My hot Vinyasa yoga teacher read a gorgeous piece at the end of class. I should have asked who wrote it because I cannot seem to find it. I will ask next week. The sentence “Turn your face to the sun” repeats several times. It was a charge to be more grateful, acknowledge all of the smiling eyes and prayers made on your behalf no matter the trial.
I needed the encouragement. Though it wouldn’t usually bother me, I felt a sense of shame not being able to get into many of the poses. I felt exposed, as if I was a fraud. The insecurity of having “too much” body. Believe me, I know better but the feeling arose a few more times even after telling myself to shake it off and that those thoughts do not get to make a home here.
This is my quiet time. My prayer time. My stretch time. My solo practice in the midst of all of these sweaty, bendy bodies. Even though I was never completely settled, the piece spoke to my insecurities and reminded me of why I intend to keep coming.
Why I intend to keep coming after all of it –the last 5 days of 75 hard, the last week of bloglikecrazy, teaching, writing and training for Spartan.
It became a little too warm in my part of the building this afternoon. I figured if I’m going to be hot, it might as well be because of the sun beating down on this body. I took a walk around the neighborhood. I stopped in front of an art studio a couple of blocks away and admired the flowers placed out front.
It’s funny the difference a week can make. I was riddled with anxiety the week before and today, I am taking pictures of flowers.
I hope the day I had today is burned into my memory. Burned because I need to remember days like this exist when the reality I am facing is heartbreaking. Burned because I am blessed to have days like this.
Let me not forget there are those who are sick, who lack clean water, are locked in cages, imprisoned unjustly and those who are fighting for their freedom.
Not that I don’t have the right to mourn or be frustrated but I am embracing the adage that perspective is everything.
There was a turn of events this morning. My husband didn’t feel well so I sent him back to bed instead of going to church. So, while he slept the day away, I drank my green smoothie and read more of The Hollywood Commandments by DeVon Franklin. You know that feeling when you are reading a book and you can’t grab the highlighter fast enough. That was me this morning. I am all about his “Pray and Prepare” motto. I spent so many years wishing and praying for things to change, not fully realizing God is not going to help me do the things I am perfectly capable of doing myself. I can lean on Him for inspiration, guidance and comfort but the work? That starts with me. I view every blog post, pitch email, query, sentence written in my book, fellowship application, poem, short story and published piece as preparation for what is to come.
Green smoothie with nectarines, apples, hemp seeds and coconut water
Continuing to read “The Hollywood Commandments” by DeVon Franklin
I am learning how much it doesn’t matter whether or not each attempt ends in a positive result. The process is worth it.
I mentioned yesterday I had a guest post to write and submit. I wrote it and sent it off! It was one of those pieces that I felt some frustration with when I started but once I put earphones in with classical music, the words poured out of me. Regardless of the outcome, I am proud of the work.
I felt ready to take on one workout today. I did a walking video. There was some coughing, so I slowed down. Afterwards, I stood outside on my balcony. I needed to spend time in the sun, taking in fresh air. It was a good day.
This has been the hardest by far. If I had a word for today, it would be resistance. I am not sure it is worth trying to figure out why. My husband and I went to a late movie last night and didn’t wind down until almost 2:00am. I had a great time and I don’t regret it. However, I am sure in the deep recesses of my mind, I am sure I told myself the lie that I would get up before church and walk. I slept until the very last minute and then some.
My husband and I stopped by a juice bar which was refreshing but I knew I needed to drink some water. I got home and still didn’t do it. I ate and ended up passing out on the couch without a drop to drink. When I woke up, I was determined to make up for my laziness earlier. I felt achy and tired and my mind was screaming for this to be the day that I blog about the one day I failed and I would just wake up tomorrow and try again. But that is something I am used to telling myself.
I went out and walked twice as long and have finished about half of my water intake. And I will workout with my 5lb weights in a couple of hours. I just don’t want to slip up unless there is an absolute real emergency. And as I write this, I am reminded of how much I have been given. I have breath, arms and legs, presence of mind and I am safe.
There are so many others who cannot say the same. I am thinking of those trying to escape flooding in Texas, those who struggle with debilitating physical and mental health issues, those children who live in food insecurity and so much more. I am taking all that I have and making it into something good. Something worthwhile. I owe it to myself. I cannot even give more of myself, to my husband, family, writing and the community in which I live until I do that, live up to all that has been given to me.
I am releasing this spirit of resistance. It certainly does not serve me well.
Stay tuned for Day 6!
Comment below on how you combat resistant thoughts.
