Finding ‘Happy’

The further and further away I get from the person I used to be, the more I find myself questioning everything around me. I embarked on this journey of self-discovery and acceptance last year, one that has certainly stopped and started again, but it’s kind of never-ending in that I’m always changing. What made me happy a year ago wouldn’t necessarily tickle my jimmies now; what threw me in a downward spiral might only slow me down, or perhaps wouldn’t affect me at all.

For a person as attached to routine as I am, trying out new things has been a pleasantly surprising bonus in my life today. I cling to things harder the more unsure I am of them, turning me into a neurotic control freak sometimes even at the best of times. So letting go of all of that and letting myself just be who I am has been, well, fucking hard.

A year ago, I went through a pretty rough time. A lot of it was documented here, but a lot more of it was documented in long-winded Facebook messages and passive aggressive memes now popping up on my Timehop. I’m embarrassed for myself a year ago, but I also feel a lot of love for that me. That pain has had lasting damages – say hello to the woman completely incapable of finding a man “good enough”, the woman with regular re-occurrences of acid reflux every time she has to tell someone she loves them – but my god am I so much further away from that broken, sad person today. I can admit that I’m scared, lonely, angry, or sad to someone, even if that someone is myself.

It’s really funny how sometimes you don’t realize how little love you have for yourself until you are forced to find it on your own. I have a lot of anger, but also a lot of love for the person who (accidentally) caused this explosion inside of me. Without him, I don’t think I could’ve ended up being who I am today or feeling the way I do about myself.

Oh, there’s that acid reflux again. You’d think it’d get easier to tell people you love and appreciate them, especially when it’s encouraged, but holy shit is it not. Love is scary!

Funnily enough, I didn’t mean to write much about love, but I feel like it and happiness go hand in hand. When I fill my life with love, all kinds of love, I’m infinitely happier. Sometimes I think it’s easier to cut myself off and work on myself (without you or anyone else’s help, damnit!), but nothing can grow in such a stark, lonely environment. I’ve both started and stopped, then started again, then stopped again, then started again my journey to “try new things” for 2015. Ironically, when I started seeing someone again was when all those fun new things started to quickly fall off my radar. Sitting here now, I realize that it’s due (mostly) to a horrible inability to master finding balance in my life.
But so far this year I’ve tried countless new workouts, fallen in love with spin classes, tried my hand at meal planning (with some success), traveled to a city alone for pleasure and spent the day there (helloooo Arlington), lost like eight pounds, opened up to strangers, stood up for myself, and walked alone into a crowded room more times than I can count. And I hate hate hate doing that.

I never realized how far from happy you can put yourself trying to make others happy. I’ve also come to accept that I can’t force others to see their own unhappiness, whether real or perceived by me. All I can do is worry about my own. And I mean, jeez, I get one life, why would I want to be anything but?

– a.

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Insanity: Max 30 Week One – Complete!

So I read the term “doesn’t hoist my particular sails” as a way of saying, “I’m just not that into him/her/it,” and I think it’s my new favorite saying. That being said, hot damn ladies and gentlemen it is Friday. I love Friday. Does anyone not love Friday? I mean, even when I worked weekend mornings, Friday nights were always nice and quiet nights in that I looked forward to. Now that I have a job with regular hours, I like it even more. When I get off of work today, this never fails, I get two full days off to do whatever I want. Can we just take a minute to remember this? I mean, in all reality, I can do whatever I want when I get off at 5pm during the week but I usually save that time for obligations and commitments (I’m looking at you, laundry). That way, I get to spend Saturday and Sunday being either the laziest or most social person ever. This weekend I have both days at least relatively planned out:

I look exactly like this at Neato Burrito.

I look exactly like this at Neato Burrito.

Saturday – Hot Yoga, coffee, travelling to PA to visit friends and get Neato Burrito, then Wegmans. I can’t describe to you how much I love Neato Burrito and I haven’t had it since last May. I shunned it for a long while after a break up but like, the craving is so real.

Sunday – My first ever Spinning class (!), then some meal prep and coffee with a friend. And then Walking Dead. I am still in denial after the mid-season finale so I’m not even going to talk about it or I will throw my keyboard.

I think that’s a pretty nice looking weekend set up there. I kind of want to applaud myself. Anyway, I’ve set up my list of things (I’m still looking for ideas for food, though I’ve added a few) and it’s looking pretty nice. I even added giving blood to my list because I never have and I probably should. I don’t want to. I would rather run screaming through the streets in my underwear (I wish I could say I’ve never done this before) than have a long needle shoved in my arm but it does something valuable and I probably should do it at least once. Not this weekend though!

spinning classMy friend Taylor (who will likely be dragged to a lot of these new ‘first time’ events) and I are going to our first spinning class, as I mentioned. I wanted to go somewhere that was specifically for cycling, rather than a gym that has cycling classes. We’re checking out a place in Gaithersburg. I will have more information for you on Sunday! I fully intend on bringing a barf bag and will probably use it and I’ve pretty much accepted that. I never pictured getting excited for a class that included “free weights” as a part of the already intense spinning class. But, more on this later.

