Tag Archives: honesty

Sister perspectives: what rest does.

I’ve rustled up my sis Jess from her blog retirement for this post and I am so glad she wanted to write this with me  as it is a topic that is near to our hearts but also one we both wrestle with more often than we probably care to admit.

Rest.  We talk about doing it, we do it sometimes, but do we *really* do it fully and believe in why we are doing it? Not always.

As we have both been hit with illness the past couple of weeks, we noticed some major realizations and observations and we share that here, openly, honestly, and fully.

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My perspective:

I believe in rest, and in rest days. I completely do. But I also wrestle with rest days when I feel good, strong, and interested in being active on said rest day. Sometimes I bend that rest day a little, as a result, and almost entirely because I absolutely adore my workouts – my chosen workouts – barre (n9ne) classes and running, primarily, and there are days where it is truly hard to temper that excitement and passion. And I’m not talking miles and miles and miles and doubled up classes (taken). I’m talking a quick (extra) run or a Sunday afternoon class (a rare treat, especially if my sister is teaching!). And Jess and I are really good at tempering each other’s workouts and being that reality check for each other – do you want to run, or do you feel like you have to run. If the latter, don’t even bother. Do you hurt everywhere? Fail. No workout. Nope, don’t even attempt it.  But that doesn’t mean the mental mind games don’t stay behind, even if I’ve agreed to keep that rest day and honor it fully. *That* is what I wrestle with most, far more than stillness.

But illness is a funny thing, isn’t it? Suddenly, you are flat on your back, can barely keep you eyes open, and everything hurts in a hurts so bad way and all you can fathom is recovery and feeling normal again. Nowhere near workout ready.

And as those days pass, where you rest, rest, rest, sleep, sleep, and more sleep, a funny thing happens. You realize what rest does. It renews you, mind, body and soul. It resets you. And it reinvigorates you. And when you come out on the other side of illness, you appreciate your body’s abilities and you learn that it shouldn’t be taken for granted and you shouldn’t do more, more, more, even if your body feels good, because that’s harder and not smarter.

Let’s face it, for example, one really strong run, no matter what distance, pays off far more than a few ‘meh’ runs where you feel like your body doesn’t want to move because your legs are tight, sore, or overworked. One – it’s not nearly as enjoyable as that ‘happy’ and strong run, and two – you aren’t doing yourself any favors in your strength or endurance. What are you accomplishing? Checking a box. That’s it. I’d much rather have one really strong run than three crappy runs. Quality, not quantity.

This is what rest does, and what rest has taught me (especially as I sit here teetering on a cold brewing, but determined not to succumb so soon after the FLU last week!). It is about honoring the rest day, honoring your body’s abilities by resting, renewing and restoring. As I like to say, one day, you won’t turn into a pumpkin. Quite possibly, the reverse. Your body becomes more efficient, more able to recover and well, happier. And who doesn’t want that?!

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Jess’s perspective:

So I’ve been a non-blogger now for almost a year and this is one of the first times that I found myself itching to write. You see, I was down for the count with this funky laryngitis thing that had me sidelined for a week. From everything. The day job – done from my home. In solitude. My beloved barre classes? I had to sub them out. Pained me. My ‘me’ workouts. Gone. I had a lot of time to think. And question.

…how could I possibly be sick after two weeks off from work *and* a quick surprise getaway to Healdsburg (aka ‘my mecca’) with my husband over the holidays? I was uber relaxed. Not worn out in the slightest.

…why was I sick? Besides the obvious – duh I picked up some icky germs somewhere along the way – but truly why. Why now?

And the more I sat and thought about it, sipping on cup after cup of tea with honey (swapping in the occasional hot toddy thanks to a certain Tony, aka Sarena’s husband!) – it struck me.

I hadn’t been valuing rest as much as I proclaimed to value it. My sis and I had this pact at the end of the year, it went something like this:

Stop embracing go-go-go-how-much-can-I-fit-into-my-day mentality and return to the smarter, not harder mentality. A mentality that, admittedly, neither of us had been embracing as much as we’d care to admit. 

Yet, as soon as I got back from wine country, I was ready to go balls to the wall again. Um hi, where did that pact go that we so smartly made right before the new year???

Yup, out the window.

And bam – laryngitis swooped in. Down.for.the.count.

My, my, God has *quite* the sense of humor, I do believe.

As the days went by, and the rest, rest, rest, mentality settled in, I started to really SEE, for the first time, the true value of rest. Every second I spent cuddled under a blanket, not running around doing a million things, not working out or teaching or any of that, not doing much of anything…except for rest…and it amazed me to see my body respond.

I actually wasn’t feeling nearly as sick as I sounded (or didn’t sound, haha), and I think that’s because I rested. My body was working hard to avoid a full-blown case of bronchitis or something far worse and I allowed the rest to seep in.

And I sat there laughing at myself after awhile. Thinking about all those mornings where I sat in a funk, mad at my rest day, not wanting to take the rest, feeling like a superhero and wanting to do it all, be it all. Silly, short-sighted thoughts to say the least.

