Tag Archives: strength

The fear of ‘too good.’

On my drive to the airport this morning (now almost seeming to feel like yesterday! long day!), I got the overwhelming fear of ‘too good.’ Of my life, at this very moment (despite my sadness at saying goodbye to M at the airport), that it feels too good. For too long. And something is bound to give.

The other shoe to drop.

The fear of ‘too good.’

I silently prayed. For safety. For M, my family…me. And for faith. To *not* fear the worst and instead, go forward thinking the best. But sometimes, it’s hard to wrap my head around ‘the best’ because I feel like my life is the best. Yes, I worked for it. Damn hard. Yes, I fought for it. Damn hard. And yes, I deserve it. Damn straight I do. But sometimes, I fear that I don’t deserve it. That something is bound to happen. That I am ‘due’ for a lesson. A tough road. A path I may not want to walk down.

Maybe it’s the fear of complacency. That fear is deep within because I became so complacent with my life, for almost a decade before I was slapped upside the head with reality .Divorce. Starting from scratch. Losing what I thought was the best life then. And little did I know all that would unfold in front of me that would blow that life out of the water.

So why do I fear it still? Is it natural? Maybe. Is it lack of faith in God, in myself, in my life? Maybe…just a little bit. And I hate to admit that, because it screams failure, weakness and lacking in faith, to its very core.

But maybe that fear is what keeps me in check. Maybe I needed to fear the worst, to worry that things were tipping towards ‘too good’ and it would now swing back. Maybe if I didn’t feel fear of the ‘other shoe to drop’ – it would drop. Because of complacency.

Or maybe, it’s a combination of complacency and checks and balances all wrapped together.  A reminder to always show gratitude, feel gratitude and say words of gratitude, too. Say I love you. More. Often. Show love, and not just take it in. And pay it forward. Go beyond words, and into action. Do more, kick complacency and challenge the premise of ‘too good’ – because as good as life is, there is always more to do, to keep it good, to make it better, to strengthen.

I’m sure I’m rambling. And it may not make a lot of sense. But writing it out, I feel better. Grateful. And faithful.

Maybe sometimes pushing away complacency and fears is by simply believing

 

Spreading the barre n9ne passion!

If the epic surprise party wasn’t enough, this weekend also included the grand opening of the new barre n9ne studio, (which just so happens to be a mere 3 miles from where I live), an event we’d all been gearing up for excitedly for weeks. My sister Jess and I have been working hard behind the scenes, gathering some fantastic sponsors, including Zico, Coach’s Oats, popchips, Vita Coco, Chobani and Love Grown Foods’ Granola (see Jess’s post here with more details too!) and the day came off without a hitch.

But beyond that, I was so thrilled to be part of a team that cares so deeply about this studio, about its success and expansion, and the passion we all have for barre-style workouts, and not just *any* barre-style workout, but barre n9ne method, specifically. As Tanya introduced all of us, and our backgrounds, I just tried to capture the memory and sear it into my brain, because a year ago?

None of this even seemed fathomable.

It wasn’t even a thought in my mind. A year ago, I was unhappy in myself, my body, my self-image and distastrous ability to tear myself apart at the drop of a hat. But today? I don’t think I could be much happier than I am and I truly credit this journey with so much of that change and happiness. I’ve grown in so many ways, I’ve met incredible and inspiring people and seen equally incredible progress and ability in the clients of barre n9ne. And this next phase? Not only experiencing its growth but being instrumental in making it a success? Truly a blessing. 

Walking around and talking to prospective clients and new and longtime clients was an absolute joy. It was an adrenaline rush to hear the excitement in people’s voices, hearing our stories of the inagural 60-day challenge we won and have since helped carry forth into an epic success for so many others, hearing their compliments, saying things like “you can tell this stuff really works, the instructors really fit the image of lean and tone and fit!” You can’t pay someone to say that, ya know? It’s passion and truth. 

Beyond the demo classes (that were so fun to do together!), and the food, and the fun and fruity drinks, seeing the studio alive, and seeing how far this studio – and we – have come, was an incredible experience.  I cannot thank Tanya enough for taking a chance on us last April. Because ever since that day? I’ve not gone halfway and stopped. I’ve not ‘just’ gone for the field goal. There is no such thing as anything less than a touchdown. Go all the way.

