Gym

Remember how I mentioned that Katy Perry song last night, “Teenage Dream”? Well, guess what song played at the gym this morning! It was so fun to have that happen, especially considering how that song does not usually play at the gym – nothing of its genre, even. So, that was a delightful start to the day for me.

However, speaking of the gym, I totally cried during the workout today. We were doing these deltoid press-downs with stretchy bands looped over the pull-up bars. I had attempted my left arm first. I always ask which muscles are managing movements (if I am not already sure), so that I can do the movement correctly and at all. (I’ve definitely been unable to do something simply because I was using, say, my arm muscles, when it should have been shoulder and back muscles, and then it totally worked when I got the right muscle group going.)

But something just didn’t click for me this morning – I couldn’t make the band go down. As soon as I hit the point of the band’s genuine resistance, I just could not make it go any farther. And yet, that was hardly half the distance to my body. I looked around, and saw everyone else doing it with somewhat ease. I took a step closer to the bar, to lessen the tension on the band. And then another. And I still couldn’t get my arm all the way down to my body, as we were supposed to be doing – as everyone else was doing. I was bordering on tears… from embarrassment, perhaps? I was also quite low on my sleep from the past couple nights – nightmares had plagued Sunday night, giving me minimal rest then, and last night hadn’t been much more restful, though the nightmares had mostly all gone.

The coach saw me and told me to move away from the bar. I moved a bit, and he said with more emphasis and volume for me to move, suggesting that I needed to take a huge step away. And I did, but I was beginning to panic. It is not a comfortable feeling when the body does not do as we wish it to do for something that it, by all means, ought to be able to do. Nor is it comfortable to feel oneself beginning to cry over such a simple little movement in a gym workout.

But I reminded myself that I was behind on sleep, which always seems to affect my ability to remain calm and not crying in situations. And so, I struggled and mostly failed, and then switched to the right arm, just to see if it would be any different. The band went right down. It was easy like how I had seen everyone else doing it… So something is wrong with my left side, I thought. Even more stress.

I moved on to the other activity for that round, and aimed to take a mental breather from the fact that I was supposed to do that four more rounds, and yet I hadn’t even been able to do it one time out of the 20 repetitions with my left side.

When I returned for the start of my second round, I tried again, aiming truly to figure out if there were a way that I could do it, despite my body’s not being able to do it fully as intended. A modification would be fine, if I could find one. The coach saw me again, standing too close to the bar as I attempting the modification. The earlier process had repeated, and the taunting tears from before no longer taunted, but fell forth. He was immediately in front of me, standing very close, talking calmly and gently to me, asking me what was going on, what was happening in that moment. I told him that – after a solid ten seconds of being unable to speak, for my tears – I was frustrated because I couldn’t do it. He evaluated, looking to the bar where I was, and the bar I had used the first round. This one was higher, which increased the tension, he pointed out. And I said I hadn’t been able to do it before either. The bands, too, were new, and so were harder to use than the ones we had had until recently. I told him that it was just my left side that I just couldn’t seem to make do the movement. He aligned everything for me, adjusting exactly the angle of my arm and elbow, and altering my handhold to decrease resistance.

And then I did it. I was still crying and, even, shaking, somewhat, but now there was relief in my tears, not merely stress and embarrassment. And I did it again. And I kept going. I nodded, making it clear that I was okay to continue on my own now. Before he walked away, he said to me, “You don’t need to be frustrated. You’re doing f***ing pull-ups,” and it made me laugh through my tears. He was right, after all. I was crying from stress at a tiny movement that I hadn’t been able to do, thinking I was too weak – I could do it, now that he had helped me figure it out, so it hadn’t been that I was too weak at all. And yet, after the workout today, I did three pull-ups, and attempted a fourth five or so times (making it about 90-95% of the way up each time on that fourth), wanting to get in one more than I had done after yesterday’s workout. I most certainly was not too weak.

I took one deep breathe, let it go, and I was breathing fully and easily again. I’m sure my face and eyes were still rather cry-looking for a while after that, but everyone was busy working, so I doubt anyone else even noticed. By the time I started the next round, which I was able to do with ease – relative ease, that it, as it was still hard work, but I could do that hard work now – I was fully calm and focused. While doing my left side, the coach caught my eye from across the room and gave me a visual clapping with his hands (because it was meant to be seen and not heard – there was loud music playing, after all).

I smiled sheepishly, but with immense gratitude. He is always there to encourage us to push ourselves beyond mental barriers (But he is extremely careful to keep us always safe, especially regarding physical abilities. Once, he told me, after I had cried at some back squats, never to do something that actually scared me or made me uncomfortable, where I didn’t feel safe doing it. He wants us safe, but not lazy cowards. That’s why he pushes us.), but, if ever his push of encouragement does not land as intended, he is at our side to help us how specifically we need in that moment. There was no hesitation when I started crying this morning – he saw that something was not okay for me, and his full focus was on helping me clear up whatever it was. And he did exactly that. And today was just one of the many reasons that I love this gym and its owner (today’s coach). Both because of the ridiculous song choices for the morning and for his clear love and care for me when I hit a roadblock.