Today ended my first week of Insanity: Max 30. Now, my only past history of Insanity or any other Beachbody workout (i.e. P90X,  T25, other letter and number combinations) is one futile attempt at the original Insanity and one P90X workout that I couldn’t do properly because I didn’t have a pull up bar latched over my college apartment door. The former was the recovery workout and my little sister and her then boyfriend watched from the couch and laughed at me absolutely dying (not my prime). The latter was a genuine workout but I couldn’t do it properly because I was a.) probably closing in on 170 pounds on a 5’2″ frame that’s really not supposed to be that much and b.) I had no idea how to properly do any hardcore workout like that. I did try a Jillian Michaels video once but I distinctly remember absolutely hating it because of running man. Cheerleading, swimming, other sports that have some sort of overseer to keep me from murdering myself, etc. are the things I usually lean toward. It’s also one of the reasons I love my yoga classes so much. Little chance to majorly fuck up. But after seeing the freaking fabulous results my friend Taylor is getting from Insanity (if you’re reading this: you go girl), I kind of had to try it. If only to build up my tolerance to HIIT before going back to Soldierfit regularly so I don’t promptly puke and die. Which, knowing me, is pretty possible.

So, readers, I’m not sure how much you know or care about Insanity, but it’s two different sets of workouts for the first and second month. Each day is different, and the following month each day has the same basic idea (Monday is cardio for both months, Friday is the most brutal, etc.), but the second month is way more intense. I think I’m going to do a weekly review to check in on how I’m feeling.

The Workouts:

Monday – The cardio for some reason brutalized me. I found myself following the modifier a lot because that much jumping will straight result in me giving myself a black eye. And if you don’t know how that’s possible, you aren’t a well-endowed woman. Also reminded me to quit smokininsanity shitg for good.

Tuesday – I accidentally switched my Tabata classes. Tuesday I should’ve done Tabata Power but I did Tabata Strength, which was the harder of the two (in my opinion). The 10 second rest that tabata usually had wasn’t a rest, but a jog. Or, in floor exercises, child’s pose (so, that was sort of a rest). Brutal. Felt pretty darn sore the next day.

Wednesday – “Sweat Intervals” is the name and it didn’t lie. At all. It told the total truth. Ouch. Brutal.

Thursday – Tabata Power (what I’m supposed to do on Tuesday) was probably my favorite workout. Really challenging, a lot of push ups and tricep dips. Great ab work. I really liked this one.

Friday – “Friday Fight Night Round 1”. Holy god. Combines aspects from all of the other classes. Want to die. Had to actually pause the video once to both let my dog out and dramatically drape my body across the ottoman. Such a hard class. Great ending to the week. A lot, if not all, of these have plyometrics in them, which I kind of hate but only because I suck at it.

Overall thoughts: 

I really like it. I love that it’s a half hour long, the workouts are a nice way to burn a decent amount of calories (I’ve read it can range from 300-500 calories for someone of my general weight, depending on how hard I push) and I can fit it in before work, which
handstandmotherfuckaI appreciate. I’m really not a fan of after work exercise unless it’s running or yoga because I use those to de-stress. It’s definitely hard but I look forward to the challenge. I also bought the E&E (Energy and Endurance) pre-workout at the suggestion of my friend Taylor. I told her that I needed something to wake me up in the morning because getting up at 6 a.m. is still difficult. She raved about how well it worked and I tried it and while it tastes like lemony butthole, it definitely wakes me up. Once I’ve used it up, I’ll probably try another, but I like it a lot effect-wise. I love Shaun T though, I have no idea why. He’s just so fun. I often respond to him when he asks the camera a question (not crazy), but it’s usually full of expletives. This morning there was a “Jesus fucking Christ on a cracker why do you hate me-” rant.

I have an ab video I can do tomorrow, so I’m going to try that before I go to hot yoga. Because why not prequel a really hard workout with a really hard workout? And if you don’t think hot yoga is a hard workout, please come to Sol Yoga and have Luke as your instructor in a 90 degree room then feel free to eat your words, I’ll wait. This week also included almost two hours of aerial yoga, but I don’t want to write too much about that until next week. There will be photos and I will look like a magician.

That all being said, hope everyone has a fabulous weekend. Get ready for burrito and spinning pictures. Not at the same time. Dear god not at the same time.

