The Power of Me

At some point in life, your own opinion has to be the one that matters most to you.

More importantly, your own opinion of yourself.

All too often, people worry more about what others think about them.  They are shackled by the thoughts and feelings of others.  They care more about what others say about them, than they do about what they truly believe in about themselves.  It’s a very debilitating way to live.

As a CrossFit coach, I see it too much.  Every day, in fact.  I always wish that I could give people the power to let go of all that negativity, and realize that they are so much more than anyone else’s words.  So much more.

meangirlsHaters are gonna hate.  Doesn’t matter how awesome you are.  There will always be someone out there that doesn’t like you, or something about you.

Just remember what Dr. Seuss said, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” 😉

And, those who talk behind your back, it’s only because you are ahead of them.

Keep on walking tall.

As a mother of an almost 2 year old, I have gained a much bigger sense of myself.  In a world of “Do this, don’t do that, you should try this, don’t try that, read this book, follow this plan, that’s not okay, this is okay,” overload, it’s no wonder so many mothers question themselves day in and day out.

When I was pregnant, I started to read the book “What to Expect When Expecting” and it turned me into a paranoid, insecure, and very worrisome expectant mother.  So, I stopped reading it, and then I actually really enjoyed and loved the rest of my pregnancy.  I also didn’t take any of the classes.  Nope, if I was going to this, I was going to do this my way.  People, including the nurses and doctors, thought I was crazy for being so “unprepared.”

We’ve been having babies for thousands of years, though.  Call it a “Mother’s Intuition,” or whatever, but it is real.  And, there is absolutely no way of knowing what your baby is going to be like, and what’s going to work well for you and your baby until the moment arises.

Too many mothers shared their own experiences and advice with me.  I would just nod and smile every time.  The intentions were good, but the truth of the matter is – What works for you and your baby, isn’t going to work for me and my baby.

It’s a day-to-day challenge.

But, I love and enjoy my day-to-day challenge with Bailey because it’s OUR OWN journey together.1624168_10202999107201635_481714235_n

The books, blogs, specialists, and other mothers can suck the joy out of parenthood real fast if you let it.

So much judgement to be had.  So many opinions and unsolicited advice to be given.  It can drive any woman crazy.

So, that’s just it – You can’t let it consume you, control you.  I simply let people share their opinions and advice with me, take it as a well-intended gesture, and then continue on with my own way.

I still nurse Bailey, although I am slowly weaning her and mostly nurse her at bedtime now.  But, there are other moments that I will nurse her, because at random times she will get scared, sad, or just need it for whatever reason.  It’s an understanding that her and I share together.

Some people cannot believe that I am still nursing Bailey at almost 2 years old, though.  They think I am either being a push-over, needy and selfish, or that I’m simply doing it wrong as a mother.

The honest truth is – I don’t give two sh**s what others think about it.  Bailey and I know what works well for the two of us.  We are happy and healthy.

Taking control of my own self-worth as a mother has really made motherhood enjoyable for me.  And, I have learned to carry over that power into my everyday life, as well.  I no longer worry so much about what others think about me.  I don’t let their words define me.  They do not control or influence me.

It’s an amazing freedom to have, and I wish more people learned to take it.

We are all damaged and broken people.  We have all been stepped on, pushed down, ignored, neglected, ridiculed, rejected, and hurt.  Life really is unfair.  Life is hard.  But, it can also be beautiful.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who live by the mantra, “Misery loves company,” and they will try to drag you down.  Some people don’t like seeing others happy and successful, because they are not happy and successful themselves.  Some people want you to hurt just as much as they do.

I used to be in co-dependent relationships, and I always thought I could change or fix the guys.  I hung out with less than ambition people.  I allowed others to push me around and define me.  I was a people-pleaser and constantly trying to be the person I thought they wanted me to be.  I was constantly disappointed and let down.  I was a very unhappy chameleon.

Luckily, somehow, through magic and miracles, I’ve made it to this point in my life.  I have broken free from those heavy chains.  I have quality friends in my life now.  I have an amazing husband who makes me a better person, and a happy and successful life.

Being able to say “No,” and letting go of certain people in my life have been two of the hardest, but most important skills ever that I have learned to do.

If they do not grow you, teach you, or lift you up, then they don’t deserve you!

1234333_620030958018569_1981123923_nCrossFit has had a huge impact in all of this, as well.  Most of my best friends I met through CrossFit.  My inner strength has been built through CrossFit.  My self-worth has been found and claimed in CrossFit.  My freedom from my past was fought and won through CrossFit.  My success and livelihood is CrossFit.

