Musing Moment 109: What I Am

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strong

That is Google’s definition of the word strong.

I fit this definition.

Because I fit this definition the next logical step is to accept the fact that I AM strong.

It IS ok for me to accept this aspect of myself. It is ok to be stronger than others. It is also ok to be weaker than others.

Accepting my strength does not make me better or worse than anyone else. It does not make me unfeminine.  It does not make me arrogant or conceded.

Being strong is simply a part of what makes me, me.

My goal is not to be strong. Being strong is a byproduct of being true to myself and that’s ok.

I am Jennifer Conley, daughter of Susan Conley, and I am spiritually, emotionally, and physically strong.

 


 

fitness

This is Google’s definition of the word fitness.

I fit this definition.

Because I fit this definition the next logical step is to accept the fact that I AM fit.

I get sick less often and I recover faster when I do. I am less tired and sore after physically demanding activities.

I am more fit than I was in my past. I am more fit than some people, less fit than others, but that does not mean I myself, in this moment, am not already fit.

This is another aspect of myself which is ok for me to acknowledge and accept. Recognizing this as a truth about myself does not make me egotistical or narcissistic.

I can let go of the nebulous goal I’ve had for years. I no longer want to “be” healthy. I AM healthy, and it’s ok for me to want to maintain and improve upon my level of fitness. Much like the term strength, wanting to improve something doesn’t mean I am not already that thing. I am fit and being fit is now a byproduct of being true to myself.

I am Jennifer Conley, daughter of Susan Conley, and I am fit. I am healthy; spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

 


 

Time for Some Goals

 


 

I have affirmed for myself that I am strong and fit, so now comes the part where I figure out what I want my foci to be and why I’m still dissatisfied with myself even though I consciously know I have drastically improved.

Firstly, I have determined there are things I do not want.

I do not want to be a certain size. I do not want to be a certain weight. I do not want to be “buff” or “one of the guys”.

I want to be myself and I want to be human.

Cool. Those seem easy enough to fulfill, right? Go me for setting the bar super high. : D

All joking aside, I have determined there are three things, in particular, I would like to focus on.

I want to improve my cardiac endurance, I want to be more agile, and I want to be more flexible.

 


 

Cardiac Endurance

I will complete the Spartan race in December.

This is now my immediate goal.

I want to prove to myself that I’m able to do it, regardless of if I run the whole course or not. I want to show myself that I’ve improved and that I can keep reaching higher and higher. All it takes is time and determination; dedication.

My reward for completing the Spartan course will be new compression gear. New shirts and shorts; my birthday gifts to myself.

I will begin running twice a week to improve my cardiac endurance.

My next goal will be running the Warrior Dash in February. I will run the whole course. My reward for the Warrior Dash will be new Vibrams and flipflops.

In April, April 4th specifically, I will go to my sensei and express my interest in being a fighter. This will give me two months to reflect on my journey and solidify my next courses of action.

This admission to my sensei will begin the next phase of whatever I decide my life to be.

 

Agile

Agility is the speed and strength at which a motion can be performed.

Being agile will help make me a better fighter and give me an edge against bigger, more muscle-bound opponents. I can improve my agility by incorporating plyometrics into my workouts. I can quantifiably measure my agility by tracking how high I can jump, how quickly I am able to complete sets along with how many repetitions I complete during a set.

My current goal for measuring my agility is jumping the red box at the gym. I am already at blue, a step above both gray and green.

My reward for jumping the red box will be new boxing gloves.

 

Flexibility

While being agile is more connected to speed, flexibility is more concerned with the range of motion one can attain during an action.

This is something I feel I have largely neglected since mom’s death. I can feel how my hamstrings and hip flexors are tight, how sometimes it’s hard to keep my knees from bending while I stretch. My range of motion is not what it used to be and I can feel that difference within myself; that limitation.

I will incorporate yoga back into my routines. I will attend a yoga class once a week.

My goal for measuring my flexibility in my hips, hamstrings, back, and shoulders is to hold a complete and properly executed “Standing Bow Pose” for 10 seconds.

At this moment I do not have a reward for this goal.

 


 

So, why so dissatisfied?

 


 

I’m not really unhappy with myself. I don’t look in the mirror and berate myself and say unnice adjectives inside of my head like I’m my own bully. But there is a level of “not quite there yet” within myself that I don’t like.

I don’t have the body I “want” to have and so I haven’t really accepted the improvements I’ve made even though I appreciate them and consciously recognize that they are there.

Like, dude, seriously, I have guns now. And not just nerf guns. Actual bicep definition and yes, it’s as sexy as it sounds.

So what gives? If I like the changes I see then why am I “not ok”?

After researching and looking up the definition to different terms like I was back in middle school or something, I think I’ve figured it out.

I want to be leaner than I currently am. I want to have a different body composition.

The good news?