Post-a-day 2021

Tuesdays for me

I am a boss at getting the silliest of things wrong and just rolling with it, even totally embracing it despite (or because of?) the error. For example, I thought the song lyrics were, “Let’s go out into the night; no regrets, just love.” As I sang that while walking with a friend down a hallway one day, he commented on ‘Aww, how cute. Hannah editing the song to make it more appropriate to sing out loud.’ We then discovered that, no, I had not been editing to make it a PG song – I had genuinely thought those were the lyrics. Though I learned the actual lyrics then and there, I have, to this day, years later, stuck to my version. I just liked it better, anyway, plus, it was hilarious that I had heard something so utterly PG in the first place.

Tonight, as I mentioned that I could wear my new pink taffy pants, as I call them, tomorrow, because, “On Tuesdays, we wear pink,” a friend commented, after I clarified that it wasn’t actually a thing, but was just “the royal ‘we'” who wore pink on Tuesdays, she said, ‘Isn’t it Wednesdays?’ I told her that I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it were. Tuesday is what had stuck in my head for some reason, – though I remember October third easily enough – probably because it rolls off the tongue more fluidly, really. I looked it up a bit later for verification, and, yes, it was Wednesdays. However, I determined that I am fully happy to continue with my Tuesdays, because 1) I’ve already been doing it for so long, and 2) obviously no one else would be doing it, so it gets to be my own absurd little trend – I get to be a part while also doing it my own way, both while being totally ridiculous in the first place. After all, who uses a quote from a movie to determine what to wear every Tuesday?

I do. That’s who. ūüėõ

Post-a-day 2021

^Yes! Easy!

Just breathe

“I’m proud of you… everything that you do… Remember that.”

As far back as I can remember, it has been a bit difficult for me to be around very old people. If they are old and alone, that hurts me already, but , once they have reached a point that their bodies are beginning to fail them openly, it is as though a switch flips in my mind, and I suddenly struggle to breathe, to function, to focus.

My grandfather is at this point. Actually, he is much beyond it. As we talked today, I had to clear myself continuously in order to remain present with him. I have begun missing him more and more in recent years, as there has been less and less of him to see, with whom to speak and interact. I have seen him grow more and more frustrated with his own brain, his own body as a whole, as he has lost ability after ability… ones which he had is such intense abundance. Indeed, he was one of the smartest and most learned people I have ever known. And he didn’t even attend college. Nonetheless, he was the best resource we had growing up – even better than our teachers on most subjects, and more efficient and detailed in his answers than an encyclopedia. He was one of my greatest inspirations as a child and young adult, and I think so much of me longed to be most like he was. And he always made it so clear that we were loved by him. In almost very action, every phrase or look, every article or comic strip he saved for us or television program or clip he recorded for us, it was clear that he loved us.

He, every so often, would call me “Honah Lee” (from “Puff, the Magic Dragon”), and still does. He’s always played around with pronunciations of words, both of English nature and foreign (e.g. jalape√Īos with a hard j and firm n). So, it was an easy step to get to calling me Honah Lee. After I had learned German, and we had long since begun to use it with one another (college and onward for me), he called me one day, and said that he wanted to share what he’d figured out so far. He then sang to me “Puff, the Magin Dragon”… in German. He had done his best to translate the lyrics. I think I might actually have cried while he sang to me over the phone. There was just something about it, I was quite overwhelmed with the expression of pure delight and love in that act. Indeed, any time he used German, I always noticed how he sparked to life, as though becoming, just for a few moments or minutes, a young child, excited for the unexpected adventure that life could and would unfold. He hadn’t been allowed to use German in school as a boy – it was forbidden by the school. It was his language of home, fun, love, and self-expression. But he hadn’t used it much beyond his childhood. And, by the time I was born he had almost never used German at all; not until I had begun learning and using it with him. And so, every time we used German together, it was like I got to know him as a child, free from the many pressures and stresses that naturally arise from adulthood, from aging. I just got to be with him. And I reveled in that.

And I still do.

However, talking with him today, discussing how, though he is to turn 91 years old in a few months, he hopes yet is not sure he will make it there, it was somewhat terrifying how easy it was to be with him. He was 100% present as we spoke about that, though is isn’t always these days. He said that he has lived a wonderful life, that he is grateful, and that he is not afraid of dying (despite the fact, as he said, that people say not to say that). I merely nodded, and cried as I said that we very much would miss having him here with us. I held his hand for a bit, and we shared multiple kisses on the cheeks and I love yous and Hab’ dich lieb’s before I had to leave.

