“I need to get my butt back on the fitness wagon.”

“I need to get my butt back on the fitness wagon.”

I just posted that in the comments section of a friend’s blog. And I decided, hey, that’s deep stuff. I should blog about that.

A year and a bit ago I hit my fitness stride. I was aiming to hit the gym 5 days a week. In reality it was 4 days most weeks, with the occasional 5-day week. I was doing a different muscle group ion the gym each day (my super strong weight lifting hubby helped me work out a plan) and CARDIO. Always with the cardio. It was awesome. And while I wasn’t hitting my 5-day goal all the time, I felt pretty good because that was the most frequent exercise I have ever had. And I even kept it up for a few months.

I didn’t lose much weight, per se. But it didn’t matter. I was fitter. I felt amazing. My clothes fit better. I had more confidence. I had more energy. My mental state was better – I was happier. All those endorphins I suppose.

I then I got off track, and have been struggling to regain it ever since. I keep making new plans. And then I fail to execute the plan. I keep telling myself to forget the plans and just do it. Then I don’t.

Last spring I started the Couch to 5k running program. It was an eight week program and by about 10 weeks in I had completed week 6. (One week I had to do twice because it was hard, a few weeks I skipped workouts and made myself start again at the last one I completed, yada yada.) I was feeling good though. Because 6 weeks in was better than zero, even if it was slow going. I was feeling impressed with myself for how far I went every time I got back from a run. I even liked it. Kind of.

The truth is, I hate exercise. Always have. I was always that kid who ‘forgot their gym strip,’ ‘twisted their ankle’ or ‘had their period and some really bad cramps’ (who can argue with that) or just plain skipped class. Even now that I have grown up and gotten better with ‘good for me’ and ‘discipline’ and ‘let’s try new things because it will be fun’ I find I just hate it. But I’ve found ways to deal.

I wish I were invisible while I am doing it but I have learned to just keep my eyes forward, don’t look at anyone else and pretend I’m invisible. And you know what? That is a pretty good trick. I also pretend that I know what I’m doing with the weights and stuff. Even though I don’t. Fake it till you make it, you know.

I hate that my skin feels prickly and hot and my face turns bright red and my fingers and feet swell. I hate dripping with sweat and being smelly and yucky. I used to try and time my workouts around logical times for showers – because when you’re a girl you can’t just have a shower. If you’re going to be seen in public again, you have to dry the hair, fix the hair, do the make-up, you know. So I used to try and work out first thing in the morning so I could then shower and get on with my day, or I’d do it late at night so I could shower and go straight to bed. Finally I learned that it’s not going to kill me to shower twice in one day. In the middle of the day. Or swipe on some mascara. As for the red face, the red face that persists and that I so hate, I find that a blast of cold water to the face with a swirl of face powder brings it down to a “rosy glow.”

I’ve also learned there are certain environments that I’m just never going to be comfortable working out in no matter how much I want to, and I don’t have to. Usually things that involve a team. Mirrors and cameras freak me right out. Anywhere high visibility (running on country roads vs downtown for example). On the other side of that coin, if I find something I really like, I can do it over and over and over, and it’s not a rut. It’s a habit. A good one.

I’ve come to recognize that most of this, for me, is the head-game, and for some reason I have a lot of mental barriers and I just have to keep coming up with the mental tricks I need to get over them.

Here’s one I’ve been thinking about and I’m going to try and implement.

I could read less. I don’t have to read 50 books a year.

You see, I’m a busy lady. You know that – you’re probably busy too. And every time I have some down-time I want to do things I like, like reading. Not one more thing on my ‘should do’ list. I have this mental thing with reading. It makes me happy. I feel greedy for books. In fact, while I recognize that I read more (much, much, more) than the average adult human, I have this overwhelming feeling that there simply isn’t enough time to read all the books I want to read. It makes me feel a little pannicky.

I need to let that go. This will be my new mantra. Say it with me now. “I could read less.” Breathe in. Breathe out. “I could. Read less.” Breathe.

And here’s another.

Working out time could be my alone time.

I’m an introvert. An introvert with a busy family, lots of fabulous friends and a highly social job. I just need time alone with my thoughts. Work out time could be my alone time. Yes. Yes it could.

Alright. Any other advice for me?

And just so you know, I did try a new thing. I did boot camp at 6 am last Friday. And I signed up for a whole autumn full of them too. Only once per week, because it was the only time the gym schedule and my schedule meshed. But hey. We’ll see how it goes. And I’ll try and pick up the pace with other workouts too. I’ve been hovering at 2-3 per week. Sometimes good. Sometimes half-assed. Better than nothing. But I want to be a regular again. I want all those good benefits back.


Social Media Fail.

Sometimes I post inappropriate things on facebook.