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And now, some pictures. Enjoy! (and thank you to all of our sponsors!!)

The barre n9ne family of fabulous instructors (and our 'barre-tender' and bestie Steph!)
Jess and I in our super fabulous barre n9ne attire (oh, how I adore pink!)
Demo class #1 (for real, that upper body segment always kills me! Check out that game face!)
barre n9ne bag, anyone? ;-)
demo class #2 (I think?)
The goods! Everyone LOVED all of the treats we had for them to take with them (and I loved it all too!)

PS: I taught my first 6 am class this morning and while it was a very small class, one of the very first women I talked to, a past client who had moved and was now much closer to this studio, came in for her first class in maybe a year. It was just incredible to see how happy she was to be back at it. What a way to start a Monday!!

Stories that define me: facing fears.

*This is the third in my mini-series on stories of my past that define me. I’ll write these periodically, as the ideas flow. Enjoy.*

I think fear is largely innate…and maybe that’s just my opinion because of the observations I’m about to share. But think about it…I don’t know anyone that was born fearless. I think facing and overcoming fears is a learned trait and one that everyone has to overcome in their lives at least once, or maybe over and over again until they see fear as a propeller towards growth rather than a paralysis mechanism.

Growing up, one of my biggest ‘innate’ fears was being alone and doing things alone (I touched on this in one of my last posts in this series). I firmly believe this innate fear for me is because I never had to do anything alone. I always had my sisters. We experienced every ‘first’ together during childhood and adolescence, for the most part. Moving away from the pack was unnatural for me and well, scary. Enter fear.

For me, fear meant being shy. It also meant sticking with the status quo. And that meant never sticking my neck out there or making decisions that were different from what my sisters did or different from what I was comfortable with. Enter comfort zone. See, fear and comfort zone are so closely tied together for me, it’s ridiculous. (and I realize that this isn’t a unique fear or finding…I am sure this may be more normal for many, but looking back at my patterns is really helping me continue to break out of comfort zones and unseat them more). And once I am stuck in my comfort zone, it’s really REALLY hard to climb out and decide to do something different.

While I’d love to say that my divorce helped me face fears more than anything else, that wasn’t a decision…it was forced upon me to cope with. That first year of separation and living alone and facing all sorts of fears was not by choice, it was not something I ever would have done on my own. And not to diss my own growth or discount what I went through, facing fears during that time was involuntary…but looking back, it really made me realize just how many fears I had and how many were so deeply seated. Living alone. BEING alone. Doing things independently. Taking chances, risks, trying new things. All foreign concepts to me. So while I faced my fears during this time, what I faced more was just how comfortable I’d gotten in my little nook of comfort and how little I was actually growing. I think fear, fear of change, routine and being in a comfort zone were contributing factors to my divorce, unbeknownst to me until…now. I firmly see that more than I ever did before. And it makes me more thankful for where I am today in my life.

I think that the ultimate change for me, in facing my fears head-on rather than pushing them aside for sake of the status quo and comfort zone, was starting my job. And not just any job. But a job halfway across the country. A job that would force me to be more verbal, present myself more confidently, and prove myself. A job that would also allow me to hone the skills I’d cultivated for the past 8 years at my previous job (8 years PLUS…talk about comfort zones!!) and learn new ones. Teach myself more about the areas I consider myself weak in. ASK QUESTIONS. <<-for some reason, I have always been afraid of asking questions for fear of sounding stupid…but ya know what? if I don’t ask the question and try to fake it, that usually backfires more than just asking the damn question. Truth. A lesson I learn all the time, over and over again. 

Taking this job was sort of the seachange moment for me…where things all of a sudden felt just a little bit less scary. Traveling alone. Being alone. Standing up in front of people alone. (notice a theme here…being ALONE!). alonealonealone. This is what has allowed me to face my fears. Doing it by myself. Alone. Sometimes because I have to, but other times because I choose to.

And on days where I feel that shyness creeping back up (today, for example, as I face a few meetings and things I need to do on my own as my boss is on vacation…it’s those fearful moments I had for almost the entire three-month maternity leave she had, where I was forced to ACT and BE and DO…but I did it then, and I can do it now, right?!), and that fear driving me away from what I need to do, instead of towards it, I am going to harness the fear for good and ACT and BE and DO all over again.