And then, just before I had to leave, he said to me, slowly and intentionally, looking me directly in the eyes, – something he has struggled to do lately – “I’m proud of you… everything that you do… Remember that.”

And I will.

And I would not be surprised if today was the last time the two of us see one another in his life. We might see one another again, but it is not very likely. He cannot seem to eat almost anything anymore, and his body is, frankly, falling apart and shutting down on him. A could be causing B, and B could be causing A, but both are contributing to the other, and the result is the same: he does not have much likelihood of living in his physical body on this Earth for much longer.

And it’s terrifying for me.

My paternal grandfather died when I was in middle school. It was expected and not. And it was difficult yet not. The same was true of my paternal grandmother. I was in college when she died, but I was still very much in the child mentality, much more so than the adult mentality. Now, I am very much more on the adult side of life than I am on the child side, and it is an entirely different kind of experience to have this happening now. I suppose that, since my maternal grandparents had survived my childhood, something in me had felt that they would be forever present in this life. They had made it to adulthood with me, so to speak, so they were here to stay.

But they aren’t. No one is, really. But they are more obviously likely not to be here for that much longer. A small part of me had felt disappointed in myself for not providing them with what feels like would have been some of the greatest gifts I could have given them. I do not have a stable career. I do not have a partner in life. I have no children. I don’t even have a pet. I know they do not need those things for me. But that is why they would be gifts.

However, when Opa said that to me today, that he is proud of me… of everything I do…, it reminded me of why those other things have always seemed to matter. They are most often expression of success in living one’s life fully. At least, they are mostly seen that way. But, when the ultimate goal is that we live life fully… that we be true to ourselves and fully self-expressed…, I cannot say that I have failed my grandparents or that I have let them down. Indeed, I have fulfilled every wish they could have for me in relation to success in my life. All the other stuff – the marriage, the children, the house, the career – are tiny details by comparison.

I do not say this lightly nor boastingly when I say that I am one of the most loving people I know. I do not do well with keeping people at the standard ‘comfortable distance’ in life. I do not chat about the weather easily. Either I do not know you at all, or I want to know you, embrace you fully. Like Ender Wiggin said, the moment I get to know you, I get to love you. And I love loving people. It is terribly difficult and stressful for me to ‘try to get to know someone’. Just be yourself with me, let go of whatever you are hiding, let me see you, be with you…. let me love you. That’s all I want from the people around me. And that’s how I want them to see me, too – see all of me now, so that you can love me for me. Let us not waste time on pleasantries and weather. Let us dive right in, and have an absolute blast together. Indeed, that is exactly why dating is so difficult for me, why I cannot seem to ‘figure out’ how to interact with this guy with whom I went on a date recently. I don’t do surface level. I do the real you, the real me. And when people avoid that, turn or step away from it, usually in fear, it is so hard for me… it only makes me want to come even closer, that I might love you even deeper. And though this might sound like I am socially awkward, I truly am not. I can be quite quiet in certain circumstances, but I probably am the only person at the party who will know everyone else by the end of it.

And I am grateful for that. So much of who I am is love. And I have no idea what comes next for me in life. (Like… genuinely, I have no idea… please, grasp that for a moment…) But I know exactly who I am stepping forward into that unknown. And I love her and I am grateful every moment for her and for all that she is and for all that she is not. And I learned today that, more than I ever saw, my Opa feels the same way about her. He knows I’m not married, not settled in any way, not career-stable or financially stable. But he knows that I am stable, and that I am ready for whatever is through that next threshold as I step forward into it. And he is proud of that, and all that it involves. He is proud of me, of who I am, of all that he knows I will create out of who I am in this life, even though he will not be here in person to see most of it with me.

I pray only that his love, his support, his guidance help me to move forward confidently and comfortably throughout the rest of my life. I am grateful for him always. And I love him dearly, deeply, truly. Thank you, God, for allowing us the opportunity to spend so much wonderful time together in this life.

In the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Danke, Gott.

Post-a-day 2021

P.S. Frohe Ostern, folks!! Happy Easter, allen!! (Not to deny the weight of all of that ^, but it was because of Easter that I was able to spend the time with my Opa today at all. And I am grateful for that. And the Easter Egg Hunt in which I got to partake. Today really was a great day, filled with silliness and love and fun. But it also was very real one, in which, I believe, God was helping me to prepare for part of what comes next.)

Saturday morning shows?

Saturday morning. Sleep in. Relax. Restore.

