit it’s alot and in the past “alot” meant anxiety and panic.
But I also am going to make myself some promises:
If I miss a day, I will not treat it as a big deal. The earth will continue to revolve around the sun. I will still be a writer committed to her craft.
If I start to feel overwhelmed, I will stop. I am already working on writing I love. There’s no need to apply pressure.
I almost didn’t write today but the truth is as soon as concern was expressed, I wanted to write about it. I missed writing here and when I look back at previous years, I have no regrets.
It’s Day 76. 75hard is over which means I accomplished the following:
150 workouts (mostly walks but many strength training workouts)
Drank 75 gallons of water
Stuck to my diet (calorie counting for me) using the Lose It app.
Lost over 20 pounds.
Read over 750 pages of personal development books.
No alcohol (I already didn’t drink)
I recapped more of the emotional side yesterday and I have said it before but it bears repeating:
I am less afraid.
The thing I thought I would be more fearful of was what to do next but it’s clear I had nothing to fear. Today, I went to a small group workout, took a walk and along with Hubby and a friend, climbed for the first time at an indoor gym.
Even though the mental transformation far outweighs the physical, here are a couple of pictures to showcase that aspect:
I feel more confident about the next steps I am taking. If anyone is wondering if I would do it again, the answer is a resounding Yes. If anyone is doubting if they can do it, please don’t. The old saying is true: You will find the time for the things that matter to you.
One last note.
I loved that unintentionally the bloglikecrazy challenge came at the same time I was winding down with 75hard. I have a record of these last 30 days which included teacher training, strength classes, a fulfilling writing intensive and the introduction of the idea that I will one day be a Spartan and a Strongwoman.
There will be more reflection tomorrow but I have to acknowledge I made it to Day 75!
I both completely believe it and have a sense of disbelief that it’s almost done. I just have a few more ounces of water, dinner to track and I will close my eyes to wake up to Day 76.
I keep thinking about Friday, September 13th. I was at lunch with my friend explaining the challenge to her, asking if she’d like to join me. We agreed to start on Monday the 16th. That could have given me pause right there–starting on a Monday. How many times had I said that?
But this time was different. I didn’t have a special restrictive diet or fast to stick to and this was more about developing mental toughness which I lacked.
The morning of Monday, September 16th came. I was in bed, contemplating an excuse to not start and then my friend sent a text. I saw her name but didn’t read it. Seeing her name was the impetus for me to roll out of bed, get dressed and take my first walk in the neighborhood. It wasn’t until I was out there that I opened the text. It was a picture of her and a message saying her first workout was done. My response: “Yes! Doing first workout now!”
I know she’ll read this and see I might have sabotaged myself on yet another Monday if she hadn’t been stronger than me that day.
So I thank her for being my partner. I thank my husband for filling up gallon water bottles, packing lunches, taking pictures and pushing me on the days when the second workout ended up beginning later than anticipated.
I owe gratitude to all the people who supported me and to God, whom I prayed to repeatedly asking for strength to finish and for a host of other things during this time.
No more words tonight.
Tomorrow may be day 76 and the challenge is over but I have a walk I want to take and a small group workout I will choose to participate in.
I am looking forward to the end but formulating what’s next. What’s the point of finishing 75hard only to return to the exact same habits as before it started?
As I’ve written before, daily walks will continue. Strength training 3-4 times a week and yoga on Sunday. The intensity may feel exactly the same but there is something comforting about working to reaching a goal without the compulsion of completing a challenge.
Besides the Trifecta goal next year, there is a weight loss goal but I don’t care as much about that as I did a couple of months ago. I want (and will have) the fitness to achieve my goals. This brings to mind another thought. Not caring what anyone thinks about my goal will be paramount to my success. Not naysayers, family, friends, my gym community or what I have come to experience most recently–the presence of a pushy online trainer on social media trying to find out exact details (like my weight) in order to give me unsolicited advice.
I will always appreciate and love support but I won’t depend on outside validation to become who I need to be to cross the line all three times in 2020.
On the 69th day, I went to a small group physical training class and the “small group” ended up being me.
I appreciated the one-on-one attention. My first real attempt at pull-ups was valiant and the success was aided by a set of bands I stood on for support. Per my new usual, I left tired but proud of the work done.
Afterwards, I met a friend for my second workout –a walk in the park. She gifted me a lovely book of poetry for my birthday.
On the back of the book there was a quote that resonated deeply with me:
“Nobody warned you that the women whose feet you cut from running would give birth to daughters with wings.”
Many women like me come from silenced women, oppressed women or women who lived as if their feet were bound or cut because of what the world brainwashed them to claim as truth.
And they did give birth to women like me and many women like my dear friend who want to live out loud, feel the earth under their feet on multiple continents, hike, climb, start their own businesses, volunteer, work, raise money, take care of their families, write books and lead without apology.
Women like me who are scared to live without the recognition of their wings.
I had a 5:30am strength class. I struggled to elephant crawl on the AstroTurf, quaking breath and wobbly arms, but it got done. I drove home, jumped out of the car and took a walk.
The long kind of meditative walk that I won’t stop taking once this challenge is over next Friday.
My mind wanders and winds as much as my feet do on these walks. So much to observe. The lonely cats. The barefoot woman who runs out to start and warm up her car before scurrying back in. The trashmen in dayglow vests dragging receptacles across the dewey grass. The children with their hoodies up and heads down, buried in their phones.
I remind myself often to pray. Say thank you, Kristina. You were blessed to wake up today. Your husband woke up today. Your family is healthy. Pray they feel loved and safe and want for nothing.
I may listen to something. But no earphones. I let the sound ring out from the depths of my coat pocket. When I started these walks 68 days ago, I anticipated my fitness changing, growing but I didn’t anticipate the gratification.
I think it’s better that way. Finding it, falling into a practice rather than entering full of assumptions. That is where the authenticity can be found.