So now, I sit here recovered and rested and ready to REALLY do what I say and say what I mean.

Embrace rest.

Seems simple. But clearly, I wasn’t really doing that before, nor was I even admitting that to myself. So I was taught (well WE were taught (how ironic that we both got sick nearly at the same exact time…) a very important lesson this past week, whether I (we) wanted that lesson or not, a certain Someone wanted to show me (us) the way.

On beauty and self image.

While it is far beyond National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (March 1), I tucked away an idea for a post after reading a few beautiful posts (Lindsay and Christine both struck me in particular, and Tina too!) on letters to your body and what makes you beautiful *beyond* what’s on the outside.

beautifulbodyNEDA

Well, I’d like to do a twist on this, because while I have never had an eating disorder (fortunate/blessed not to), I have had a long history struggling with body and self image. While the past two years in particular, have been a huge journey in counteracting that, physically and mentally, I find myself sliding into days or even chronic days of picking myself apart. And I am honestly ashamed of it, and even worse, of admitting it, to myself, and to you all here.

Because so much of it is baseless. Because so much of it is ‘in my head.’ Because so much of it is pointless.

It’s sort of like worrying…it’ll give you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere. 

What finally got me? This video. This video from Dove is absolutely stunning. It brought me to tears. And it made me realize that we certainly see ourselves vastly differently than anyone else does. The beautiful words people in this video chose to use to describe the person being drawn. And the expression on that person’s face, the more she heard those words being said about them. Happiness. Emotion. And finally? Realization that they had been describing themselves with negative words, not positive attributes.

 

It’s what I have caught myself doing more than I’d like. And I need to get back to seeing myself the way others do. And valuing myself for who I am – determined, strong, happy, funny.

I need to appreciate myself for who I am, and not who I am not, and love me for me, flaws and all. Because the flaws I see? I can guarantee only I see.

I am beautiful. And I won’t apologize to myself for saying that even though it makes me uncomfortable (and goes back to compliments and being my own best friend). And I will believe it. In every way, not every waybutwithcaveats (I am strong. *Not* I am strong…but she is ripped!)

Self – it is time to cut the sh*t. You. Are. Beautiful. Inside. Outside. Embrace you for all that you are…..for ALL that you ARE.

 

On fear, overthinking, and a work in progress.

Let’s face it, fear can be crippling. I find that I cower to fear far more often than I’d like to think. My first reaction when I am afraid of something, or to do something, or to face something, is to take a step back, away from it. Not towards it.

It’s always been my battle. It bleeds into most everything that I do and I hate to even admit that. Because it makes me feel weak. It makes me feel as though I still have a long way to go until I feel I am ‘healed’ of my poor self-image and self-doubting ways. As a matter of fact, I know I have a long way to go.

I am still such a work in progress, when I want to be the me that screamed happily throughout this post. And I am her sometimes. But I am more often the overthinking, afraid, comparing, negative thinking side of me. The side I so badly want to fix and make go away forever.

I feel inadequate sometimes. As a runner (slow, unnatural, struggles at times. <–see, there I go again…). As a lover (yes, I said it. And fear creeps in here too, but more on that later…). As myself. I want to be motivational. I want to be inspiring. I want to be seen as a survivor and thriver in all things life, love, and fitness. I also want to be real. And this is me, being real. Letting you into the negative head space that occupies me to the core sometimes.

But I feel completely the opposite of this positive side of me often, under the happy facade. There is a side of me that feels like I don’t measure up. That I am a follower and a wannabe. The unpopular kid. It’s fear. It’s the overthinking, comparing side of me that I stomp down and try to push away, but she’s still there. She still compares. She still lets it get the best of her. And she hurts. She undoes all the good I have strived to fix and make myself stronger against.

So, why, then, does it keep happening? How do I fix it…except to keep reminding myself to stomp it down before it happens? Before I start overthinking and tearing myself down needlessly?

I don’t really have the answer. Except that maybe I need to accept that I still am a work in progress, most certainly mentally. Perhaps physically. But making myself feel worse by needlessly tearing myself apart for no reason other than because it’s what I’ve always done out of habit is certainly not helping either.

So if that’s the answer – accepting myself for who I am, not for who I am not…well, I have some work to do there. I wish I wasn’t falling back on this negative space in my head right now. I was feeling great. I thought I’d overcome these moments. But I guess they are still there. They still exist. And only I can dig deep and fix them. Nobody else can do it for me.

This time, I need to harness the fear and face it. Use it against itself instead of against me.

This time, fear needs to be my motivator, not my crippler.

This time, fear will be what helps me overcome.

It simply has to.

An honest conversation.

Friday night M and I had one of our most honest conversations we’ve had so far.

He and I were supposed to meet one of his friends for dinner at 7:30 but opted to reschedule as the weather was crappy and getting to the city and back was less than attractive to either of us (but points to me for gently letting him decide…without letting on that I secretly did want to stay home, but if he did want to go out, I would have gone. He made the decision to cancel. Baby steps, right?)