And then go to the gym, right? ūüėõ

When I first joined the gym, I rarely made it to the Saturday workout, because it was at 9am. I was not a morning person. Period. Even as a child, I missed all the best Saturday morning cartoons, because I was, as my sister said, “a sleeper”. When I joined the gym, I was also deemed by the owner to be “a nooner”. And, when I walked into that noon class each day, I had only just woken up to an alarm maybe an hour earlier. For most of my life, the opportunity to sleep in usually meant I would sleep until close to noon, if not later. And that’s even if I went to bed at ten-ish the night before. At some point last year, all that shifted, my body determined that 4:00 was a good time to awaken – and that is AM – and I went ahead and adjusted my life to fit it. Now, I usually wake up before my 4:20am alarm, I go easily and gladly to the 5:15am workout, and I go to bed around 8:30-9:00pm each night. Sure, there are days that go longer than others, but I usually end up waking up at the same time, anyway, the next morning.

That being said, nowadays, when I am considering attending the Saturday workout, I just sleep on in, and then decide when I get up if I want to go. And I can do that, because sleeping in means sleeping until roughly 6:00 or so most Saturdays. If I stay up late Friday night, and I’ve been up late other nights in the given week, too, I might even sleep until around 8:00am. But that one is more rare.

In addition, there is now a 10:00am weightlifting class, which is specifically focused on building strength and on improving aesthetics. I have been purposely aiming to increase my strength…, and my physical aesthetic lately, so… I dare say that it is a class I could appreciate greatly.

Basically, that means I love my Saturday mornings now, more than ever. But not a lot of people attend the lift class. They prefer the cardio-strong class at 9am still. I don’t mind that class, but it isn’t a good idea to do both – not at this point in my body’s path, anyway – so I have to pick one. Of course, I pick the lift one. Strength is my current weakness, after all. Who else tends to do the lift class? Take the stereotype on this one, folks: men.

And so, how did I spend my Saturday morning today? I slept in (which felt amazing), and then I went to the gym for an awesome workout, which I did while being surrounded by five ridiculously fit guys who also were workout out. And most of us were shirtless…. talk about glorious, gleaming abs and muscles... Whew!

So, can a Saturday morning get much better than that? ūüėõ

Post-a-day 2021

^Man! I hesitated.

Body Image

I intentionally look at myself in the mirror, nude Рor almost entirely Рevery single day.  I look and I see all that there is to my body.  I fill myself with the experience of all that my body is, standing before that mirror.  And I love myself.  Through and through, from the tiniest hair to the German skin to the inherited bowels that are all too sensitive РI love my body for all that it is and for all that it is not.  This is my vessel, my space, my temple, my power, my source in this life.  And I am ever grateful for and in love with it.

That does not mean that I do not want to improve upon it. ¬†One can love something and still want better for it. ¬†Indeed, I believe part of loving something means always wanting better for it.¬† Such is the case with my body. ¬†Every day, as I see the improvements from only a week ago or days ago, I am grateful that I have blessed it with such love… such love as it takes to get out of bed when I want to snuggle in deeper to the cozy covers, to get myself ready for bed early enough to have enough sleep, to choose these foods over those, to deny the casual pressure of those who do not have the same intentions with their food and drink and schedule, not to take the easy route, and just to accept the current and temporary convenience of eating this standard meal that I find before me, possibly even for free.

They mean no harm to me, I am sure, but such a meal is not free for me. ¬†It has its costs. ¬†Yes, it is utterly convenient, and significantly less socially odd and, sometimes, less embarrassing. ¬†But, it is not blessing my body when I consume it. ¬†Often, it causes my body actual pain, in some small way or other. ¬†And, occasionally, it causes pain in some not-so-small ways… things I never noticed until I began to pay close attention. ¬†I always thought eating¬†meant one would feel ever so slightly ill afterward. ¬†But that is only with certain foods, with the ones that do not serve my body, that I feel that way. ¬†I have learned.

My food is my medicine РI take no other Рand it is my daily blessing that gives me the energy for tomorrow.  It gives me my strength to exercise at 5:15 most mornings, as though it were a normal hour of the day.  It gives me the nutrition I need for my deep slumbers at night to restore and improve my strength and energy.

And it is not always easy. ¬†Indeed, it often is difficult to manage getting myself the food I need, whenever I am doing things away from home, with others or alone. ¬†Even at home, it takes effort. ¬†And yet, after all this time, the effort seems like almost nothing. ¬†Why? ¬†Because it is so incredibly worth it. ¬†I don’t even have to¬†think about giving myself the right foods to serve me best, let alone thinking twice about it. ¬†All because I love and want to take loving care of my body.

