Balance And (Dis)Comfort Zones

It has been such a long time since I have written here. I took a break from many things and as I started engaging again, this space has been on my mind. My delay returning to this space was extended because of fear: Do I even know how to write anymore? Do I still have a voice and if I do, is it interesting to anyone?

I backed away from this place when my anxiety was reaching unknown heights, certainly higher than I have ever experienced, and abandoned it altogether when my depression returned. At the same time some of the best things were happening: I moved into my studio space and my clients love it – I love it but I am constantly surprised that they do! My strength athletes are getting stronger and they are more engaged with their programs, they must love that; my weight loss clients continue to lose weight and gain strength and self-confidence. What’s not love? The corner of the room where snow blows in, the beams we strategically box jump between, the leaves that blow in when the overhead door is open, the occasional spider we have to carry out to the grass.

Having my dream equipment in MY studio I believed would magically breathe new life into my own, boring program and for a bit it did. In November I was a guest on the podcast Systemic Take A Big Breath and Jump . Listen if you want but I haven’t. I strongly believe it is important for me to leave my comfort zone and this was so far out of it. Being interviewed is something I would never do so obviously I had to do it. The day after we recorded I got sick, and I was physically ill for two weeks. The stress of it, which I have been told no one can hear in my voice (I don’t know, I haven’t listened), ravaged my body. I then spent weeks beating myself up for being such a weak person. As it is, winter is always hard for my emotional health, so the self-loathing over that interview helped the depression set in hard. This is a fantastic confession from someone who is supposed to be a role model for young women, someone who provides a space for strength and peace for all women. It took all I had to provide that space and I had nothing left to devote to my program. I putzed around with my dream rack, my beautiful barbell, my rower. I putzed and went nowhere.

But time passed and birds returned. The overhead door opened and just outside green growth emerged from the garden. I wrote myself a strength program, I added one day for Crossfit workouts, I added 2 days for running, I had a good talk with Jason (who was in the past known only as New Coach) whom I have only seen socially the past 5 months and will now be returning to for lifting check-ins. I realized that after 20 years of weighing 80 lbs, then 3 years at a healthy weight, I find myself in unknown territory – I need to lose 10 lbs. (legit, not my ED talking). Knowing my ED is still a strong inner voice, I sat down and wrote a menu, checked and double checked the calories, set strict parameters on my running (an activity I love but also my favorite ED companion). I do well with rules, which are all in place, and I do well with warmth and sunshine which have gloriously returned.

I don’t have a mission though. I do extremely well with missions, something to fight for. That makes wonder if my return to myself will be successful. I may compete again but at the moment I don’t have a burning desire to. I’ve been wondering if my mission is balance – but can balance, a place of peace, be “a mission”? I have a 14 yo athlete who is so driven to play her sport in college that she is playing or practicing or doing something 3-6 hours a day. Her mom and I have been trying to get her to slow down and we finally had an “intervention” which concluded with us pulling everything. 2 weeks, do nothing. Learn to be a kid, explore and find something fun outside of her sport, don’t lose that drive we all admire so much. When she returned she said “I don’t want to miss 2 weeks again. Can you help me find balance?” Sure, and in the process maybe I will find it myself.

Depression and all, The Husband and I have had a great few months. Since I haven’t had a competition to prep for and I have extra time now that my studio is 50 ft from the house, we have had dinners together, gone to movies, played all the board games in our collection (100 or so) and we’ve met some of the nicest people, some who have become good friends (I strongly believe when I cut out the negative people I was surrounded by, room opened up for the positive people to enter). This is what I want to maintain in that balance I find.

I want to continue being a great coach, I want to start writing again, I may want to compete again and I must continue to stay connected in my marriage and with the people who bring me peace and joy.

And maybe, just maybe, I want to try something extraordinarily out of my comfort zone.