I am CrossFit.  I am Me.  And, there’s no one I’d rather be! 😉

Go find your power!

Beautiful Barbell

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The barbell never lies.  Ever.

But, are you paying attention when it’s talking back to you in your lifts?  You should…

This is me the other day trying to get a PR in my 1 rep max Snatch.  One of my best attempts at triple extension, if I do say so myself. 😉

I have to be honest, in the past year, I’ve completely slacked off in my lifting.  I definitely did not do nearly enough strength and skill sets as I should have been.

What I did do is “maintain.”

The sad truth is, I am Deadlifting and Snatching the exact same weight I was a year ago.  Why?  Because of all of the lifts, those are the two I hate the most.  They are my weaknesses, and just like any other human being, my natural tendency is to avoid them whenever possible.

But, after my big breakthrough in the CF Open season, I realized that the Snatch is the perfect representation of how I’ve dealt with my life for so many years.  I worked up to a weight that I was comfortable with, and then once it got hard, I stopped progressing and just stayed at that plateau, and made a lot of excuses for it.

Somehow, I was okay with staying in the same place.

For many years, I worked hard to get to a certain point in my life, and then I would just stop progressing and would maintain a level of “good enough.”

I got by in life.

I got just enough good grades for the honor roll in high school.  I did just enough to please the teachers and keep them off my back.  I did just enough on my SATs to get accepted to college.  And, I actually only applied to one college.  That’s how little I thought of myself.  It was totally a safe situation, though, because I knew I met all of the requirements.  I went with the “easy route.”

I originally majored in Occupational Therapy.  But, then it got hard.  Really hard.  And, just like the Snatch, I suddenly stopped progressing and made excuses.  I got scared.  I didn’t want to face it and put in all that work.  It was just “too hard.”  So, I eventually quit OT, and went into Psychology.  Psychology was “safe.”  Another “easy route” for me to take.  And, even there, I did just enough to graduate with decent grades.  I can claim to have graduated with Psi Chi Honors, but in all honesty, I just barely met the minimum requirements for that.

After college, though, I did grow up some, and eventually took pride in something I did, which was being a summer swim coach in San Rafael.  I coached the team for six years, and was Head Coach for the last two.  It was the first time in a very long time that I actually went above and beyond the call of duty, took great pride in what I did, and worked really hard.  I invested my heart and soul into that team.  For once in my life, I actually felt fulfilled and accomplished.  But, then, unfortunately, the volunteer board members my last year of coaching had ulterior motives, swept the rug from under my feet, and I suddenly found myself betrayed and left out in the cold.

It was a heartbreaking experience, and it only validated the reasons why I hadn’t tried so hard in the first place.  I hate to admit it now, but it left a bitter taste in my mouth, and made me step back into my old bad habits again.

As an elementary school teacher in Corte Madera, I was thankfully surrounded by awesome people, which in turn, motivated me to be awesome.  Unfortunately, though, it didn’t trickle down into any other areas of my life.  So, I was a super awesome, hard working teacher, but then the second I got home, I was mediocre at best at everything else.

Then, I found CrossFit.  It was just like everything else in my life – I started out strong and motivated, worked really hard, was even asked to train with the team, and then I reached my plateau.  I stopped progressing, I started making excuses, and I missed my opportunity to go to Regionals and the Games with the team.

When Spencer and I opened our box in 2011, I was reinvigorated and ready to take on competition again.  But, right at my peak, I suddenly got pregnant, which obviously put things on hold for a while.

So, this all leads us now to the last two years of my training.  After I had Bailey, I trained like crazy for the Open 2013, and I was actually doing really well.  All of my hard work was finally paying off.

But, then in the 4th week of the Open, I managed to get a horrible stomach flu that left me depleted and dehydrated for a week, and I was barely able to even get a decent score completed.  I was like 500th overall in that workout, which yanked away my chances at Regionals.

It gave me flashbacks of my summer swim team being taken away from me.  Now Regionals was being taken away from me.  And, again, I fell back into that “feeling sorry for myself” mode.

And so, I trained hard this past year for the Open…But, definitely not like crazy like the previous year, and honestly, I did “just enough” most of the time.

Deep down, I was holding back due to fear of it being taken away from me again.

The barbell was telling me this the entire time.  My lifts were not increasing.  The Snatch felt foreign to me most of the time.  I wasn’t making gains and getting PR’s like I should have been, and the barbell let me know it.  But, instead of listening to the bar, I made excuses.