My body is merely the starting place. ¬†If I am comfortable in my body, and it is ready and able for anything, then my spirit, too, with my body’s support, can take on whatever comes my way, and with a ready heart. ¬†So, as I gaze at myself in the mirror each day, easily noticing the room for improvement, I also marvel at the beauty of all that I am, of all that I have become, and of all that I see I can become… all because I love myself for exactly who and how I am. I once was afraid to see myself naked – I couldn’t stand it. ¬†Now, I look forward to that time of intimacy and being attuned to and connected in all ways with my physical self. ¬†It is one of the most beloved times of my day, and it fills me always with love, joy, and gratitude for this life and for this current step within it.

Post-a-day 2021

Why I do the hard workouts

Zachary Tellier, from what I have been able to gather from various online resources (including the military times), is listed in military memory as the following:

Army Sgt. Zachary D. Tellier

Died September 29, 2007 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom


31, of Charlotte, N.C.; assigned to the 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Sept. 29 at Firebase Wilderness, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using small-arms fire.

And, from an obituary, we have this:

FORT BRAGG — An 82nd Airborne paratrooper who pulled two comrades from a burning vehicle in April died Saturday of wounds sustained while on a ground patrol in Afghanistan, military officials said Monday.

Sgt. Zachary D. Tellier, 31, who most recently lived in Charlotte, was a combat infantryman with the 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team at Fort Bragg.

“He really just wanted to serve his country,” said wife Sara Tellier. “He felt it was something he should do with his life. … He didn’t like to be called a hero. He was very uncomfortable with that, but he was definitely very brave man.”

Sara Tellier said her husband grew up in New England, but they moved to Charlotte in 2004. He joined the military in 2005.

He was supposed to fly to Atlanta for a brief leave this month. Sara Tellier has been splitting time between Charlotte and Atlanta, where she has family.

In April, Tellier’s unit was on a mounted patrol when one of its vehicles drove over and detonated a bomb, which set the vehicle on fire, officials said.

Tellier pulled two paratroopers to safety, suffering severe burns to his hands. He was awarded the Bronze Star with valor for his actions. Tellier also had received two Purple Hearts.

After he was burned, Tellier jumped up in the turret to return fire, said Sgt. Michael Layton, a member of his unit. A lieutenant made Tellier get out of the vehicle because of his injuries.

He is survived by his wife, Sara; his father, David W. Tellier of Groton, Mass.; and his mother, Pamela Rodriguez, of Falmouth, Mass.

It is difficult to honor someone fully without having known him, and especially so, when only a small bit of text on a screen is all that is provided. ¬†I did read some of the personal notes at the bottom of the obituary page. ¬†However, they somehow felt too personal for such an outsider to be reading. ¬†Nonetheless, one stood out to me in particular, and I think it is what I was meant to see on that page. ¬†Benjamin Shields, a fellow member of the military, commented, “He¬†was one of the most selfless individuals I have ever met and I still think about him to this day.” ¬†And, when Benjamin eventually became a sergeant, he said that he did his best to model Zachary’s leadership.

Originally, CrossFit released what are called “Hero WODs” (workout of the day) to honor and to pay tribute to specific individuals who have fallen and died during active service to our country. ¬†Eventually, the fitness community around the globe began creating their own Hero WODs to honor and to pay tribute to their selected, wonderful individuals who would be missed, due to the same result of falling while serving this country. ¬†It seems Zachary Tellier was one of the second group of individuals, from what I have gathered so far. ¬†Yet his name has become known across the globe, simply because of the workout given to honor him, to pay tribute to all that he was and all that he did, as well as to all that he still today inspires in those he knew.

The workout titled “Zachary Tellier” is not an easy one. ¬†None of the Hero WODs are. ¬†And yet, yesterday morning, as I was crawling back into bed to go to sleep, to take a day of rest from my regular, difficult exercise, I saw his name listed at the top of my gym’s Workout of the Day page, and I jumped into action. ¬†I told myself inwardly to wake myself up, because we are not missing this one, no matter the oh-so-few hours of sleep we had gotten last night. ¬†This was was worth it. ¬†And my body agreed.

I arrived at the gym, excited, almost bouncy. ¬†This was Zachary Tellier, after all – how could I not be? ¬†I had donned an¬†all-black outfit with an American flag scrunchie in my hair. ¬†Today’s workout was to honor the struggles through which so many people go in order to provide for me and for my life. ¬†From the smallest to the largest, their sacrifices, their persistence, their struggles, both won and lost, are all a part of my ability to live a life I love. ¬†Just as mine affect those around me. ¬†Today’s workout was about honoring all of them, while giving special attention and gratitude to this one known but unknown individual, Zachary.

He is a reminder that even the unexpected can be faced effectively, even the worst of our fears can be faced successfully, and, even when we do fail at something, we succeed in something greater than we could have imagined.  He did not consider himself a hero, it seems.  And yet, for so many, he was just that through his daily life, through who he was as a person.  And the world is a better place because he was part of it, and because he showed up in it.

Now, that all being said, let’s look at what this workout actually is.

