Last night we had a party… a cookie party. Everyone brought different deserts… and I ate all of them. More than one of all of them. Even my own cookies (which were from a store, unlike everyone else’s homemade confections), I ate more than anyone else.
And I was pretty upset about it. I mean, seriously, I know better!
Added to this failure, I have this low-level fear that has been haunting me that I am going to go backwards. Because it’s the holidays and because the gym is about to take a week off and because I injured my hipflexor and have been toning down my workouts.
Historically when I couple failure with fear it creates anger-turned-inward, aka Depression. And the downward spiral begins (or continues).
But that didn’t happen last night. This morning, while I have a slight stomach ache from the flour and sugar I consumed, I am not angry or depressed or even afraid. Why?
Simply because progress.
Progress physically is easy to measure. Donovan has me step on a scale, pinches me in a few places, uses a tape measure, and then the computer pops out numbers that say “look, progress.” And who am I to argue with numbers?
The mental progress is more important but much harder to see. In fact, it is only in my failure that I even had a chance to glimpse how far I have come.
Sure, leaving the party I sat in my car for a few minutes fuming. I texted Donovan a toned-down version of my immediate emotion: anger.
My desire was to go run or do crunches or something before going to bed to work off the calories and to burn off the anger. (Two issues here: I worked out right before the party and my hipflexor needs rest so it can recover.)
Before Donovan could respond, I was already starting to self-correct. It was almost an out of body experience, watching my mind start down it’s familiar path only to pull back to the right thinking. One night can’t undo months of progress. Look how far I have come. You can’t be perfect so stop comparing to that…
By the time I got home, I was in control. Jenn, tell me what you did right tonight … no, not by working out before you went. What did you do right at the party? … Ok, now, tell me what you learned.
I put ice on my hipflexor and headed for bed, keeping my mind securely on my answers to those two questions. And when I woke this morning there was peace. Not guilt or shame or anger. Just peace.
I want to look thinner and I want to be healthier and I want to increase my lifting weights. But that peace was worth so much more than I can describe in words. Y’all, the pain have I caused to myself so many times in my own mind… it’s incalculable!
I was surfing Facebook this morning and came across a video, which I shared. The entire video is great, and talks about how fake our perception of beauty is from the media. But what hit me the hardest was one point where the video says “You are the REAL woman. ‘Imperfections’ are what makes you YOU. You define standards, not the other way around.”
I define what is good or bad or meh or awesome… I define who I am and what I want to be. And my version of awesome is not going to look like yours. We are on different tracks with different equipment running different races.
The cookie party was a good experience. I had a great time with friends and strengthened my relationships. More importantly, I earned a new kind of personal credibility.
My trip to Arizona taught me that I am strong enough to travel without messing up my food and exercise plans. And that was a great discovery. My response to my behavior at the cookie party showed me that I am capable of failure, like legit multi-cookie failure, without falling apart and needing to start over.
Smaller clothes are awesome.
Stronger lifts are fabulous.
Pullups (someday soon…) will be a great achievement.
But my internal victories … the ones you can’t see that shift me from inside, these are so much more valuable. Messier and harder and yet totally worth the struggle.