– a.

Ready, set…

For a really long time, I’ve been a wanderer. I meander in and out of places with no real set destination or even an idea in mind as to what I’m doing there. I’ll say that I’m committing to something only to lose interest within a month or so. This goes into every aspect of my life. Think deciding to go to bed at a decent hour every night. That didn’t last very long. Doing my hair and/or makeup every day for work? I think I lasted four days before going back to bare face. Soldierfit? I lasted two months before finding excuses. Granted, what kept me from going was a stupid fear of judgment (I last minute was unable to volunteer for an event they were holding and felt super guilty about it), but that fear turned into complacency. I go to yoga, i love yoga, but I only go sporadically. I re-commit to my blog only to let other things get in the way a few days or weeks in. Individually, none of those things are all that big of a deal, but they add up to a lifestyle I don’t enjoy for myself. I try to be accountable in other areas of my life, so why not the ones that really mean something to me? Sleep, exercise, and writing are extremely important things. Sleep is very important. Sleep is something i covet.

sleeptimeI love sleeping.

So, after I was unceremoniously dumped by the guy I was seeing for almost five months (literally just fell off the face of the earth completely out of the blue, I still don’t really get it), instead of getting mopey or sad because a boy I liked didn’t like me, I started getting this idea. It was a quite good idea. And considering the fact that I’ve already finished both Criminal Minds and Gilmore Girls on Netflix, I should be able to find some spare time. I’ve also finished The 100, Once Upon a Time, and Cosmos (again). Netflix is the devil.

Anyway, I got this idea. I’ve spent most of my adult life pretty wrapped up in guys and dating, love and the recoil of a failed relationship (though I’m usually most productive during that time). I wanted to emotionallyspend the rest of my 25th year getting to know myself and trying new things. Thus far, I’m breaking them into separate categories: Physical, Edible, Beauty, and Mental. Physical includes things like trying a spinning class, Zumba, pole dancing, acroyoga, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and so forth. Edible is actually my shortest list still because I’m not sure where to look for new or out there experiences with food. I want to try an entirely raw meal (like at one of those granola restaurants), try that super poisonous if it’s not cut right blowfish, and different ethnic restaurants like That Cuban Place (that’s the real name, I swear) in downtown near my house. Beauty is an amalgamation of things like acupuncture, a full out mani/pedi (had separately but surprisingly never together), athletic massage, bikini wax (I’m not ready for this but I figure I should try it), and so on. Ziplining and skiing are also on the lists in there. I’m creating an Excel spreadsheet, I shit you not.

The point being, I want to spend the rest of my quarter life crisis exploring myself a la Eat, Pray, Love (sans trip across the woeatpraylovemindyrld because, um, I have student loans). The book, not the movie. This whole experiment started, I guess technically, yesterday. I started Insanity: Max 30. I’ve never done these sort of tapes before, at least not all the way through, so this is the beginning. And sixty days from now when I complete it my reward is that aforementioned fancy mani pedi. Or maybe a massage, eesh. It’s brutal, but I’ll get more into it at the end of my first week. This weekend, I’m going to my first spinning class. Next week holds a barre class.

Following the instruction of a blogger I love, Gretchen In-Between, I checked out Yelp’s Fit Club and will be (hopefully!) trying out a few things with that.

Have any ideas for fun, weird, or unique things I could try? Let me know! I’m pretty open-minded, and I plan on writing about all of this.

– a.

Tuesday Pick-Me-Up #1

Taking a quick break from drowning in paperwork to write this (aka on break at work) – I’m going to try and start a new type of post every Tuesday. I hate Tuesdays, they’re usually my biggest slump day of the week. Maybe that’s just me, but, Tuesdays are my “in desperate need of something to cheer me up” days. They also happen to be my biggest retail therapy day. Keep me away from Ann Taylor and TJ Maxx on Tuesdays. And the internet in general.

So, I want to try and compile a list of things that perk me up each Tuesday – whether they be something cute I saw online (buyable or no), an article that I read and really enjoyed, something nice that happened, or just an inspirational quote I ripped from my Pinterest board. Whatever. Probably better to show than tell:

Tuesday Pick-Me-Up #1

3 Simple Tricks to Improve Running Form (And Have the Best Run Ever)
3 Quick and Dirty Tips to Prevent Running Injuries for Good

Finding out what shin splints really are...