For Time:

10 Burpees

10 Burpees
25 Push-Ups

10 Burpees
25 Push-Ups
50 Lunges

10 Burpees
25 Push-Ups
50 Lunges
100 Sit-Ups


10 Burpees
25 Push-Ups
50 Lunges
100 Sit-Ups
150 Air Squats

Before I began at the gym, I am almost certain that I would have looked at this workout and thought,¬†No Way. ¬†It was not in the realm of the possible for myself. ¬†And, I likely would have thought that as being applicable for the rest of my life. ¬†It wasn’t just a ‘not today’ kind of thing, but a ‘not ever’ one. ¬†I would not have thought it possible for me to complete this workout in a day, let alone all at once, or even within an hour’s time. ¬†If I had attempted it, I likely would have made it ten to 12 burpees into the thing and given up. ¬†Not for me, I would have determined.

Even when we had been at the gym for almost three months, and we did this workout all together, I was concerned partway through whether I would be able to complete the thing, let alone within any set amount of time. ¬†I did knee push-ups with an ab-mat under my chest (so I didn’t have to go as low on them), and likely really sucky lunges and squats, as well as push-ups, and I genuinely wondered whether I would survive, whether I¬†could make it to the end… several times. ¬†I could barely move or breathe after about halfway through it.

And yet, I did survive. ¬†And I did finish. ¬†It took me 36 minutes and 20 seconds to finish, and my repetitions weren’t great at all, but I had done it. ¬†I had pushed through the intense struggles I was facing – not to mention the mental struggle of fitness that plagued me in the first place – and I had done the best I could, crappy, pathetic push-ups and all. ¬†And I had made it to the other side. ¬†I remember looking back on it afterward, wondering how on Earth I had done it – it had felt like the workout would never end, like I would fall to the ground, defeated long before I made it through to those squats.

Persistence, I thought. ¬†Not¬†giving up, and just going for it… just doing it. ¬†That was how I’d done it. ¬†Certainly, the community around me was encouragement in and of itself. ¬†But, I could have easily seen where I was relative to them – so painfully far behind them – and given up. ¬†Yet I didn’t. ¬†Because something was more important than giving up. ¬†Because I saw that my attitude toward this workout could be no different than my attitude toward life as a whole. ¬†How did I tend to respond when faced with a seemingly impossible task? ¬†When I was faced with intense struggle that seemed like it might not let up anytime soon? ¬†I knew how I usually responded, and it almost made me sick to my core. ¬†My breathing was heavy during that workout for more than just the physical effort it was taking. ¬†I almost always gave up, when things got hard. ¬†I ran away, avoided. ¬†I gave up so many opportunities even for¬†fear of their being too difficult – too difficult being defined as more effort than was easy to give.

This workout was just one step toward letting all of that go, and helping myself to become someone I wanted to be: someone who didn’t give up, who didn’t lose sight just because things got hard and seemed impossible. ¬†I can be strong, I can trust myself to survive, and I can make it through to the other side. ¬†After all, I already was showing myself that I could do that, simply by being at the gym that day, and each day since we had joined. ¬†All those tears shed were for the pain I was overcoming with each workout. ¬†And this one was just another, albeit a much more difficult one.

And so, in the intense heat and humidity that is always July 4th in Houston, Texas, I faced my fears and my stops in life, I pushed through and persisted, trusting myself in a way I was no longer accustomed to doing, and I completed the workout. ¬†In the tiniest of ways, I felt my success to be heroic in its own way. ¬†An inward¬†Thank you…¬†was all I could offer to Zachary Tellier after the workout, but I had meant it with all of my being. ¬†And so, though I did not know this man, and it was likely that he never would know how people across the globe, who never knew him, would be saying his name for years to come, I was grateful to him for the reminder that he forever would be for me: That I could do it, that I could survive, that I could thrive.

Now, roughly a year and nine months later, I found myself jumping out of a beloved opportunity for sleep and rest, donning an attitude of, “I can do this,” and heading into the 5:15am round of the Zachary Tellier workout with intense joy. ¬†My first time through, I had spent 36:20 on the seemingly impossible workout. ¬†The second time, exactly a year ago (nine months after the first time), it was 33:33, and I no longer used the ab-mat for my push-ups. ¬†Yesterday, though I wanted to show Zachary – as if we are buddies who meet up every time I do his workout – that I had improved upon myself, and I wanted to complete the workout faster than before, I knew that the best way to honor him and to pay tribute and true gratitude to him was to focus on my struggles. ¬†How I face this workout is how I face the world, right? ¬†So, let’s face it with confidence, excitement, and a touch of fear, ready to take on the challenge and face the unknown. ¬†In other words, I shall be my best self.