Like this one tonight:

The story behind my posting is that about a week ago we were doing chores around the house and we had the radio on and this song came on with a catchy whistling tune in it.

Then I head the lyrics:

“Then you put your lips together baby and you come real close,
you blow my whistle baby, whistle baby…”

I stood there in my hallway blinking for a moment when it suddenly dawned on me that my nine year old daughter was singing along.

Catchy tune.

I wanted to tell her to STOP! And turn the radio OFF! but then realized that she would want to know WHY and how was I going to explain THAT?

So instead I walked away realizing that no harm was being done in the actual moment because she was oblivious to the AWFUL AWFUL meaning of the song, and went down to the basement to find my husband and tell him. I needed to talk about it. So anyways, he came across this image on the internets tonight, and e-mailed it to me. We both had a little LOL exchange via e-mail because I’m less alone in my bafflement as a parent if it’s become an internet meme, and then I posted it on facebook.

Without thinking really.

Within minutes I got a phone call from the wife of my friend / coworker (at the church) and she was like ‘woah what is that totally inappropriate thing you just posted on facebook’ and she was laughing because it is funny and I could hear her husband / my coworker / the youth pastor laughing hysterically in the background. Apparently you couldn’t see my comment unless you actually clicked on the picture and it just came up as the image beside my name in their feed. They thought someone hacked my facebook. (Actually they thought my husband did it.) (For the record, later my husband said ‘are you crazy I would never post that on facebook. That’s horrible!’) (He’s better with social cues than I am.)

So anyways, because of all that we got a good little discussion going about parenting quandaries in the comments section of my post. Which was why I posted it. But that doesn’t always happen.

A few weeks ago I posted this quote:

“As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.” – Adolph Hitler

Yes I did. I did make a comment along the lines of not just going along with what sounds / looks good and being vigilant about what is good.

12 hours later I deleted my post because I was met with awkward silence and I realized my post was not facebook appropriate.

People do not go to facebook when they want to think or be met with controversial issues or engage in thoughtful discussion. Facebook is a facade. It is our collective facade. I know this, but I keep forgetting it. I suck at facades. I made peace with this aspect of myself a few years ago and I made peace with the reality of facebook too, which is why I deleted my account and just stayed happily away from it for years.

It’s why I started blogging anonymously. The honesty that I occasionally brought to the page (screen?) occasionally interfered with the facades of some of my family members. Facades they have full rights to want to maintain (it’s called privacy. I get that.) To save us all grief, I deleted the old blog and started this one. And I haven’t really written about anything ’embarrassing’ since. But I probably will. Just hang around for a while, you’ll see.

Anyway I only joined facebook again this summer because my new position as church secretary requires me to monitor the church facebook page.

It was only a matter of time before my weirdness came out.

On the one hand, I like posting things that jar people into thinking about something they weren’t thinking about or seeing something in a new way. It isn’t about being antagonistic, and it’s not about the shock value. It’s about thinking. And real conversation. Healthy debate, even.

But facebook is not the arena. This is what I must remember.

I’m sure some people are like, ‘hmmm, that’s thought provoking. No comment.’ Because they have better social skills that I.

Others may just think, ‘woah, she’s a nut bar. Moving on.’ And then they move on. Because, who cares?

It is possible that the occasional person is like, ‘Uh, she is kind of aryan looking. Neo-nazi?’ Because facebook is also a really good place for missing the point.

I got out of bed and came downstairs to delete this most current facebook post (the dick-sucking one). Because I was lying in bed thinking, not about church people so much (I am their nice office lady after all) because my church people are real people and they will probably be amused / engaged and not scandalized or offended the way that people perceive church people to be. But I was thinking about the kids in the youth group I’ve been helping out with lately and building relationships with. We’re facebook friends. I feel responsible to them, not that I need to create a facade because the last thing our youth need is another one of those in their lives, but because they are young and they might not understand the context. If I’m going to be in a mentoring role I don’t want them to be confused about who I am, and the things I’m trying to convey might not be so obvious.

Why am I so bad at the internet?

Home, Part 1

I’ve been working full time in the church office for a whopping three and a half months. I like it. I really really like it.

I never knew I would work in a church. It was never really something that I dreamed about in my youth, or even the goal I had my sights set on when I was in university. But here I am. And it feels right. I know God guided me here. I’m not sure why and I’m not sure where this is going, but it’s right. It just is.

