A piece removed reveals another.
One of the cool things about writing such an introspective blog, almost diary-like, is that you can look back at what you’ve written and notice the progression. You also get to pick out your favorite topics and write about them again, albeit from a different perspective or angle. You consider the things you didn’t cover before, and maybe you’ve had a life experience or two that have made you feel differently in some way. You dive back into the past, for one reason or another, if only for a moment. You can’t live there, and I wouldn’t want to.
It’s been a different kind of week. Between a concert on Monday night and flying to Tampa tomorrow, my workouts haven’t been as frequent. That was by design. I can feel my body getting sore in places that it shouldn’t be. I can feel my will to exercise fading just a bit, and so I know it’s time to step away. I don’t know how long it’s been since my last break, and maybe it doesn’t matter. Going by feel will tell you more than the numbers will. I’ll take a week off, get my mind right, and then come back with everything I have. I’m looking forward to a little vacation, just for a couple of days, and then I’ll jump back in.
Lately, my workouts have been different. I’ve taken to meditating beforehand, and it’s a game changer. You’d think that closing my eyes for a few minutes and breathing deeply, that it would diminish the fire, sap my energy, but the effect is just the opposite. When you clear your mind before an activity, you’re able to shed the day. You get rid of any residual thoughts, that thing someone said, that mistake you made, and even the presentation you crushed, because they don’t have any value anymore, at least not here. Now, you’re focused on something else. You’re taking time to work on you, and when you’re able to focus on this next experience, you get a lot more out of it.
I’m fresh off a great workout, but I wouldn’t have called it that a few years ago. Right away, only a few sets in, I realized I was still physically hung over from my Tuesday workout, and so I had to modify. I should have been frustrated, but without skipping a beat, I flowed into easier variations, and I still managed to push myself the whole way through. Like my mother with recipes when she doesn’t have all the ingredients, I made a few substitutions on the fly and got the desired results. I’ll never be the cook she is, but I love knowing something so well that you can change things up at the last minute and still accomplish what you set out to do.
I’m not training for anything at the moment, and so I’m a little more relaxed. In a few months, I’ll be running my face off training for two marathons that will happen within a week of each other, and I truly hope that I make it through both intact. In a way, the pressure is completely off. Although I’ve sunk a fair amount of money into these ventures, I’ve already run one marathon, and that’s all I need. The rest is gravy. Right now, I’m strength training and enjoying every minute of it. Exercise is something I’ve come to love, but that love hasn’t grown into what it is without time and effort. Maybe there was love at first sight, the first time I saw a weight room, but that feeling fades. You have to build on it.
Slowly but surely, I worked my way into it, learning bits and pieces, succeeding in some moments, and failing in others. I chose to become a student of something I was passionate about, even if my motivations weren’t always pure. I was wildly insecure about my body and still am, but I’m getting better at letting those insecurities fall by the wayside. The love for training, for exercise, has only strengthened, and even if it takes me no further than just being in shape, to have a hobby that I love is something I’ll never take for granted.
It hasn’t always been the smoothest ride. There have been injuries, and moments when my confidence has been shattered because someone has proven himself or herself to be much stronger than I. I always pictured myself as the biggest one in the gym, but genetics didn’t work in my favor. Once I got into the weight room, I quickly found out that I wasn’t exceptional, and that ate at me. It was the same feeling I got when I was younger, when I realized that I couldn’t just walk into a classroom and succeed without studying and doing the work. I was momentarily crushed by reality, and I wasn’t sure if I had much to offer the world. Working hard in school, becoming and thinking like a student, it became a path to better things, when I felt like I wasn’t going anywhere at all.
I wanted to be someone truly strong and athletic. I pictured myself as an easygoing person, fit and respected. Maybe I pictured this because I was weak growing up, physically nondescript. I was awkward, and also an introvert. Being strong seemed like a pathway to popularity because my personality wasn’t always enough to win people over. With nothing else to fall back on, I was just the kid who kept to himself. My dad knew enough to get me out the door because he knew I wasn’t going to do it. He knew I wasn’t going to push myself if he didn’t, and I love him for that. There are so many reasons I love him, and it can be hard to admit when someone truly does know you better than you know yourself.
I could say that everything has worked out, but that would be a terrible pun, and you shouldn’t allow me that. What I will say is that right now, where I sit, it’s almost definitely the strongest I’ve ever been. I’d like to be stronger, but maybe I’m realizing that that doesn’t matter as much as it once did. Maybe I’m getting to the place where exercise is more for enjoyment and pleasure than because of a feeling of necessity, and maybe that’s when you truly learn to love something, when you do it completely out of choice, and that desperation fades. You pour yourself into your chosen activity, and the results speak for themselves. You don’t feel the need to talk about it because you feel secure in your deeply personal pursuit. You’re happy with what you’re doing, and that’s all the strength you need. Thanks for reading.
One thought on “Weak, Part II”
Acknowledged with a smile, I have learned how to substitute on the fly… and frequently appreciate the results. Changing things up keeps matters from becoming routine. And there are plenty of people who know what ‘routine’ evolves into. 🙂 You sound like a guy whose experience with training and exercise has found activity (or your word, hobby) that has not only given you confidence and pleasure but has beautifully awakened you to who you are becoming. Kudos!!
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