Finding out what shin splints really are…

These article, from Greatist, were short and to the point but the tips were great and better yet, information I didn’t already know. I’ve complained about it before I’m sure but I have a tendency to struggle with shin splints whenever I’m running a lot – I’ve learned they’re mostly from my stride and overworking myself. Luckily, though I had some pretty severe shin pain after running Friday, I was way more mindful yesterday and today and it’s completely gone (phew!). I genuinely love running and I hate when I have to cut back because my muscles are pulling away from the bone. Btw, yeah, that’s what shin splints do. And stress fractures, for those curious, are when the muscle pulls part of the bone away with it and – yeah. I’m grossed out too. So, I don’t want that. And the author of these short articles (seriously, check them out, even if running isn’t your favorite thing), Jason Fitzgerald, is a certified track coach so if he doesn’t know what’s up with running, we’re all screwed.

Mod Cloth’s Extra Soar-age Shower Caddy

CaddyI do not need this but it is easily the one of the cutest effing things in the whole entire world. My next place may (read: most definitely) have a woodland creatures-type theme. It’s okay, just call me Snow White. Can be found for purchase here: Extra Soar-age Shower Caddy. ModCloth’s home decor section in general is awesome – though a little price-y for a lot of cute but silly knick knacks. Don’t get me wrong, I troll their page endlessly and suggest everyone go check it out.

 

Fitness Blender

Not my photo, obviously.

My friend Meara first told me about this website and I finally checked it out. And it is AWESOME. You can search for workouts by the amount of minutes you are willing to scrounge together, the amount of calories you’re willing to let go of, even the part of the body you would most like to improve. FYI, there is no such thing as “spot reducing” so if you looking to lose fat from your abs specifically, it’s not going to happen. You’ll just lose weight in general. But if you want to actually strengthen your core, you know what kind of exercises to look up. I felt the need to throw that info in there. I’m just a wealth of knowledge today, aren’t I? So this website is created by a married couple that look like they make all of their friends on social media jealous and it’s pretty awesome. So far, it looks free too so it sounds like an all around win to me. I spend a lot of money on a gym but you really have a lot of options when it comes to home workouts.

Lastly and on a completely unrelated note, I’m a huge horror/thriller/suspense movie fan. I love ’em; love being scared, adrenaline-racing, edge of my seat, holy shit holy shit holy shit scared. So on Halloween, Beau and I rented a horror movie called Dark Skies to watch, then ended up falling asleep because we’re really exciting people. I still wanted to see it so I watched it alone the next night and you guys it’s about aliens. I love ghost movies, and it was from the producers of Paranormal Activity and Insidious so I thought, “Oooh scary ghostie movie!” I was so wrong. They showed the aliens. They had the long thin appendages and big heads and big eyes and seriously it was the most incredibly wrong turn a movie that showed promise could make. Aliens. Aliens. STOP IT.

– a.

Switching to a 6 a.m. workout?!

Man, I’m doing it. Two posts in two days – does this count as a roll? Am I on one? As Mondays go, today was pretty great. Though it took a good twenty minutes, I got up early enough (~6:45 a.m.) to go for a two mile jog before getting ready for work. This is the second workday in a row I’ve gotten up early enough to go for the run and I really can’t promote it enough. The actual act of getting up is pretty sucktacular – I spent the better part of my 25 years as an insomniac with a penchant for reading books by the illumination of a clip-on reading light; I consequently melted it in two one night when I was in third or fourth grade. But with the use of my handy dandy Sleep Cycle app (http://wp.me/p2HlrE-e3), I woke up at my lightest point and consequently wasn’t quite as groggy.

A few tips for those transitioning to morning workouts?

1. Have everything ready. I have all my workout clothes folded on my nightstand, outfit for the next day on my chair, breakfast and lunch in the fridge, and if I’m going to Soldierfit, all of the day’s clothes plus towel, shower stuff, and water bottle are prepped. If I don’t have everything prepared, I will forget it. I’ve forgotten my gym shoes before. I seriously drove to the gym barefoot and then was confused. This also happens when you carry so much shit in your backseat you just kind of assume you have a pair of sneakers back there.

melatonin2. Get a good night’s sleep. I have trouble getting up after a late night regardless, but if I stayed up until 12:30 a.m. and my alarm is going off at 6 for a run I will undoubtedly fall back asleep until 7:35, which is the “oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit” time period wherein I’m almost late to work. So. Know when you’re getting up, go to bed like 8.5 hours before then. I’m also a fan of melatonin; I don’t take it every single night but I do take it pretty regularly and it really helps keep my sleeping regular. You can pick it up at Wal-mart, or if you hate them as much as me, pretty much any store that sells any vitamins. I get the dissolvable kind that taste like strawberries because even though I’m perfectly capable of taking pills, I’m a 5-year-old. There are different milligram amounts so I’d stay stick with a low amount, at least at first, because if you take too much it can actually keep you up. Research, friends.