And I was. ¬†When things got really hard, I gave myself the needed breath, and got right back to it. ¬†A cry of pain or exhaustion was merely a release – like that old poster, it was weakness leaving the body – and each one allowed me to keep moving, to keep going. ¬†I knew I wasn’t in danger of hurting myself – I merely was pushing through the discomfort, the fears, the doubts, the impossibilities I had placed upon my own mind. ¬†I still was one of the last ones to finish, but I hardly even noticed that. ¬†It wasn’t about that. ¬†It was about my attitude and what I did in the face of the struggles. ¬†And, because of that, I had an amazing time. ¬†I was baffled when I saw the clock was only at 28:00 exactly after my final air squat. ¬†That was a 16.5% increase in speed from last year, and 23% faster than the first time. ¬†And isn’t that spectacular? ¬†Especially for a workout that had once seemed an impossibility for me.

I had initially intended to talk merely about the difficulty of this workout here, and yet, here we are, having talked first about the man for whom it was named, and then the workout itself… ¬†I suppose that man is half the reason my heart is in it, though, so it only makes sense. ¬†Without his name, it merely would be a list of activities. ¬†With his name, however, it gains a life of its own, and it reminds me to work on myself so that I might serve others in my world through my life. ¬†When I improve on this workout, I can see how, through my physical fitness and mental growth, I am better able to serve and to love those around me, better able to be patient, to endure, to work through the pain of what once seemed impossible. ¬†I can see how I am better able to be my best self.

Post-a-day 2021

Feel the burn

Today, I got to spend some in-person one-on-one time with a dear friend of mine. ¬†She and I have not spoken much lately, because, whenever we do talk, it usually lasts a couple hours or more, and I tend to think of calling her when it is a little too close to bedtime for such a long call. ¬†And our schedules have been kind of opposite – I go to bed early, and she late – which hasn’t helped her be able to reach me either. ¬†We just both accepted that we were in a bit of a scheduling break (break due to scheduling, that is). ¬†

We used to spend at least one evening a week together, spending quality in-person time with one another and a few other good friends. ¬†Then, we actually lived together. ¬†And then I moved away, then back… the latter of which happened right before¬†she moved away. ¬†(Not too far, but far enough that even weekly hangouts were out of the question. ¬†So, instead, we talk on the phone a lot, which is actually quite nice.

Anyway, today, we spent time together in person.  And it was amazing.

The other day, I had almost cried when someone held my hand – it was a surprise for me to have such a reaction, but it was an important but near-forgotten sensation from what feels like oh-so-long-ago. ¬†I was nearly overwhelmed by the feeling, by the comforting warmth and pressure in just the right place. ¬†Just as our hands were growing slightly damp in the middle, and my insides were breathing with pure comfort and delight at this specific, if odd, comfort from so many moments in my life, he dropped my hand. ¬†Naturally, I went a bit crazy in my mind about the possibilities as to why he did that. ¬†And I don’t just mean then. I mean mostly afterward, and borderline obsessively. ¬†(Fortunately, I can acknowledge when it has been enough, and I can just let it all go, but I certainly allow myself to delve, if only for a short time.) ¬†From a logic standpoint, it was likely¬†due to the sweat that he dropped my hand, although it was because of the sweat that I was so filled. ¬†

Nonetheless, as I considered this over the next couple days, I began to see how much I had not seen regarding my need for physical comfort.  My brain, body, and psyche need physical contact to survive, not just to thrive.  And I have been getting by on the absolute bare minimum lately, and so certainly not thriving.  Life has been just that much harder because of it.

And so, this evening, as that all was not news to this friend, I was given a good, solid rub-down.  Her strong, firm, warm hands placed intentional, loving pressure on my back, both massaging my muscles and giving me comfort.  Then she purposefully rubbed all along my arms and each finger, my neck and shoulders, and each leg.  I asked her to treat me like a dog, and give me a rub-down, and she did.  And it was extremely comforting at the time.  Then, further along in our hanging out together, rather than just giving hug after hug at things, we just sat together in an embrace, I somewhat in her lap, arms around her waist.  Her strong arms held me tight around my shoulders and back, as my head pressed against her upper chest, and she rested her chin atop my head.

When she had first arrived, there was no doubt in either of our minds that I was struggling. ¬†I have a lot of things causing stress in my daily life at the moment – a¬†lot. ¬†And those things have begun taking a greater hold of my attention each day, as their volume and significance have increased. ¬†Now, about to go to sleep, I don’t necessarily notice¬†feeling any specific way, but that I notice a¬†lack of something. ¬†There is something gone that was previously here, weighing me down. ¬†I am not tense and stress-y, clenching somehow with my whole being. ¬†I am comfortably standing, wide-legged, shoulders totally chill and relaxed, breathing very calm and easy, all without effort. ¬†Now, I am merely getting ready for bed. ¬†I see those things that have been stressing me, but they are just something I see – they are not taking me over anymore. ¬†I am breathing easily, without restriction or strain (that, though I could push through them, they certainly were there before).

