I Take Responsibility

I take responsibility.

I cannot change my bench test. Its in the past. My max did not go up and that is something I cannot change.

But in 90 days I will have another. I take responsibility for that test. I made a plan to do push ups twice a day, everyday, until then. And less than 2 weeks later, I’m already noticeably better.

I take responsibility.

I cannot change my weigh-in. It’s in the past. My weight went up and my lean mass went down. My emotional eating the weeks leading into that day resulted in numbers I do not like and that is something I cannot change.

But in 90 days I’ll have another. I take responsibility for that weigh-in. I determined to recommit to the meal plan that so effectively transformed my body the first 6 months. And with each mistake, I pick myself up and go again. I choose to break the unhealthy habit of berating myself for each small imperfection and then using it as an excuse to continue making poor choices.

I take responsibility.

I cannot run with my friends. The only reason I have any desire to run is to do so with others but four months of not running mean I cannot keep pace or distance with my friends I must run alone.

But until I run alone, I will never catch back up with my friends. I take responsibility for my running. 4 weeks of saying “I’ll start tomorrow…” are over and I am back on the track for my non-training days. In just 3 runs, I am already running a mile in under 9 minutes and my longest run so far is 1.25 miles. More speed and distance will come with practice.

I take responsibility.

I cannot change my circumstances. But I can change my attitude and choices. I can choose to focus on either one. Focusing on my circumstances perpetuate of feeling of hopelessness and irresponsibility. Focusing on my attitude and choices restores my confidence in the future because, in doing so, I take back control.

I am NOT a victim of my circumstances. I am a victim of my own choices. For better or worse, who I am today is based on the choices I made yesterday. This can be a great weight of guilt and shame or the source of gratitude and anticipation.

I choose the latter. I choose to look forward. I choose to take responsibility. And in doing so, I take back my life.

I Quit

I quit.

I am quitting my job and I am quitting my church and I am quitting my family and I am going to just go home, grab everything I can carry and start running.

Last night I had a bit of a meltdown. It’s been a rough month. And for every step forward, I feel like I took two back. Each time I feel back on my feet, something new comes to knock me over.

As small as it is, my apartment messed up my lease and charged me an extra $70.  Waiting in the office for someone to actually take care of it, I literally started crying. I pulled out my phone to text Katy that I was not coming this week … I didn’t want to be around people; I just wanted to go home, curl up with YouTube (and junk food), and numb out until I fell asleep.

Looking at my text, before I hit send, I realized I would wake up. And when I woke up, nothing would have changed.  I would have made one more emotional decision and taken one more step away from where I actually want to go.

So I deleted the text, finished at the office, and went to community group. Instead of bolting when discussion was over, I stayed and took my armor off.  I got honest about where I am and how I feel with the elders who are members of our group.  They encouraged me and invited me to come over for dinner anytime.

Once most everyone had left, I got honest with Katy.  Where the elders were great encouragers, Katy gave me the painful truth I needed.  She pointed out the lies I was believing and reminded me of the truths I know but don’t want to face.

Bleary-eyed with exhaustion, I left for home, did my 11 pushups, and crawled into bed.  Tomorrow will be another day…

This morning I didn’t exactly spring out of bed… actually fought the alarm for half an hour. Eventually, I got up, pulled on my workout gear, and headed for the track.  It feels great to be running again and I really enjoy the app I have started using so, despite the rain, I was excited to go.

As I was running, it reminded me of all those times I have wished I was a runner.  I mean, I can run but I am not a runner.  Jessica is a runner.  She is training for a marathon while I am just hoping to make it through another 5K.

When I was younger, I read the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and ever since I have just wished I could be a runner.  To run away and find myself in miles and miles of trail. To leave behind whatever battle and start over.

Since I was always the fat kid, however, running wasn’t an option so I would look for other ways to run away.  I was convinced that if I could just get glasses, or get braces, or get rid of braces, or cut my hair, or grow out my hair… if I could just change myself enough, I could have a fresh start. Better yet, if I could just move, which we did a lot in a military family. The next place we live, I will be wildly popular and have a real best friend.

Problem is, I did all of those things and it changed nothing. My new look didn’t give me a new life and none of our moves solved anything. I was a socially awkward, overweight, obnoxious girl with no people skills and no self-confidence … not exactly a friend magnet.