3. Stick with it. This is for me especially but I am one of those 50 yard dash people who gets super into something for a short period of time but then loses interest almost as quickly. You can see it in my blog postings in the past – at least in the frequency. I’ve read time and time again that to have something become routine you need to do it for at least 21 days. Hence the 21-Day Fix (not something I’ve tried but I’ve heard good things about) and other workout programs that pressure at least three weeks to a month of commitment. Insanity is 60 days but they break it into 30 day increments. When talking to Beau (the guy I’m seeing) about it, someone who wakes up at 4:30-5:00 a.m. six days a week to get to the gym and lift heavy weights, he said that it really was all about finding a routine for him. Now he has to go to have his day pan out. Speaking of which…

4. Ask around, get information from others. I’ve asked a multitude of friends who are similarly troubled with schedules that just don’t seem to fit evening fitness well and almost all of them have been great resources. But if you’re looking for motivation, answers, ideas, whatever, do research. It’s not weird, I swear. One of the greatest motivations I’ve found is using my tumblr to join workout ‘groups’ with other like-minded individuals. We all encourage each other and it’s honestly the biggest push in me making this change to really get back into the flow of working out. Tumblr is a great resource, but so are other fitness blogs (pbfingers.com is a personal favorite). Check them out! Honestly, just google it. I swear by Google.

5. Find a way to hold yourself accountable. I’m still working on this one – it’s so easy for me to just give the day a middle finger and crawl into pjs but now it’s the first thing I do and once it’s done, it’s done. So, if I don’t work out first thing, I am going to make an effort to tell someone. Basically, tattling on myself. I need that though. It’s too easy for me to fall back into procrastination.

That’s all I really have right now in the way of tips – I’m still super new to this transition. But, it’s 10 and I have to be up at 6 so I’m going to go plug my ears and try to sleep. Unfortunately, this is also the week my parents have decided to watch the TV until 11 p.m. and my the walls are thin. On the upside, moving out mid-year 2015 is looking more and more possible and boy am I excited. I miss having my own space.

Anyone else have any tips for morning workouts?

– a.

Hot Yoga Made Me a Masochist

Fall...?

Fall…?

 

I’m not going to promise to write within any amount of time anymore because it clearly sets me up for failure. That being said, holy shit it’s Autumn. Did anyone else do the stop, turn left, turn right, narrow your eyes, and then slowly turn your head left again? Because I totally did. What I think is probably weirdest is that it’s 50 degrees today and that feels chilly, when in Spring it feels like angels are bathing me in joy and light. Like, why? I really think it’s psychosomatic but who knows for sure. If it’s an excuse to get a cute new jacket I’m totally going to run with it.

So, the rest of this summer has been super eventful. Mia familia went to the West Coast and it was never the same. I think we realized, as a whole, how much we have a tendency to bicker. All families do, sure, but my family is A+ BONUS points good at it. And usually it’s good-naturedly bickering at each other, arguing for the sake of arguing. It was a stressful week – a lot of sitting and driving and looking and going here here here and here; but it was probably one of the cooler vacations I’ve ever been on. We went to Crater Lake, which, everyone needs to see at least once in their lives. We devilschurnstopped in the Redwoods National Park and hugged some really big trees – that actually may have been my favorite part of the entire trip. We hiked probably a total of three miles and it was incredible. I honestly can’t put it into words. Everyone was pretty quiet that entire hike, just looking at the trees. We spent a few days at the beach in Newport, Oregon, which was super freaking cold. But we also stopped at Devil’s Churn, which other than turning into a “let’s all get as close as possible to the death pool” adventure, was massively cool. My poor mother nearly had a heart attack because we kept inching closer and closer.

Safety first, everyone. San Francisco was awesome, though stupid packed. I think it’s the kind of city I’d love to go back to with friends and check out more of the hip and trendy areas as opposed to stereotypical touristy places. On our drive from Newport to San Francisco (oh, yeah, that happened), we stopped in Sonoma for an hour or two to check out some of the big name wineries. I think there’s a special weather that is only right there in Sonoma and Napa Valleys because it was 78 degrees, sunny, and gorgeous the entire time but before and after wine country was chilly and windy. Something’s up with that. I can’t even begin to really fit all of the goings on of that week in a blog post without taking up all of it but my favorite parts were the farm cafe we ate breakfast at with my brother and his wife (they live out there – hence the reason for the trip), Crater Lake, Cards Against Humanity with my family (unreal), the Redwoods National Park, trolling the college town we stayed in with my sister, and the Japanese place we ate at in San Francisco. I think by the end of the week we were all pretty ready for our own beds and Old Bay Seasoning, but it was truly an amazing time and I’m really grateful for the experience. Vacation week very well spent.

