Happy Monday! Monday is our favorite day around here, because it’s the day when the Cherubs go to school to spend seven hours learning all the things from people who aren’t me. They love it, I love it, it’s good for all involved. And it moves us toward the one big goal I have left in parenting – Say it with me now:
ON TRACK FOR GRADUATION!
[That might sound sarcastic, and maybe it was when I first started saying it. But now it’s a goal I’m focused on intently, because it’s something real and solid on which they can build their lives. So a moment of thanks & a great big emoji heart for every teacher out there who is instructing my Cherubs today.]
And wow, you guys. I’m overwhelmed by your responses to Friday’s post. I’d put off writing that for MONTHS because I was so ashamed, frustrated, exasperated, and not exactly thinking in crisp, descriptive prose as I struggled to find my way. But you reminded me that so many of us have some version of this same story – the reality that This is not my dream, but it is my life. Thank you.
I just started this book, Getting Grief Right: Finding Your Story of Love in the Sorrow of Loss, and I think it might be good for this conversation. It debunks the whole 5-stages-of-grief-you-need-to-get-through-in-6-months insanity, and talks more about the way our minds make sense of trauma. I’ll keep you posted.
And over the next few weeks I’ll share (read: admit to) some of the things that have helped me in all this chaos and disappointment. Because there have been a few key things, some really unexpected and random, that have kept me in the game.
Brace yourself, because today’s post is about How Working Out Saved My Brain. I wish Potato Chips had Saved My Brain. Or Watching Documentaries About Fleetwood Mac. But no; those soothed, but couldn’t save. So here we are in the post I NEVER imagined writing, about MY FITNESS JOURNEY. Gosh, I’m cringing already. But here we go…
A year ago, in a desperate swirl of lost sleep, aching muscles, and clothes I couldn’t fit in to, I started working out. Like really working out: At a gym, with heavy weights, three times a week.
Now before you roll your eyes and consider exactly how much you’ll hate me if I “rebrand” my blog into the “GET FIT WITH TRISH!” motivational extravaganza, with pictures of me doing Cross Fit in a cement bunker in a bikini, let me set the record straight about how this has gone:
- I gained fifteen pounds in the three years we’d had The Cherubs. I looked like I’d given birth to them at their actual ages of 10 & 13.
- Then I started an intensive program of high intensity lifting.
- I kept at it for a year, adding a solid layer of muscle.
- At the end of which…I’d GAINED ten more pounds.
- And injured myself from slamming things too hard.
- I’ve been in physical therapy for 9 weeks now.
- Which is awesome, because for shoulder & elbow injuries? PT = massage! (*Win)
- But also means I have almost 2 feet of “Rock Tape” stuck to my left arm, which is a unique fashion look for all occasions. (*Not a win)
- And now, because I can’t lift weights with my left hand, I work out, in front of other people, wearing a weight vest designed for a 6′ man. I’m a 5’4″ woman swathed in Rock Tape.
There, do you like me again?
So yeah, The poster on the front of the gym featuring a client that lost half her body weight? That’s not me. But the about-to-scream-ready-to-cry-any-minute basket case that walked in last year? That’s not me either. And that’s worth every plank I’ve done while whispering expletives under my breath :)
Working out when life is this intense isn’t about weight loss. It’s about giving the frustration and fury a way to exit my body. I slam sandbags, push a sled back & forth like a confused reindeer, and (on a bad day) could easily chuck a kettle bell through a plate glass window. I don’t. But I could.
If you’re stressed right now and aren’t doing any sort of movement, that’s okay. You probably don’t want to and I get that. But know that it’s there if you need it. It’s an option. If you’re not sleeping well and/or have that awful feeling where you just sort of ache all over? This will help more than you expect.
You don’t need weight loss goals (One of the funnier conversations I had with my trainer was the night he pushed me about the importance of having honest fitness goals, so I got honest and blurted, “My goal is to survive!” “Okay then!” he said. “We’ll work on that!”)
You don’t need fancy equipment. All you really need is a Pump Up The Jam playlist and a half hour. Run, walk, lift, boogie, hike up a hill and say swear words under your breath, or watch the “Debbie Reynolds’ workout video” (which clearly involved drinks before filming) and laugh while you “build your bazoogas.”
To do these impossible things we’re all doing, we need to feel a whole lot better than most of us feel. It does NO GOOD for the outer us to look fabulous if our inner experience is misery. Working out pulls me up out of that pit, and it can pull you up, too.
Okay, that’s the beginning and end of my career as a fitness blogger. Thanks for bearing with me. I’ll be back soon with ideas one can do from the couch while sipping a beverage :)