Because that’s how I roll now…I face fear. I use it to motivate, not paralyze. It’s an everyday process and an everyday learning cycle for me, but for me, facing fears has been more rewarding than almost anything I can think of to equate it to.

How about you? Are you good at facing fears? Do you instinctively shy away from it? What have you learned from your own patterns when it comes to fear? 

Thank you…6 months later.

Six months ago, my sister and I embarked on the barre n9ne 60 day challenge and as I sit here trying to capture what these months have meant to me, it is so incredibly hard to put into words. Because honestly…I’m speechless.

Before this challenge, I felt absolutely awful about myself, physically, but also mentally. I was weak, I slid into comparison mode at a split second, and I hated everything I saw in the mirror (just reading what I wrote about here makes me sad. Especially recalling that ‘knock out drag down fight I had with Jess. We haven’t fought like that in well, a very long time. It was a painful fight and I never want to do that again.).

Before this challenge, I was afraid. I had no idea what was ahead of me, but it was far more committment and focus than I ever had previously (and to think I was dedicated to my health and fitness before? Well, I wasn’t. I only went halfway…and then stopped). I *hoped* it would be life- and body-changing, but after all of the other workouts I’d tried in various combinations previously, I admittedly didn’t think it was possible.

Before this challenge, I struggled with confidence and believing in myself. I doubted my abilities in running, in my job, in everything. If there was any cause for doubt, I’d have it. Because it was easier than believing in myself and just trying harder. Not just trying. But trying harder.

This challenge was – and still is – isn’t only about losing weight and inches, it has truly been a test of wills, a test of strength and a test of focus for me. It’s shown me that I can accomplish what I set my mind to, and that I am stronger than I think I am. And that dammit, I’m gaining in on feeling pretty damn fearless.

Fearless.

ME.

Yup.

After this challenge, I feel utterly incredible. In every possible way.

I have completely reshaped my body. I actually caught a glimpse of my legs in the mirror (wearing a skirt) yesterday and I did a double-take because my legs looked thin. THIN. I have what I consider thicker, more muscular legs, so to actually see physical change in them is freaking incredible. (those things never freaking changed with ANY other workout I’ve ever done! EVER!). I’ve lost more than 15 inches on my body, and from my waist alone? Almost three inches. I purchased my very first pair of size 27 jeans today…and got home and actually, they feel almost *too* roomy. The same jeans that wouldn’t even fit over my hips previously. Hell, I would have laughed in your face if you told me I’d actually try ON (let alone fit into!) a size 27 before.

I have completely reshaped my attitude towards food. I’ve learned to treat food as fuel and not to equate food with joy. For food to have less of a mental hold on me is so freeing. I enjoy what I eat. I allow myself the treats that I would like to eat. I just plan for them. I plan for wine consumption (because we all know how much I heart wine!!). And chocolate. And even pizza. And I don’t feel deprived. Ever. I’ve never felt that way this entire time. THAT is incredible. I always felt like a ‘tortured soul’ as I’d dramatically whine about wanting a bagel or ice cream or whatever it may be…but ya know what? Plan for it in your calories for the day and it’s yours!

I have confidence. Simply put. Confidence. I am not ashamed of what I see in the mirror. And I finally have the mental attitude that matches that. I’m not scared. I’m not worried. Shit, I’m not even overthinking!! I just feel good. It sounds so simple, but before, I was quite frankly a mess in my brain. Constantly fighting myself. No more. And I vow not to go back to that, ever.

I am in my happy place. My happy weight (I still don’t know what I weigh, but I estimate that I have probably lost 15 lbs or so, which would make me about thisclose to my ‘happy weight’). The here and now. And damn, does it feel good.

I did it. ME. I took the tools I was given, the classes I was fortunate enough to take, and I challenged myself like no other. And I used this time to heal. To strengthen my mind and my body. I feel as though I can apply what I have learned in so many settings now, physically and mentally. It’s so hard for me to explain, but I just feel empowered by what I have learned and what I have experienced in the last 6 months.

And to think…this challenge is one that I’ll continue to carry. It’s not a challenge anymore. It’s how I live my life, how I approach food and how I work out.

The barre n9ne challenge has truly been life-changing. To some, that might sound ‘dramatic’ but honestly, I can’t put it any other way than that, because I completely believe it. I believe in Tanya’s approach, it is managable, it is balanced and it just works for me.