There's a little dip in that island. Do you see it? That's the length of a football field. Enjoy perspective.

There’s a little dip in that island. Do you see it? That’s the length of a football field. Enjoy perspective.

So the West Coast was incredible. After we got back, life went pretty back to normal. I received a promotion at work and am really, genuinely enjoying what I do, met a really nice guy who I’ve been seeing for the last two months, and found hot yoga. I can’t begin, I mean really can’t begin, to promote it enough. I love yoga; have the apps on my phone, yoga clothes in my drawer (other than just yoga pants because I’m pretty sure all females between the ages of 14-40 have at least one pair), prerequisite yoga mat and carrier in my backseat, etc. I am a huge fan. I have woken up, intentionally, at 6:30 a.m. to prostrate myself in a room full of other half-awake humans. I say “Namaste” at the end of a class and mean it. I genuinely enjoy sitting and meditating – at least for roughly 20 minutes and then it’s all, “oh my god why is it so quiet,” and “someone turn off the repetitive flute chords.”

I digress. On my birthday, I decided to hit a hot yoga class at a place in my home town with my friend, Taylor. Neither of us had tried it before but I think we both kind of assumed it’d be some asanas in a warm room. A little downward dog, a little corpse, some warriors thrown in for spice…and I have never sweated so much in my entire life. The room was easily near 100 degrees and it was aggressive. I mean, we moved fast. Hard things happened. Buckets of sweat poured from every place in my body sweat can come from. And minus the one gentleman who took “breathe vocally” as “make extremely angry orgasm sounds every time you exhale for an hour”, it was euphoric. Taylor and I turned to each other halfway through, both looking like boiled beets (which don’t sound very appetizing, I might add), and said, “This is freaking awesome.” The rest is pretty much history. Sure, there was a time when getting up from a goddess squat into Warrior II that I got tunnel vision and almost blacked out, but the first time I did a yoga headstand was also in hot yoga. I praise it to everyone.

Back in August, I think, I tried aerial yoga with my friend Vicky up in PA and thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever tried, athletically. It still is super cool and I’m hoping to get back there in the next few weeks. But hot yoga challenges me, pushes me, makes me feel like 5’2″ of rubber and somehow I leave feeling like I can scale buildings. It’s hard. It’s really hard, and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But since then, we’ve coerced a few other friends to join us and they’ve liked it just as much. I already loved yoga – the movement, the difficulty, the spiritually, the lightness afterward – but, this kind of yoga brings me to a place I haven’t been able to find elsewhere. I feel home in three places – my actual home, with my support group, and in a yoga studio. I know yoga definitely has a cult following of perky 20-somethings looking for their latest calorie-burning fix but it’s so much more and with the right instructor, it becomes a lot more. I used to do yoga on break at work in the rehab; found empty group rooms and tried not to break my neck in the 30 minutes. But now I find other time, when I can genuinely focus on it and really work. It really hurts, I really push myself, but I love it.

Now all I need to find is a good yoga top that doesn’t chance any Janet Jackson-esque slips while doing Sun Salutations. Lots and lots of back and forth, up and down…can get dangerous fast. And I wanted to tack on the end here that my friend Meara and I are challenging ourselves this month to write for our respective blogs every day. I have a tendency to really only write when I’m going through big changes, usually painful ones. Like break ups. I write when I go through break ups and it makes for a really depressing blog and I’m really not a depressing person so I’m making an effort to change. I’m also concurrently doing a challenge via tumblr called “Happy Healthy Holidays” that’s all about setting your own goals, but strongly encourages clean eating 80% of the time and working out at least 3x a week. I’m incorporating a morning workout into my work days…I really don’t want to but it’s become excruciatingly clear that evening workouts aren’t working because I’m usually too tired or have other important places to be. So, I’ll be up at 6 a.m. tomorrow. I’ll try to at least mention my workouts here, for accountability if nothing else. Now, I have to go prep my lunches for the week because yeah, that happened to. I plan so many things now. My neurosis is so happy.

It’s great to be back!

– a.

That time I threw my scale at the wall

I disappeared for a bit, but only because I’ve been incredibly busy! The last few weeks have been full of work, working out, and as much time spent with friends and family as possible. In some cases, the best way for me to work through things is alone; after all, I’m someone who craves solitude. But, recently, getting out and doing things has really helped me to feel satisfied at the end of the day. Now that I’m really committed to getting in the best shape I can, my evenings are full of burpees, fast feet, sprints, V-ups, and the dreaded pull up bar. I have never, and I mean ever, been able to do a pull up. I don’t know if I’m alone here, but in all my active years, those muscles were never ones I worked on often. But, lucky for me, one of the instructors I really like (his classes are always upbeat, he’s full of energy, and his classes don’t murder my knees) always tries to incorporate pull ups.

