Wings

Wings

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.

Walk

Walk

Day 68 of 75hard.

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.

There’s More

There’s More

I am home now. I feel my muscles vibrating and my heart still pumping several minutes after class is over. This Afterburn class is designed to destroy limits. All of the strength training classes I am taking are also designed for this purpose but tonight was something else… mountain climbers, push-ups, burpees, lunges, touchdown squats and something I had never heard of…Figure 8’s?

As I was winding a kettlebell through my legs, up back to my chest and back through my legs on the other side, there were many audible grunts. Another class member and I “competed” in pulling an infinity rope machine through 10 rounds at the end of the session. I thought I had nothing left when she asked us to do it. Did she not see my sweat and hear my heavy breath?

But when she called time, I pulled as if I had a shot in beating this very fit man next to me.

What’s occuring to me is that just when I think I have nothing left, just when I think I should be passed out on the gym floor, my will shows up.

There’s almost always more left.

The tank is only empty if I tell myself it is. If I set myself up with enough sleep, water, the proper food and vitamins, then it is possible.

I can give more of myself.

 

Devotion

Devotion

Went to yoga today. Hot Vinyasa yoga. I worked to quiet my mind and devote this practice to myself. I prayed in my time. I thought about how loud and angry someone on our hotel floor was around 2:30am. I thought about the walk Hubby and I took straight from the highway to the track. I asked my body for forgiveness for not moving it consistently for so long. I asked my body for forgiveness for almost never stretching it. As I eased my feet up the wall of the studio, I became aware of  the inflexibility of my body and hoped after many months, the rigidity will be a distant memory.

As our guide (as she liked to be called) sprayed lavender water at our feet, my nostrils and my brain wakened, appreciative of the freshness and cleansing properties of the aroma.

She also shared a closing story with us to center our hearts and minds on gratitude. A story about a whale, freed from nets and traps by divers.

I held back tears.

Not sure why. But by the end of class, I knew I would be back.

Afterburn

Afterburn

I don’t have much to say except for the strength training class I took tonight lived up to its name. Burpees, swimmers, steps, dumbbells, TRX, kettle bells and the return of the foam roller. I didn’t feel as nervous for the second class and the instructor was just as positive and encouraging as the last one. I am actually starting to look forward to the next one on Friday morning.

I am exhausted but it is worth it. Last night before I went to bed, all I felt like doing was working on my short story and I scribbled furiously into my notebook, trying not to forget any details I needed to get down. Tonight, I foresee passing out, happy with no intention of writing but hopeful everything I am investing in my body today will manifest as energy and creativity on many more tomorrows.

First Day

First Day

Today was my first day of strength training class. My plan is to go 3-4 times a week in preparation for my first Sprint race. Even though I am not a complete novice to weight training, I never have regularly done it.

Before class, I had a serious case of nerves. I knew everything would be fine but I told Hubby I felt like a little kid on the first day of school. I jokingly asked him to drop me off at class and wave at me from the window.

When I arrived, a group of three was preparing for class. Everyone was obviously already familiar with one another but they were all welcoming. My nerves bubbled up again as they seemed ready to jump into the workout but the instructor had already assured me I would get some personal attention.

Her patience was real and as soon as I felt it, I calmed down and my focus narrowed to concentrating on learning the movements. I completed the class and afterwards we spent time with the foam roller which was a new experience for me. Painful but I definitely see the necessity.

I am hoping every teacher is as lovely as this one but if not, I am still willing to show up. My curiosity is driving the bus these days. It wants me to see if I turn into the kind of woman who loves weightlifting and will be able to scale walls, swing from bar to bar and hang a finisher’s medal around my neck.

Perfect Day

Perfect Day

I just had a day I wish I could have once a week. I took a three-hour writing class entitled “Pens Up, Fears Down” taught by Sadeqa Johnson. A friend of mine also attended (a lovely surprise). After class, I was invited to a lunch by her that she already had planned with another close girlfriend of mine.

When the day began, it was a bit of a struggle to tear myself away from the bed. I strained  my left ankle jamming my foot into the sneaker but told myself it would be ok once I got going. Thankfully, I was right.

Recently at the tail end of my walks, I have shifted into a jog. I was being tender with my ankle so I rolled it around a bit and decided today I would continue this new tradition. I ended up jogging longer than I had since this began!

Even though I overestimated how much time I had to get ready before class, I still made it for all of the writing prompts. Before class, my hunch was Sadeqa’s style of teaching and the community of writers gathered would reignite my fire for writing fiction.

It took a couple of prompts but I finally started to tell the story that’s been a bit of an obsession for me lately. That story has been trying to find a place on the paper for a couple  months now but I have been avoiding it.

I think I found the start of a couple of short stories or a novella. I love when I make space for a story and it lets me know it has found its home when the pen hits the page.

The fact that I got to cap this writing experience off with a lunch with two of my beautiful writer friends was perfection. We should have taken a picture but I am pleased we were too absorbed in one another to break the spell of lovely, flowing conversation to do so.

I am in the middle of day 55 of 75hard (with water to drink, pages to read, a picture to take and a workout to complete) and day 9 of bloglikecrazy. Days like this wear me out in the best way.

I am back home. I will take a few minutes to lie down and reflect on this most perfect day.

Then I will get on with the rest of the work because I have to show up for Day 56 and Day 10 no matter how it shows up for me.

Trust

Trust

I was recently asked what I was doing to take care of myself.

I paused and realized I didn’t have a good answer. I am unable to take the writing class I want at this time. The additional work I have taken on is worth it however, I have not yet struck a balance yet. Balancing work, home life, exercise and adequate rest. So I am making time right now to write, with eyes half closed, Sixers game in the background, contemplating reworking the poem I wrote yesterday.

I may have slowed down but not to a stop. I am also not discouraged. Maybe letting go of the pressure to post so often has been the self-care I need. I think there was a part of me that would have felt forgotten and all of my hard work would have somehow washed away if I took the break that I needed.

But that is just clinging to fear which serves no one, least of all me.

I am going to trust myself. Trust the writer I know I am and the audience who will find me.

 

Proud

Proud

Last night’s class confirmed my revelations from last week about needing to slow down. It was the first time I felt like the conduit my characters were speaking through that my teacher always refers to.

This week taught me to trust what I am learning even when I doubt my ability to do it. I decided to submit the short story I wrote for class. Not only because it was well-received but because I was proud of the work. Proud of the work I put in and proud I finally listened to characters that were asking for a voice.

Slowing Down to Give More

Slowing Down to Give More

Yesterday, I had pages critiqued I sent to my classmates on Sunday evening. I chose to rework what I had written in response to the prompt “I lied when I said.” The critiques opened me up to a multitude of ways to address how I want to proceed with my novel. One of which was to try to turn it into a short story about 25 pages in length.

Even though I recognized it before, when I write I want to rush. Racing to get to the end I was envisioning as I begin to write is the culprit. The result is leaving my readers wanting more, more setting, more background information, what was he/she wearing?

More questions.

I don’t know why I have been in a rush to materialize an ending.

So that is what I will be working on using this week’s prompt. Slowing down to craft a more complete piece. To leave readers needing less when it’s all said and done.