Sometimes what we think is medicine is poison and what we think is poison is in fact medicine. Think about this for a minute. It has been my life experience that some of what felt so good ended up being painful and bad for me. It is also in my experience that some things that stung so badly to begin with turned out to be the best thing for me.
Life has been very chaotic for me lately. I’m adjusting to all of the recent changes and have even decided to push forward with some hard changes I’ve decided for myself on top of the changes I didn’t exactly choose. I’m getting used to going to sleep by myself. I don’t wake up thinking about heartache every morning now. I’m not tempted to request his attention. I’ve put active, conscious effort daily into focusing on myself, work, and my children. I redirect my thoughts when they go to an ugly place. I’m adjusting.
As I’ve gone through so much stress the last couple of months, my desire to cope with it by picking up a bottle of that tart amber liquid has increased. Where my normal 1 or 2 drinks was never a problem, lately has become 5 or 6. While I haven’t been up to anything crazy, and I for damn sure don’t do the whole falling down drunk thing, I just don’t want to be that person that has to drink all the time to deal with life either. So because of this, I’ve made the decision to not drink at all.
I’ve decided that not only can I not use alcohol to cope with stress, but that in order to be successful, I need to find something to replace it. Of course, I always have my writing, but I need something more. Since I have recently started working out, it only makes sense to use that. In my blog post “I Lost Him, But I Found Me” I mentioned my new beginning of self-care. I also mentioned that a friend of mine had encouraged me to jog (and how ridiculous that first sounded to me). I said I wasn’t ready to begin yet for a few reasons but that I was committed to starting eventually. Well. . .I did it!!! I freaking jogged for the first time in my adult life last night!
My afternoon and evening yesterday was rough. Once there was one tough moment, it was like a damn mudslide and it all kept rushing downhill. One hard moment after another, one blow after another, the stress kept coming. I found myself at 7 o’clock last night wanting to pull out my hair, scream, throw some mean punches, and have a drink. Since none of that was really an option, instead I put on my workout clothes and tennis shoes and knew that I needed to push myself. I needed the release of energy. I needed the increase in endorphins. I needed to show myself that I can not only do this, but I can do it well.
When I announced that I was going to Rebecca’s house to go jog, my daughter wanted to come too. For a second, I wanted to tell her no. I didn’t want her to see me be vulnerable, to see how hard it is for me physically, and I was embarrassed. I decided though, it’s good for her to see the example. It is a good thing for her to see all of my recent hurts and struggles and for me to work hard to overcome all of my hurdles. I have to teach her that even when something is hard (even really freaking hard), she can tackle it and overcome. I HAVE TO be that example. So along she went.
When my friend wanted me to warm up in the front yard, I hesitantly looked around first to make sure no one was watching. I didn’t want to be seen. I wanted to be invisible. I was ashamed at how hard it is to do simple things. But I knew my sweet girl was standing right there watching, her eyes on her mama knowing that none of it was easy for me. So I did what I knew I needed to; I ignored the embarrassment and started warming up right there in the front yard where anyone could see.
For those of you that don’t know me personally, I am by medical definition morbidly obese. I am carrying around 100 extra pounds that I shouldn’t be. So for me to get out there and do any exercise bouncing around is difficult and discouraging. My friend that has done all this recent working out with me is a tiny little thing and like I’ve said before, she’s into fitness. She’s completely on board with helping me get to the me I’m supposed to be—both physically and emotionally. I’m so thankful for her because she knows just how to push me and encourage me.
We started out and as my music played loudly in my right ear and she was pushing and encouraging me in my left ear, I tried to ignore the discouragement in my own mind. I did my best not to wonder what each person driving by was thinking, or not to think about each person out in their front yard and what they were wondering about this slow jog we were doing that was clearly hard for me and so insanely easy for Rebecca. We set goals, “Okay, make it to this corner and then we can walk to the crosswalk,” or “When you are completely out of breath, you can walk, but only until you can control you’re breathing again.”
It was tough and every ounce of the physical me wanted to quit after just 20 feet. Hell, who I am kidding, I didn’t even want to start. But I thought about my precious girl, eyes on me. I thought about all the people who have sat back and claimed I would fail or those that get to ignore my hurts and continue on with their own fun lives. I thought about how for 16 years, I’ve had this “mom bod” and never lost my pregnancy weight. I thought about every hard thing I’ve endured lately in general and every hard thing from yesterday afternoon. I pushed. I pushed until the muscles in my legs were screaming and burning in pain. I won’t lie, most of our 2 miles was still a walk, but the point is, part of it was not! It was freaking hard and I pushed myself anyway! It even got to a point where I realized I wasn’t pushing my walk hard enough and so I picked up my pace. I wanted to feel the sweat run. I wanted to feel my lungs burn. I wanted to take every stress, hurt, and blow to my heart and use it as motivation to keep pushing.
When we got back to the house and stretched, I realized that already, that 2 mile loop isn’t as long as it was when I first did it. I can already see progress. Where the love I felt was medicine has revealed itself to be poison that was hurting me. Where working out seemed like poison to me, I’m seeing that it is some of the best medicine I’ve ever had in my entire life.
Through this roller coaster, I’ve been continuously learning how to care for me. I’ve been learning life lessons that I needed. Lord knows that I’ve cried many tears wishing it didn’t have to be this way, but as I washed the sweat out of my hair in the shower last night, I had a sudden realization—I needed this! I was on a dark path in a few ways and I needed this wake-up call like I need air to breathe. Where my heart once hurt so much, little by little, day by day, I’m seeing the blessing in this. I’m going to be so much better off now. I’m taking care of me, I’m working out and working on weight loss, I’m being more loving where it is most deserved—loving on me. I can already see that within months, I’m going to be in so much better of a spot in life. I’ll be thinner, healthier, stronger mentally, and have built a stronger foundation for which to build the rest of my life upon. There will come a day at some point in the future where I will meet a man who is going to wonder how he was ever so lucky to meet someone like me. There will come a day when I understand why it has not worked with anyone in the past. There will come a day where I’m not only happy in general, but I’ll be happy with a new loving life partner. There will come a day where I look back, smile, and proclaim, “I did it!”