This hasn't happened yet but I'm expecting it.

This hasn’t happened yet but I’m expecting it.

How strange, to feel trepidation at something as silly as a pull up bar. Before pull ups, it was push ups. Before that, sprints. But the more I work at something, regardless of how challenging, the more I look forward to the challenge. I think I should probably add mountain climbers and squat jacks to that list. Another trainer that I really enjoy loves to combine those and it makes my poor knees cry. But all this pain and growth has played a vital role in finding and better understanding myself. Who honestly enjoys admitting their shortcomings? Not me. But I have to.

I don’t have great knees, thanks in part to my own stupidity. I dislocated my knee in college one night at like 4:30 in the morning. My leg gave out, completely out of the blue, and I found myself laying on ice in starburst-worthy pain. I looked down, saw my right kneecap sitting at a 90 degree angle from where it belongs, and promptly shoved it all the way back into place. That was the first time I’ve actually been in such acute pain I almost threw up. I then got to drive my car across the parking lot to the first open spot available (I forget why I was all the way up at the full front…something stupid I’m sure) using my left foot, and limped across the entire parking lot screaming bloody murder and leaning on cars. I then hopped up two flights of stairs, wrapped my knee in sweaters and raised it on a pillow, and fell asleep. I called my mom the next morning to let her know what I ‘thought’ happened…like what else do you call the definite dislocation of your knee? After being completely appalled that I hadn’t sought medical attention yet, she drove up and drove me to the hospital, where I’m pretty sure they tortured me, then prescribed me Vicodin and a leg stabilizer. Thanks, hospital. Being the smart person I am, I worked on my healing knee as a server, using painkillers to make it bearable. I do think, to some extent, working on it has helped it from swelling and rebuilt strength more quickly, but I

These are just the injury pictures I had on Facebook. Clearly, I'm not a careful person.

These are just the injury pictures I had on Facebook. Clearly, I’m not a careful person.

definitely notice that my knees respond to high impact body work a lot more quickly.

Other than that, I managed to get thrown from a four wheeler in the middle of the woods directly onto my back two years ago. How I didn’t break my back/neck/smash my head against a tree/crack my head open/etc. is an honest-to-god miracle. The two guy friends I was with, one being my old roommate, thought for a few seconds that I had died. Did I ever seek medical attention? Of course not. What did I do? Get up, ride back to the campsite (aka my roommate’s backyard), take some ibuprofen, and continue to drink and camp with friends. I then went on vacation for a week, during which I didn’t have full range of motion and mysterious swelling in various places on my back. Common sense all around.

Lastly, last summer, in the wake of a break up, I was running a lot to help get me out of my own head and managed to do something to my lower back/right hip that causes me chronic pain and my hip popping out of place for no reason. Out of nowhere, during a run, I felt something, I don’t know, pull or change, and had pain that radiates from my sciatica ever since. I’ve mentioned before that I saw a doctor for it and he came up with a brilliant conclusion (basically that it was all in my head and I’m a big ol’ baby). All in all, I haven’t taken great care of my body from an impact standpoint. Before my injuries, I had 12 years of swimming, four years of tennis, 7 years of ballet, a year of gymnastics, 8 years of

My body's response to more than 5 SF classes a week.

My body’s response to more than 5 SF classes a week.

cheerleading, and one very sad attempt at track under my belt. My body has straight up had it with my bullshit at this point. So, this means that even though I’d like to go to SoldierFit classes 86 times a week, I have to limit it to 3-5, depending on the impact level of the classes that week. Otherwise my body will most definitely cry foul and I can only assume throw itself into a 300-esque pit.

Which leads to my point (finally, right?): I threw my scale the other day. Not away. Like, at a wall. After losing a disturbing amount quickly thanks to my break up and inability to eat during tumultuous times, I was shocked when it stayed stubbornly at the same weight for not one, not two, but THREE WHOLE WEEKS. Am I fully aware that this is likely due to muscle building and have I measured myself instead? Yes. I’m not an idiot, I know how the body works. But sometimes you just want the numbers to reflect it, weird as that sounds. And treating your scale like a frisbee, as momentarily gratifying as it was, doesn’t actually solve my problem. I’m sure it’s all a part of society, we’re taught that we aren’t healthy unless our weight is a certain number (I feel like women always try to round it to 120 pounds as being that ‘number’ they try to attain…even as a size 2 I was still 125 so I have no foggy notion why this is).

Caaarbs. Carby carby carbs.

Caaarbs. Carby carby carbs.