I was wiped out last night but I was able to throw back the covers a lot easier this morning. My body knew what it had to do. I knew if I seriously contemplated saving my first workout for later on that a second workout might never happen. As for my water intake, that is going a lot better than I anticipated. Immediately jumping up for more water took the how I am going to drink enough question right out of the equation. I feel so much cleaner and a little less foggy. The only feeling I can compare it to is when I cut meat and dairy from my diet. After a couple of days of grogginess and fatigue, it is like I am breathing a different air and although I may not look like it, I am light as the air I am breathing.
As I was walking, I rounded the laps a little faster. It was all Mos Def, Kendrick and Jidenna in my ears today. No big aha moments. I just felt like I was right at home, feet crunching the gravel and soreness in my legs. After a green smoothie and hours at work, I came home and uploaded another Afrifitness video. This time it was two short videos, one with weights. I realized as much as I do not love strength training, I must do it. I can do cardio on my own but ask me to look at a weight lifting machine and something inside just shuts off and powers down. So, I will start with videos like these and see where the journey takes me.
Water and Green Smoothie
Loving these Afrifitness videos!
I thought when I started to write about Day 3 nothing would come out. I would write a simple checklist. But a challenge is just more than just that. It is an unfolding, an unveiling, a test of character, even if it is drinking water, moving myself twice a day and writing about it every day.
All I can say is that I am glad that I am writing about this challenge or I would have stayed snuggled up under the covers this morning. Not a single drop of sunshine would have seen these cheeks before I had to go to work if it were not for that.
But I am doing this challenge and committing to writing about it so I threw those covers back and got going. I thought I would be sore but maybe my will to “feel the pain and do it anyway” masked whatever would have sidelined me. I am so glad I got out there. It comes as no surprise that there were no regrets about not just exercising but keeping my word to myself.
It was a little bit of bliss. My energy was elevated. I love when my mind shuts down and I allow whatever I am listening to wash over me. I also find that’s when realizations come to me. Yesterday, while I was working out to Afrifitness the words “Water-Workout-Write” came to mind. I knew I was going to be doing this challenge and out of nowhere W’s started appearing while I was dancing.
Today, it was Les Brown’s words floating in my ears that brought forth words I had started to let slip from an unfinished post a few weeks back. I was writing about roads not taken. He was speaking about how inaction in and of itself was a choice made. Roads not taken in my life are not full of regret but I would be a liar if I claimed I never wondered how different my life would have looked if I had not moved to Tidewater post-undergrad or chose not to buy a home and travel more instead.
But I don’t dwell in what ifs because so many blessings came through those choices.
Doing this challenge means wonder will not occupy space in me. No inaction.
I was on the track walking and then I began to pick it up and jog. I heard myself breathe. Hard. Nothing polite about it. I always realize how much I miss this feeling when I start over again. And again.
To give you some background, in the early 2000’s I lost 70lbs. I ran 3-4 miles a day and I eventually became a vegetarian for two years. After a period of loneliness and depression post-undergrad, I gained all the weight back plus more. I have been fighting this battle ever since then. I have been on tons of diets, adopted a myriad of short-term lifestyle changes, only to let the old habits slide back in again. One thing I have never done or even allowed myself to think is this:
I am just going to give up. This is how I am suppose to be.
And when my face and body started to flake, peel and scar and the dreaded fibroids were found in my body, I began to pay less attention to numbers on a scale and more to the quality of what I was eating and imbibing. It has been an imperfect journey to say the least but I know one thing for sure. I am never giving up. I am saying yes to the whole foods, the sun, the joy that writing brings me, and hearing myself breathe hard.
And without a doubt, I hold dear the memories I have of myself in my early twenties. But that Kristina had her moment in the sun.
I wrote about knowing what I need to do and committing to myself last week. I had to take a hard look at myself at week’s end and ask if I lived up to the commitment with everything I have in me. The answer was No. And then I asked myself what do I do with that? I can be as self-aware as I’d like but without execution it just fades in and out, coming to the surface until I tuck it back underneath again.
With my look back, I took action. The last couple of days, I embraced nourishing myself the right way consistently, with whole foods and imbibing green smoothies and taking myself outside and letting the sun brush my skin. I have no crystal ball nor do I want one but I am hoping I am leading myself towards a total healing with bountiful energy. The exhaustion of worrying about psoriasis and all the many scars it leaves, visible to the eye or not, redness and raised bumps that ravage the brown on my face and arms and feeling ill at ease will be long forgotten memories in time. I am counting on it because I am not just closing my eyes and wishing.
I do not live in a fairy tale.
The dust I sprinkle on this beautiful mess is sweat and stillness and emerald-colored concoctions and prayer and oh so much love and forgiveness for this body.