I actually started working in the church just over seven years ago. I was twenty-five, had just been baptized – a young wife, mother and Christian coming out of a highly unstable past. Trying to heal and grow and figure things out. My oldest girl was two and a half, my youngest was on the verge of her first birthday and I was heading back to school. I was unhappy and afraid and unsure but it was a huge turning point in my life and for once I was actually taking steps instead of just letting things happen. I was full of fear, but determined. It took me a good six months of soul searching and weighing my options before I decided to head back to school. I prayed and prayed and prayed but I didn’t really feel a nudge from God about what I should do. But I got the feeling but I had to take a step – any step – any direction, I just had to move. I couldn’t stay in the same spot in my life. So I picked a direction, took those first steps and prayed God correct my path. Make me go where you want me to. I had some idea that I might want to open a business one day but at least was grounded in reality enough to understand that I didn’t really have the skill set to pull it off, so I enrolled in the Bachelor of Business Administration program at our local school.

My friend, another young mom and the church janitor at the time, moved away and I took her place cleaning the church simply because the opportunity presented itself. It was the perfect job for a woman in my position. I was busy. Man was I busy, but I still needed to bring in a little cash every month. Cleaning was perfect because it was so flexible. I could show up and do the work whenever I had a gap in my schedule. Some nights, that gap came after midnight. Also, working alone gave me the time I needed as an introvert to just be alone and still be productive. I spent those hours mulling essays over in my mind and working out my arguments before I had to write them down to meet a deadline. Even though the job felt like such a coincidence when I took it, I’m certain I wouldn’t have done so well in school if I had had any other job.

So I spent the next seven years earning my degree, part time, while being the church janitor and God was right there, fully present, the whole time. Oh, the lessons He taught me.

I wound up switching from the business program to the arts, mere weeks into my first semester. That sunny fall afternoon that I stepped out of the academic advising office and headed towards the parking lot I felt such joy and peace but also trepidation, such a swirling mix, and suddenly God was there. It was the first I had heard from Him since I had started even thinking about what to do with my life. I said, God, what am I doing!  Why didn’t I just go with Arts in the first place – why bother with all that business stuff? Why all this waste of the last few weeks.

And you know that was one of the few moments I have had when I actually heard God’s words in my spirit. It’s only happened a couple of times in my life, but even now I can clearly remember His words in my mind, in my heart, words that were not my own but that were stronger and clearer than my own. He said, You wouldn’t have gone back for Arts. 

That’s all he said. But I felt such confirmation and a sense of, I don’t know, rightness, about the path I was now heading down. And after some thought I realized it was true. I had been living a life ignoring what I was good at, in fact if you had asked me at the time what I was good at, I would have said nothing. Because I honestly thought I had nothing. No talents, no good qualities, nothing. But I started to pay attention to who God said I was, and the things He put in me. I let Him Father me and teach me and grow me and mold me and guide me. I just went with it, even if they were things that the world didn’t think were particularly interesting or attractive – my friends and family and my church family included – but I just trusted God with it. And the rest of my education was incredible. I just felt I was going with the flow, the current, the stream, of what God had for me. I never got a clear vision of the future – I still don’t. And I endured many, many, many comments, questions and suggestions that an arts degree is useless in this world, a waste of time. An indulgence. A straying away from Christian teaching. Not worth anything in terms of earning a good wage. I heard it all. But knowing that God was with me made it a no-brainer. I never second guessed it. I grew into the things I’m good at and the gifts that I actually have instead of the things I wish I was good at and the gifts the world applauds.

All of this only sharpened when I decided to major in philosophy. But again, it’s where I was drawn, God was clearly in it, leading me, teaching me, and growing me. I did well.

Anyway, I could say a lot of things about school. I could fill a book with stories of when and how Jesus showed up in this most unexpected and inexplicable places. And that’s just the educational side of things. The amazing things that I saw, heard, and experienced in those late, exhausting nights hauling garbage and scrubbing toilets were a wonder in themselves. God was always there too.

But I want to talk about what happened as graduation approached, and what has happened since. I guess I’ll write about that next time. Because now it’s time to go mash the potatoes for dinner. 🙂


Clickety Clack

They keyboard of my own laptop feels so alien now. The keys make such a racket. They clickety clack, clickety clack as my fingers peck at them. The pace isn’t exactly slow, but there is some hesitation as I try to reorient to where the keys are. This old laptop, that I wrote hundreds of words at every day since 2006, has been sitting mostly unused for the last few months. I have an iMac at work. And my iPhone for everyday e-mail and social media and a thousand other things. Since I haven’t been writing papers or blogging or writing poetry or writing anything my trusty old MacBook has grown rusty. Well, not rusty. It’s as plastic as it ever was. Not as pristine white. It’s pretty dingy and banged up. But in computer years she’s close to retirement age and she’s letting me know it.

All she’s really good for is word processing. And I’m starting to think I might be able to process words again myself.

In small batches.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

I think I’m beginning to calm down now.

Even though my life has certainly been less ‘busy’ over the last 3 or 4 months I have still had that constant feeling that if I slow down I will fall behind. I tempted fate and slowed down anyway. The heavens have not crashed down upon my head. So I’m beginning to relax. I’m beginning to be able to just… be.