So, my assumption was that he’d leave work and head up my way (as he had said he didn’t want me drive in the sleety-snowy weather, and i was happy to oblige!). He said he’d stop by his place, grab a bag and then head to my place (his job is 15 mins from his house, which is another 25 to my house. Still following?). He said he’d leave in about 20 minutes, which was around 6 (so my assumption was that he’d be at my place at 7 or so). 6:15, he was still there. 6:25 was the last text I received.

Then I waited for him to call (as he usually calls once he leaves work).

And waited.

And waited.

7:15 rolls around and he was just leaving work.

At that point, I was starving, annoyed and frustrated that he hadn’t even left yet. If we had dinner plans at 7:30, he would have had to have left earlier. The fact that he didn’t leave as he said he would and stayed longer at work made me feel like I wasn’t a priority.

But at the same time, I know his job is important. I mean, he takes care of patients all day, how can I be upset if he runs late? That was my internal battle. And the fact that I didn’t want to sound like his ex-wife, who hated his job and long hours.

Thus my conundrum.

But when he called, I couldn’t hide my frustration.

I told him exactly how I felt (and started to cry as I had pent up anxiety over my abbreviated weekend, and trip ahead, plus trying on a new bathing suit for Jamaica and being less than pleased).

He felt awful, and apologized. I started to minimize it a little by telling him it was that, compounded by everything else that was bothering me, not just that.

His response – it bothered you enough to make you upset and not feel important. That’s why I’m sorry.

He finally got to my house around 8:15 and we talked some more. I told him that I know his job is important. I know it comes with paperwork he has to catch up on after patients have left, but what I just wanted more of was a realistic timeframe for when he thought he’d be heading out. Not an overly optimistic version. I’d rather be excited that he got out earlier than frustrated than he didn’t leave when he said he would.

He admitted that it ‘sounded a little familiar’ *insert cringe* but that this was different than the past and he knows he needs to work on this too.

I know this will be a struggle, because his job isn’t very predictable sometimes and he doesn’t always have a hardfast time that he knows he’ll leave every night. Truth is, it varies. And part of the struggle is that I need to be okay with that, just as he needs to be able to ‘shut off’ for the night more than he has in the past.

But it was a start. I was honest. He was honest. We had a good conversation, and it ended with much more clarity on both of our needs and expectations.

The rest of the time we spent together, in spurts on Saturday and today, were wonderful. I love this man so much. Which is why it was even harder for when he dropped me at the airport a short time ago and he had tears in his eyes.

Which made the tears stream down my face even more.

Why…

…do I want to see M all the time, yet still like my “me time?”

(normal!)

…do I embrace when M makes plans with friends, yet when they conflict with plans I want to make with him, have a hard time rolling with it and making alternate plans (knowing he would do the same?)

(bad past habit I’d like NOT to reappear)

…do I say I am honest and open and when something frustrates me for the first time with M, I bite my tongue?

(realizing that it’s not a big deal, all things considered, but does that mean I shouldn’t mention it? The new me says yes, mention it anyway, for communication purposes…then why is it so hard?)

…does it *not* scare me at the thought of living with M?

(should it? It doesn’t, it already feels natural, even though it can’t happen until next fall, realistically, anyway, lease-wise).

…do I get surprised when I keep learning little quirks, habits, and random facts about M?

(we have only known each other for 4 months, there is still plenty to learn, and that’s half the fun!)

…does it feel like even though it’s a new relationship does it feel like we’ve been together for longer (contradicting aforementioned ‘why…’)?

(because it’s natural).

…do I love sleeping next to him at night, but love nights when I sleep alone almost equally as much?

(what can I say? I like to spread out sometimes…don’t we all?)

…why do I wish he was here with me, right now, every minute of the day?

(because I love him)

~~

We’re still growing, we’re still learning, but the bottom line is, I need to maintain the things I need in this relationship…honesty is a huge one, and I need to remember that sometimes. Compromise is good, but even still, sometimes it’s worth saying when something bothers you. It’s not a big deal, but I plan to mention it.

Mention what, you ask?

Tomorrow is my last day at my job. I wanted to go out and celebrate. We are doing so tonight, but tomorrow is *the* day, and I thought perhaps he’d be available to share it with me and a few friends. Last night, he called and asked if we had ‘definitive’ plans (we did not, just had mentioned it) as a coworker’s last day is tomorrow, too, and they are going out for drinks.

Though it bothered me that he was going to do that, instead of come with me, I wondered if it *should* bother me. We have our own lives, too, and that’s okay (in fact, I love it, I want him to have his life too as I clearly have mine). And, we are celebrating tonight and on New Year’s Eve.  But as it bothered me, I think the best route is still honest, open communication, right?

I go back and forth with it, because I know if I say it bothered me, he’ll cancel and come with me (even though he already offered to come meet up with us after he has a drink with them…see? compromise), which isn’t my end goal. My end goal is honesty.