So…6 months later, thank you, Tanya. For giving me the opportunity of a lifetime. I hope to pay it forward continuously because it just works. And I can’t wait to see what unfolds next. The sky is the limit.

As my sister said in one of her posts: I’ve got to learn to be fearless. To own each challenge I commit to. This is my time. To finish what I started. <Accomplished.

The day I just ran.

**This post is dedicated to my sister Jess, who just kicked the crap out of the Newburyport Half Marathon and who inspires me and pushes me every day to find my running mojo again, and today, well, today I think I may have gotten it. Thank you sis, you are the best. And PS, love that the titles of our posts today are similar, without even meaning to be!). Maybe we’re related or something.**

Today, I just ran.

Today, I felt vindicated over my previous half marathon fail bad run.

Today, I pretty much snuck in my 13.1 do-over in (basically) super secret mode.

Today, I ran almost 10 miles of the 13.1 half marathon that my sister ran.

I didn’t register (because I knew it would freak me out.).

I didn’t start with the racers.

I didn’t train for it, I didn’t carb up for it, I didn’t even forgo wine last night as I probably should have.

Why?

Because all of these things freak the hell out of me. It’s completely mental. I know this. So why not outsmart myself?? And outsmart I did.

The race conditions were ideal. The course was (mostly) flat. I came to the half marathon to cheer on my sister and Scott, but did wear running gear and did bring my inhaler, because I told myself that we’d run 5-6 miles or so and be good with that. Just a little Sunday jaunt waiting for Jess and Scott, right? Right??

Wrong!

M and I set out about 10 mins after the start time. We let everyone go on, get rid of the crowd. I took a port-a-potty stop (no lines, score!). The temps were perfect. I was happy we were running, but also had in my mind that we’d just run till we felt like stopping.

First mile in, I told myself, ‘yeah, no, not going far, let’s do 3…’

But then I hit my stride. M was being chatty, keeping me going. He felt good. Made me feel good, confident.

And the funny thing about this race? No mile markers (for the most part!) and that was HUGE for me. I didn’t figure out that water stops were every other mile (happily didn’t put two and two together!) and the route was beautiful. We kept at it, we caught up with some of the other runners, and we got cheered on by bystanders (even though we didn’t have numbers on! We just blend in, I guess). We kept going.

Saw my mom around mile 4 (but thought it was only mile 3) and she told us she’d meet us at mile 5 and mile 8 (it was a loop, so the rationale was, run to mile 5 and then be done). Except she wasn’t at mile 5. There wasn’t even a marker for it (I don’t think?) and then suddenly, we were at mile 6. M grabbed a Gu and I had a little bit of it. Got a boost knowing we were at mile 6 (pleasantly surprised) and then looped around and kept going. Beautiful course. No word from my mom, so we kept on. Hit mile 8 and got some gatorade. Was, at this point, pumped that we had gone that far.

All told, we ran almost 10 miles. I’d estimate we ended around 9.5 when my mom met up with us.

9.5! And I felt GOOD the entire time. We walked a couple of times for water and such. But I felt good. I just ran. I didn’t have much trouble breathing. I didn’t get any side cramps. My hips were super tight and sore going into the run, but I didn’t really notice any tightness until we finally stopped at 9.5.

I JUST RAN.

And it felt like the cloud that’s been hanging over me every time I have a crappy run had lifted.

We were running. And we were enjoying it.

Who knew I could ‘just run’ and it would work??

Honestly, the only reason I didn’t keep going to the finish was to see my sister cross that finish line (knowing she passed 10 miles about 10 mins prior to getting picked up, I knew it would be close).

And we just missed her finish by about 5 minutes. Missed her finish. I felt like the worst sister in the world. I felt like I totally failed her. All I wanted was to see her smiling face at the finish line.

And I missed it.

But her reaction? Uttering her PR (drained, tired, but thrilled!) and when I told her how far we went, she was honestly almost more happy with that than with her own PR. She felt like we ran this together. And you know what? She’s right. We did. She kept me going…I pictured her running happily and speedily and knowing that she was going for it made me feel like I could too.

And maybe, just maybe, my mojo is back. Maybe this is all I need…no pressure, no times to shoot for, no ‘race mentality,’ just running.

Today, I just ran. And it felt awesome.