Just like this morning, when I went around a track 13 times and ended right where I started, running away isn’t the answer.

Because wherever I go, I am there.
And my family will still be my family.

Those two things I cannot change… and, when the emotions subside, I don’t want them to change.

And running away won’t raise my dead friend,
And it won’t make me lose weight,
And it won’t really solve any of the stress in my life.
Well, maybe the job stress … but I’ll just end up with a new job and new stress.

So there really isn’t a point to running away.  There’s no restart. The life I have is the life I have and the choices I have made have gotten me to today. Where I am tomorrow will be based on the choices I make today.

It is time to quit… it’s time to quit running away.

What I can change, I need to take responsibility for and what I cannot change, I need to accept.

In everything, I need to press into community and realize that life was never meant to be lived alone.

140

My first max test was all about power. The previous 3 months I had crushed my disciplines and just weeks before I destroyed my 5K goal. I felt ready to take on the world.  And with no set point, there was no “success” or “failure” … just a number.  Since bench during my workouts consist of dumbbells, and my bench at the time was typically 35s, I was figuring I would be able to max 90-100 on the bar.

Donovan had to teach me how to press the bar, since I haven’t done bench with a bar since middle school. Each time he added weight, the rep count came down but I had no idea what kind of weight was on the bar. I kept giggling during the hardest part of my press.  Donovan tried telling me to grunt but I would grunt and it would make me giggle.

My final press was a second attempt on the 135 and I got it up.  Later Daniel called it “a full plate” because that is the weight of the bar with a 45s on each side. Donovan was stoked but contained his excitement, wanting me to assign my own feelings to the press without mirroring off his reaction.

The battle was all about how much I could physically lift and, for a first test, I was stoked about the results.  Since I weighed in at 175 the next day, I set a goal of improving my bench by 30 and dropping 10 pounds, figuring then I could bench my weight.  Donovan’s only comment was that 30 is a lot to add in 90 days but with focus I could do it.

90 days later…

My main fear was that I would psych myself out so I tried to avoid watching how much weight Donovan was adding to the bar… but my brain was still doing math.  Even without looking, I knew what he was doing. I pressed the 95, then 115, then 135 all without any difficulty.

My first attempt was clean but it only came down half way; that doesn’t count.  He told me to reset; it’s got to touch my chest. Then I brought it all the way down and was able to press about 2-3 inches but couldn’t get it up. I closed my eyes and tried to picture bringing the bar down and throwing it back up.  With a semi-clear picture, I tried again; and again, I got it up but didn’t go down all the way.  The fourth press I struggled through and thought I got it up… only to realize after that Donovan had assisted.

“Ok, we’ll stay there.” Donovan said and confirmed that it was the 135 I had assumed for the last successful rep. I swallowed my disappointment, took a deep breath, and glanced to see how much he had added. My heart sank; it wasn’t 10s, or even 5s.  Donovan had put on 2.5lb plates… literally that bar weighed only 140 pounds.  Physically I know I can press that; mentally I just couldn’t get it up.

When I got home I sent this email to Daniel.  For context, he’s always calling me his hero and saying he’s just a fan.  The email was titled “Not your hero today”

Daniel,

I’m still benching 135.

Benched the 135 just fine. Almost too easy.

But with 4 attempts, I couldn’t get the 140 right.

90 days, no progress?

Yeah, mental progress, sure.

It’s just not the measurable kind.

The kind I can feel good about.

The kind that makes my identity.

And maybe that’s why.

Until I untangle my identity from my results, failure to produce results will derail my identity.

And from a state of weakness like that… how can I bench more?

My physical weight went up (2 pounds) so my results are lacking so my identity is questioned.

So how can I believe I can bench more than last time?

Even if it’s just 5 pounds.

I told Donovan that last time it felt like a huge physical struggle.  This time it was all mental.

Maybe that’s the reason.

I can do more and better pushups than 90 days ago.  Logically my bench should have gone up.

It didn’t because I didn’t let it. Mentally I got in my own way. I couldn’t believe more.

So, today I’m not your hero. But today I’ll fix it so tomorrow I can be.

Jenn