About six months before the Open began, I finally did something for myself that I should have done a long time ago – I started going to therapy.  Therapy is just like CrossFit – It only works if you have a good therapist, just like CrossFit only works if you have a good coach!  Thankfully, I have a great one!

Through therapy, I was able to finally face some demons and deal with my past.  In dealing with my past, I was able to start taking things head on.  But, when that happened, it was already too late for the Open.  I still did really well overall, but I didn’t qualify for Regionals.

That’s my fault, and mine alone.  Bad habits die hard.  Change takes time.  And so, the Open became my breakthrough therapy session, rather than an actual competition.

I was fighting for myself…not for a high score.

I was qualifying for life…not for Regionals.

I was certainly heartbroken that I didn’t make it to Regionals, but the difference this time in my life is that I am NOT left with a bitter taste in my mouth, nor am I feeling sorry for myself or wanting to retreat.

This time, I want to try harder.  I want to be better.

For too damn long, I floated through life and ducked from every punch thrown at me.

Now, I’m the one throwing punches.

Lately, the barbell and I have had a different relationship.  A better one.  A stronger one.

Last Thursday, when I was going for a 1 rep max Snatch, it was the first time since August 2013 that I attempted anything over 125#.  And, I didn’t just add a few pounds, I went for 135# with gusto!  Unfortunately, after about 7 or 8 attempts, I failed to complete it.  However, I did get under that bar every time, and the fact that I kept trying was a huge deal for me, personally.

Then, yesterday, during Competition Training class, we did a Clean & Jerk ladder.  It started at 65# and went up by 10’s.  I made my way to 185#.  I missed the Jerk, though.  So, I tried again.  Missed again.  Tried one more time.  Just barely missed the Jerk, again.  But, each time the Clean felt stronger, and the determination in my kept grew (Rather than diminish, like the old me).  So, I went for a 4th attempt.  Cleaned it well, again, but missed the Jerk.  Oh well.  It was another successful experience for me still, because I was finally going hard and fighting for things.

The barbell is a beautiful thing.  I really have learned a lot from it.  Because, even though I have made huge changes in my life recently, and I am finally moving in the right direction, it’s still going to take time for other things to happen.  It’s not all overnight!  I have to keep working hard at it. And so, even the barbell reminds me of this fact with my recent Snatch and C&J lifts.

So, the next time you’re lifting that barbell, listen to it.  What is it telling you?

What does the barbell say about you?

A State of Mind

4921Bruce Lee was a very wise man.  Many times, his words have resonated with me, and have inspired me to stand up that eighth time.

This quote, “Defeat is a state of mind; no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality,” is currently my mantra in life.

Recently, we had the CrossFit Open season, and it was a tumultuous experience for me.  I had given myself the goal of qualifying for NorCal Regionals.

Last year, I was going for that same goal, but then in WOD 13.4, my husband and I went to Hilton Head with family for Easter, and I got the worst stomach flu in my life!  It was coming out of both ends, and I was so dehydrated and depleted, that I could barely even muster a score for the Leaderboard.  It was a heartbreaking week.  So, needless to say, we did NOT travel this year during the Open! 😉

WOD 14.1 was my worst performance out of all five of the workouts.  It was a rough way to begin the Open season, but by 14.4 I was jumping and leaping up that Leaderboard.  If you want to read about each week, you can find the blogs here (click on the title):

Reflections on 14.1

Reflections on 14.2

Reflections on 14.3

Reflections on 14.4

Reflections on 14.5

Reflections on the Open

So, here I am, after the Open, not going to Regionals, and trying to figure out my next steps in life.  I’ll admit, for a couple of weeks after the Open, I felt sorry for myself.  I felt defeated.  I questioned myself a lot, and then finally had to slap myself in the face to snap out of it.

Then, I saw Bruce Lee’s quote written on the bathroom wall of our restroom at the gym, and it really hit home.  It was then that I knew I had to buck up and make this a growing experience.  I was not going to be defeated; I was going to keep fighting!

The Open taught me that even with disappointment and failure, accomplishments and pride can still exist.  Even though I did not meet my goal of qualifying for Regionals, I actually did something even greater than that ~ I conquered my inner demons finally!  I am no longer haunted.  I am finally free from the handcuffs.  So many of us hold on to the past for far too long, and it ruins the present and future.

Each week of the Open, I broke through another cell wall that I’ve kept locked up for so many years, and by the end of the Open, I was out of that dark dungeon, and running free through the fields.

The mind is an incredibly strong force to reckon with.  Whatever you think, you are.  So, I think I’m pretty courageous, and I am finally developing into the woman I always wanted to be, and knew I could be. 😉