Tag Archives: confidence

It’s time for the game face.

I fully expected this weekend to fly by, given my week starts a day early (today) as I head off to California for my company’s annual sales kick off. But it truly didn’t. I enjoyed the shit out of it, I didn’t let anticipation get the best of me (I think I did enough of that last week), and that truly helped keep the weekend from flying too fast. (M and I had a wonderful evening for two last night, we had one of those moments, one of those talks that just…meant so much. And leaving today was truly once again very difficult, but now, I just look forward to seeing him in 4 short days).

But now? Now is time for the game face.

I need to plant it firmly and keep it there for the next 4 nights and 3 days (since things truly kick off this evening, almost literally from the minute I step off the plane).

I need to socialize.

I need to take it day by day.

I need to make sure I’m fueled properly (good thing I have a shitton of oatmeal, mini PB packets, fruit and nuts packed, and chia seeds…hope they do all they are meant to in keeping me fuller longer!).

And I need to not stress the workouts too much. My goal is to run each morning, but the wild card will be how big the hotel gym is…it’s a really nice hotel though, so I anticipate it *should* be nice. But it’s always a wild card.

Overall, I just want to convey confidence. Because it’s a new year, and what a difference it makes. Now it’s time to prove it. Talk the talk, walk the walk.

Wish me luck (and extra energy boosts!).

My truths.

I tucked away this idea after reading Dorry’s post on Truths. I have some I’d like to share and encourage you to do the same…what are your truths right now? What do you stand behind now more than you ever did? What truths are you working towards accomplishing?

Being alone does not mean being lonely. For me, there is a separation. I learned this through my divorce (read my guest post here on Divorced Before 30 and let me know what you think!). I challenge you: get comfortable with being alone. You’ll be surprised at what you learn.

Compare yourself to nobody but yourself. Focus on who you ARE, and not who you are NOT. Clearly, I believe this more than ever, and while each day is a struggle *not* to compare myself, it’s something I know I can conquer. It is one of my biggest truths to live up to right now.

 

Running isn’t supposed to be easy…that’s why I run. (and about a million more reasons why, too!). There’s no better feeling than after a run, no matter how tired I might feel at the outset, I always feel accomplished after a good run, a bad run, and every run in between. I run because it’s hard, and because I can.

 

In order to grow, life requires leaps…of faith, confidence, and motivation to be more. I don’t think this could resonate any more than it does right now. As I look at the leaps I have made in my life. Stepping on that plane a year ago to a job that I wanted, but was scared shitless of going after. But I did. And I am closing out the year feeling better than I ever have about a job, more challenged than I ever have felt and the word that *least* describes how I feel? Stagnant. The kiss of death in growth, something I never want to reach again.   The same holds true for the love in my life…I took that leap of faith when I met M, to open myself up to love – and possibly, hurt and pain – but that’s what love is about…taking the leap of faith in hopes of finding the one you’re meant to be with. Take that leap, it’s always worth it.

 

What are your truths? What do you strive for? Share it, I would love to hear it. 

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Happy weekend friends, hope it’s a fabulous one. I am looking forward to a mixture of sister/mom/niece time spent mani/pedi-ing (our annual holiday tradition!), date night and holiday parties. Cheers.

Stories that define me: on comparison and identity

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

It’s no secret that I have always struggled with comparing myself to others, and that includes my sisters.

And honestly, I think the basis for that comparison is pretty closely tied to growing up as a triplet, where comparisons are almost automatic, or par for the course. As much as I would not trade being a triplet (or what it’s like being a triplet!), being compared and searching to find my own identity over and over growing up, and even now, is something I wish I didn’t struggle so much with.

Growing up, we were in the same class (small, private school) from K-4. Fifth grade was the year we split off into two separate classrooms (naturally, Jess and I stuck to one classroom and Jen was brave enough to venture out on her own into the other classroom, where – side note – she met her now-husband for the very first time! Fate?). Middle school through high school, Jess and I were ‘the twins’ by default, lumped together, neither having a true identity to much of anyone, to be honest. As we got older, it was – who is the first to have a boyfriend (for the record, I was last…at 17. Jen was first, and her now-husband WAS her first boyfriend too! Jess was second, at 15 [I think?!] and then me), who got the best grades, who has the cuter outfit, who is more talented. (note: it wasn’t so much as we comparing between each other, just my observations outwardly, looking back at that time).  To college…Jen, again, went her own route, studying Biology at a nearby college. While Jess and I both opted for community college first (Liberal Arts) and then the very same college (shocker, I know) for communications. We both had the same internship, the same high school and college jobs and so on. The first shift in this was our first post-college jobs. Jess got hers right out of the gate, and went into graduation with a job. Me? Notsmuch. It took me four months to land my first job (which, incidentally, was the job I was at until I got the job I have now. 8.5 years at the same place).

That was probably the first time I felt like a failure. Both of my sisters had post-graduation plans. Jen, to grad school in Florida. Jess, to her first job in media planning. That summer was one of the hardest for me, as I stuck it out at the job I had all through college (and high school…and, again, where Jess met her now-husband, who, incidentally, was MY friend first. I take credit for making sure their first date happened…ask me about that story one day!). Wearing the same supermarket uniform I’d worn for the last 7 years, while Jess was off to her fancy job and Jen was thousands of miles away at grad school.

That was also probably the first time I truly compared myself. And certainly not the last. And I don’t write this as a woe-is-me in the slightest, I write this because I am exploring where this comparison mentality comes in, and how I have worked to surpass that and break out into my own identity.  An identity I struggled with for years. And one I don’t truly think came bubbling to the top until one of – if not, the biggest – inflection points in my life.

Divorce.

Yup. There’s that word again.

When I started going through my divorce and being divorced…that is what made me different. At first, I wanted to run from that label. Hide it. Bury it deep. Resist those failure feelings all over again (since, again, both of my sisters were married, and both before me, yet I was the one getting divorced…). But then, I embraced it. I started my first blog to chronicle the ‘me’ then, what I learned, and who I became….who I’ve become.

When I went through my divorce was the first time I really focused heavily on workouts, challenges, and goals, when it came to fitness. It was a time where I began working out 5-6 days a week, not 2-3. When I first started running. And lifting weights. And caring what I looked like. Before, I cared, sure, but I never put myself first, or invested in me. And that change, that shift in priority was one of the best things I ever did. I never wrote about it, or talked about it, even, I just worked out, and worked out hard. Jess and I soon shared this similar interest, running together, training to become Group Kick instructors, and eventually…to the barre n9ne challenge (one of the best things I ever did was submit us for that contest!!).

Why am I writing about all of this? Because, for the first time, I want to see myself for all that I have accomplished, not for all that I am not. Yes, I am divorced, but that doesn’t mean I’m a failure. Yes, I struggle with body-image, but I think if I never did, I’d never appreciate what I have learned from this experience, from fighting past it, squelching bad habits, and namely, the comparison game. And yes, I still struggle with comparing. And I still struggle with my body (though it’s much less!), but the one thing I will never struggle with? Being proud of who I am, what I have accomplished, and what I have shaped myself to be, since my divorce. And nothing can rip that away from me. I won’t let it. I won’t let ME be the one doing the ripping, either. Divorce was the catalyst, not the definer…to me, finally creating my own identity. An identity that’s mine and only mine.

Quietly determined. Stoic. Focused. Too serious sometimes, perhaps. But happy, confident, and focused more than ever on ME. Who I am. Not who I am NOT.

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.