Two years ago, right after my first year in graduate school, I finally elected to have the two knee surgeries (one on each leg) that I had been needing for several years. The pain was waking me up at night, and especially in the Missouri cold, even walking was often a chore, to say nothing of lifting, running, and coaching. I took this photo merely two days out of surgery, and I remember being so exhilarated about being able to (carefully) work on one-legged squats so soon. This photo reminds me that I am a hard worker, I am tough, I am resilient in the face of hardship, and I have what it takes to overcome what can seem like impossible odds. I have survived what started out to be a pretty rotten year, and I am so excited to discover what is left to come. <3
“Though she be but little, she is fierce.” I may be (very) tired right now, but I am strong and I am a hard worker. Things are coming together, and I hope ***fingers crossed*** that something big is about to happen for me in my career. And if not, I’ll just keep on lifting big people. =)
Last month, I agreed to do a sample shoot for the catalog of a company in which my freelance employer invests. The product, a line of collegiate-branded women’s sleepwear, seemed right up my alley (seriously, who doesn’t love pajamas??), though it had been a while since I’d done a shoot. Although it was fun (my photographer, Tara Arseven, was just wonderful: personable, intelligent, and funny), the experience was a good reminder that I simply am not keen on attempting to use my appearance to make a living when I could (less stressfully, and with fewer creepers) use my talents to do the same. If nothing else, some of the attire was just skimpier than I am comfortable being photographed: about the least I’m okay with wearing tends to be a sports bra and spandex shorts for a sports-related shoot.
He (my freelance boss) wanted to do a re-shoot with another photographer as well, and had talked about me rebuilding my portfolio, but it felt good to be able to say with certainty that I would prefer to focus on my writing/editing/marketing and that I’m not interested in any sort of modeling right now.
There were some nice images, including the ones I’ve posted here…but what I really liked about the shoot was the glimmer of my genuine smile coming back (not counting the one with the straddle hold below: my face was showing the strain of holding the position, but cool athletic things >>> being attractive). For me, this was evidence of the fact that hard times don’t last forever: I was bound to be back to my old self again, just better, stronger, wiser, and hopefully kinder than ever before. Hurt doesn’t have to last forever.
This is the face of a woman who straight put. in. work. at the gym last night. Maybe it was the pre-workout (or the spinach ravioli, which was delicious), or maybe it was just time for me to feel badass again, but either way, everything went awesome last night. I felt inspired to try all these things I had never done before, along with knocking out some difficult reps of those I had (but not since waaay back in college), and was so surprised (though maybe I shouldn’t have been?) when I could actually do them!
I’ll have to take photos (or videos) of some of those experiments, but I learned last night that I could do a pike hold on the ground, and I think I’m prettyyy close to being able to do a press-handstand. 🙂 I also just got in a bit of a “flyer” mood and decided to climb on the squat racks and do cheer-esque things, since they didn’t have any stools I could use for that. No staff members saw and asked me to hop off though, so until that happens, I’ll just keep doing that sort of thing when I get in the mood.
One plus to being able to lift heavy weights and do complicated things that require a lot of flexibility and stability is that when men stare at me at the gym, it’s much less uncomfortable because they usually aren’t just “creeping.” And if they are, I comfort myself by grabbing the bench/rack next to them and throwing on more weight than they’re using, so there’s that. 😉 But it’s a nice feeling to have people come comment on what I’m doing, ask questions, etc. rather than just stare at my ass, ask me out, or ask if I “need help” with something (I don’t). I’d really love to find a workout partner, but hopefully that will happen soon!
I took this photo before going to the gym earlier this week. It’s been interesting, because during the course of coaching 15-20 hours a week plus being so stressed by everything to do with the precursors to the breakup, I lost more weight and size than I realized.
When I pulled clothes together for my job interview, I realized that my “post-surgery office clothes” no longer fit me anymore. That’s (mostly) a good thing, although I’ve really got to take care that I’m eating enough going forward. Usually I eat plentyyy, but my stress response includes an appetite that is cut to nearly nothing.
Anyway, I’ve lost inches all over. My waist is back down to 25.5-26, depending on the day, and my hips went from a 39.5 (yes, my lower body gets huge for my very petite size) to a 37. As long as I’m still gaining in strength, I’m fine with that, but I don’t know that I want to get as tiny as I was in high school! My weight is sitting at about 118 right now, and I think I’m good as long as I don’t get below about 110.
How has your own journey toward health, fitness, or strength been going this year? Have you been able to keep up with your New Year’s resolution, or did you hit a snag this month?
We elderlies decided to play around a bit after six hours at the gym tonight. After the last two weeks I’ve had, this was exactly what I needed. ❤️ Nothing complicated, but here’s one of my fellow coaches and I going for a walk-in hands to heel stretch:
This post isn’t particularly inspiring or exciting, but I took this photo last Saturday when I hit the gym and noticed that my “coaching delts” are certainly back in full-force. People often are surprised that coaching alone keeps my upper body in such good shape, but that just goes to show that they often don’t understand what goes into the job! For a great many reasons that go beyond physical fitness, I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be a coach. It makes me happy, and it flat-out just makes me a better person all-around.