It’s really hard not to get impatient. I want the strength, endurance, and super fabulous body right now. Of course I do. But that’s not how it works, and the only way I’ll see results is if I keep going in a way that won’t cause my body to start self-flagellation. Will the results be as quick as they have been for others? Of course not. My body is different and, frankly, I love carbohydrates. I’m still craving pretzels like no other for reasons I’m still not fully aware of. I eat gluten (GASP). Once recently, I even put bacon down my feeding hole.

Okay, stop really quick. Feeding hole is disgusting and I apologize for that. Ew, Alyssa.

Otherwise, life has been pretty decent. I ran my first 5k two weekends ago. By ran, I mean jogged half and walked half because HAHAHA I can’t run 3.some miles nonstop yet. It was the Glo Run in Carlisle, PA and it was an absolute blast. My endurance definitely has increased though; another troop I take a lot of classes with told me last week that he’d seen a big change in my endurance already and I almost hugged him. I feel different, energy-wise and physically. My legs are normally where I see changes first and already they’re becoming pure muscle. I have muscles whose names I don’t know that are showing up to the party and helping me rock out the tire flips and 8 zillion squats. I find myself pushing to get just one more push up in before we change stations, even when my muscles are burning and that lazy part of my brain is saying, “He’s counting down from 3, you can stop…stop…ALYSSA JUST STOP MOVING.” It’s a good feeling. I mean, it hurts, but it’s good.

Nicki (left), Taylor (right), and me (where else) at the lake on the Fourth of July.

Nicki (left), Taylor (right), and me (where else) at the lake on the Fourth of July.

Last weekend was the Fourth of July (for anyone living under a rock since the Roman times, who has no concept of the calendar we use today) and it was a lot of fun. Last summer, my friends threw a party at their house and I had to sit through watching my ex and his new girlfriend be super in love for several hours. I had a good time, but nothing can put a damper on that like your ex-manthing’s new girlfriend talking to you about giving him fellatio. Let me tell you. This year, we all have kind of moved up and on our separate ways. I spent the morning/afternoon sitting by the lake at Cunningham Falls, lazily hooping and eating veggie chips. It was absolutely beautiful outside. We moved our party elsewhere around 3pm, due to the need for grilling and poolside nonsense. So, my group of friends and I traversed back to my friend Nicki’s house to grill and blow water out of pool noodles like 6 year olds. And it was just as hilarious as when we were six. Eventually, we toddled off downtown to watch the fireworks (which were astoundingly better than last year), then home to bed. Because even though pool noodles are hilarious, we all are usually asleep by 11 because…adulthood.

I have to note before I end this post that I typed it up yesterday and didn’t finish it until today because, you know, work and stuff, but I went to class yesterday and we practiced running backwards.

We practiced running backwards.

I AM TURNING INTO A SUPERHUMAN…with the hamstrings of a demigod. I also stepped back on the scale today and almost threw it again so I’m thinking it might be time to put it far away in a dark corner where I can’t get on it. I’m going to try and write more in depth about my experience running my first 5k, which is why I didn’t delve too much into it here. To some people, running a 5k is nothing. It’s three miles. But for me, this was about three years of “Oh I think I should” in the making before it actually happened. It deserves its own blog post with its own incredibly inappropriate gifs.

So life is picking up. On the ex front, my body decided it would be a super good idea to start having out of the blue, vivid dreams about him. Like happy ones. I woke up crying one morning because I hadn’t thought about all of those memories in a while – trying to forget, I guess. I’ve had a few others, sporadically, since then and I’m really hoping they stop because they’re creating way too many feelings I don’t want to have anymore. Loving someone who actually used the sentence, “Regardless of my feelings about you, I have to at least see if it can work with ____,”  is only asking for more pain. I also know that I can’t force myself to not love him anymore. Love and betrayal aren’t mutually exclusive. And I’m a person who finds it really difficult to fall in love, but when I do, it’s with all of me.

So pulling myself back out of that is going to take more time than I’d like it to. And for now, I’m going to accept that I still love him and use it to my advantage rather than as an excuse to wallow. I’ll continue to try and send only positive thoughts his way, and use it as a learning experience. If I’ve learned one thing (okay, I’ve learned a lot of things), it’s that I have changed. I’m not the person I was two or three years ago. I don’t have the same low self-esteem I had then. I found my loyalty, fidelity, and, honestly, maternal instincts I didn’t think I had. Somewhere in the last six months, I found my biological clock and now I feel like the crocodile in Peter Pan. I don’t know, that’s a whole other conversation for a different post. Anyway, only three more days until I’m on a plane to Oregon! There will be so much picture-sharing, I almost feel guilty already.

But not.

– a.

West Coast here I commmee!

West Coast here I commmee!