And I can breathe, simply because my body can handle it all again.  My skin and muscles and hair follicles were rejuvenated by her hands and arms, and they are all breathing freely once again.  All because I got a rub-down.

It may sound silly, but there’s a reason that has become an actual job in some countries – people need it. ¬†Remember, babies die without physical contact. ¬†It’s a wonder we haven’t come up with something for this for people sooner, I suppose.

Man…

Post-a-day 2021

^Meh… got it, but had to consider

Like a lead balloon…

I have been weighted today by thoughts of what to do about a past situation. I was speaking with a friend about something casual, this past stuff came up in the conversation, and we paused the original conversation and tangented to this past stuff. I felt completely safe in the conversation, yet I was suddenly growing very nervous, and then stupid on behalf of my past decisions. This friend is a lawyer. Based upon the questions he began to ask me, I knew I suddenly was speaking to the lawyer at work.

And it worried me.

Today, I asked my mom for her brief thoughts on the benefits of genuinely speaking to this friend about the past stuff, intentionally discussing it with him as a lawyer, and considering whether 1) legal action could be taken, and 2) legal action would be the best thing to do. To this point, I had dismissed it all – if someone else brought it up, sure, I’d join the group. But I wasn’t going to do anything legal on my own. For many reasons, really…

However, I also never felt comfortable discussing it all, especially with a lawyer.

It is possible that it is all irrelevant now, as nothing can be done legally. However, I think it is important for me to have that conversation with the lawyer friend to find out how things stand first, and then I can go forward from there. No more wondering or worrying. At last, I can know for sure.

………

Not the lightest of material to have growing in my mind while having lunch with a guy (the same guy from Friday, actually). It was actually during lunch, when I was struggling to use my brain on any topic other than the legal one, that I determined to speak with the lawyer friend, and I went ahead and sent him a message to ask for that opportunity. That helped my brain clear a bit. When he soon afterward replied in the affirmative, I noticed an immediate physical and mental release and relief. There is still much unknown around it all, but I have steps to take now, and I know what my next one is.

It’s a bit of a bummer that I was talking in circles over lunch, though, unable to fathom what people might talk about with another person, let alone contribute much myself to the conversation. He’s a sweet guy, though, and I think he’ll forgive me as a person. I told him I had something unexpected on my mind today, and he seemed to accept that. Perhaps we shall see!

Post-a-day 2021

Ready, blow

Are there seriously people who don’t pick their noses? I don’t see how they can get through life comfortably without picking their noses. When the air is so dry, and it creates that painful layer, there is no moisture to ease it out of the nostrils by merely blowing it out. It must be scratched or grabbed. The same is true with some of the not-so-dry stuff, and the small pieces that end up fluttering but staying put when we blow.

I just don’t get it. We grow up feeling it is wrong to do, but I kind of find it rather necessary at times. Picking one’s nose ought to be an acceptable activity, even as an adult.

Granted, my now-step-ish-brother used to pick his nose with his tongue as a kid, and then eat it. I can still see him doing it. Now, that is gross. (Though, I’m not so sure it had any actual harmful effects, and it rather could potentially boost the immune system, so it might not be such a bad idea, health-wise…) However, using a nail to clean out a nostril, and then washing the nail-finger-hand involved has no reason not to be allowed in life.

I mean, why are they the perfect size, if they aren’t meant to go up one’s nose? Same with the ears, really…

Just sharing. Hashtag Nose-Picking: not just for kids anymore? ūüėõ

Post-a-day 2021

Tomorrow is…

Monday!

(!!!!!!!!!!)

And I can hardly wait.

(!!!!)

That being said, I also got clear tonight that this could also just be an opportunity for me to be able to date, for me to learn how not to let fear stop me from being myself in such a relationship opportunity. Also, it could just be giving me a friend. And it could be giving me one of those friends I’ve secretly wanted for so long, where we get to be completely loving as friends, and we have a history of dating and being loving in a different way.

It doesn’t have to be it or disaster. And I think this person is very likely to be wonderful, no matter the circumstances.

Though I still find it difficult not to begin down that ever-deepening swirl of my not being good enough and therefore being rejected by someone I like, I am doing better than ever at catching myself at the edge, well before falling (or diving) into it, and turning myself upward and outward to the light of my inner soul and who I truly am.

I am wonderful, and wonderfully amazing, too. I deserve immense and intense love, just as I give it. I am made for it, I do believe.

That being said, I am still very excited about tomorrow’s being Monday, at last. ūüėČ

Post-a-day 2021

^I still keep wanting to put 2020