Becoming leaner is something that is inevitable for me. Like strength and fitness, becoming lean is and will continue to be a byproduct of being true to myself. Nothing needs to be changed or added for me to reach this next “nebulous goal”.

I am leaner than I was six months ago. I am leaner than I was when mom died a year and a half ago. I am leaner than I was four years ago. The dissatisfaction I feel with my body is largely due to the pressers of society and my own mental image of what I “should” look like.

The best thing to do is to not become discouraged that I am not “there” yet. I need to be patient with myself. I need to keep in mind that rest days are important and that there is such a thing as pushing too hard. I need to stay the course and not get frustrated. I want to get “there”, but I want to get “there” in a healthy and safe way. Becoming leaner will come in time. It’s already drastically improved and will continue to do so all on its own.

I’m not sure if becoming leaner counts as a goal. I don’t think it does and I’m ok with that. This isn’t meant to be a goal, more a realization of why I feel dissatisfied with myself. That dissatisfaction is uncalled for on my part. I should remember how far I have come rather than focusing on what society thinks I should be.

I am doing well and this aspect of myself, my body composition, will continue to improve and change as I keep myself focused on my goals and commitments.

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Daily Post 036: The Feeling of Suffocating

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Hey Keyboard,

It helps to think I’m writing to someone right now. I guess it’s another moment where I need it to be you.

I had all of these things I wanted to tell you, and now that I’m here I can’t think of anything. I guess it’s because today has been such a full and long day so now I’m tired. And in my tired state, I know in the grand scheme of the Universe my days and struggles are trivial so there’s the slightly self-deprecating thought of, “why bother to write at all?”

I went to the dojo today. It’s the first time in I can’t remember how long that I got to spar. I got to wear my gi. I got to wear my belt with my one stripe on it. I got to see some of my buddies. Not a whole lot of them since it was a Saturday class, but a few.

I went to kickboxing yesterday. I got out of work early enough to go. I wanted to go. It was a good feeling to have motivation like that. I pushed pretty hard. The trainer was one of the guys I like.

It was pretty cute. He came up to me and said, “There she is! The girl with beautiful kicks!” It made me genuinely smile and feel warm. Acknowledged. I do exist. Others notice.

Since it was a small class he helped me with technique and pushed me more than a majority of the other people since he knows I’m at a different level.

That’s something I’ve had going through my mind for most of the day. One of the guys I sparred with at the dojo was a person I’ve never met. At the end of our match, he said, “You’re really strong.”

When I had first been thinking about my day I had thought I would stay for Muay Thia after jiujitsu. Danny was there, and Roman. It would have been a fun class, but the emotions of my grief had been pulled too close to the surface from sparring. I opted not to stay and went to my car and cried instead.

At the time all I could think about was how I hadn’t been strong enough to make my dad stay when he divorced my mom. I hadn’t been strong enough to keep Warren #2 from rapping me. I hadn’t been strong enough to save mom when she was hospitalized.

There are all of these moments where I wish I had been stronger, more able, more something. Strength doesn’t mean anything if you can’t protect the people you care about.

Yeah, I’m stronger than I was. I can lift things on my own that used to require help. I can run faster and farther. I can do all of these things and even though I know it’s an improvement it feels pointless and hollow. I’m strong but in the areas that matter I still feel weak and helpless.

I asked Warren #1 for a hug when I got home, but it didn’t help. I don’t think it ever will anymore. I think we’ve moved past that point. He’s caused me too much stress and heartache over the apartment and not paying rent for so long. I can feel a distance between us, one that I put there. I’m not sorry it’s there. Maybe that’s cold and bitchy of me. I think of him as an annoying brother type figure. We can get along, but he can be extremely frustrating and “not worth it” sometimes.

Tody has been a productive day. I’ve gone through three to-do lists and I’ve done all of the items that were listed on them.

I’ve been having a hard time sleeping all week. Last night was the first night where I slept deeply. It was a good feeling to wake up on my own rather than to an alarm at 3 am. I cooked breakfast for the first time in over a week. I had a homemade cup of coffee in my cup. I sat on my doorstep holding my cup in my hands as I  felt the day warm up around me. It was nice. It was perfect.

I started playing Torchlight 2 with my brothers today. It’s a fun game. I’m enjoying it. Warren and I had lunch together and went to an oriental market. I got caught up on all of the messages, emails, and such that I haven’t had a chance or energy to reply to. I got my calendar updated with my work, social, and training obligations.

I did a lot today and I’ve done a lot over the past week. Five days in a row at the clinic was hard, but they were good days. I’m continuing to get more comfortable with my team and the patients.

I finally got to see my blacksmith Thursday evening. He didn’t stay very long, but we got to talk and see each other. I feel like it was something I needed. I needed to see him, to feel his hand on my cheek. I needed to feel him say “I love you” against my lips.

I realized that lately, it has felt like I’ve been suffocating. I’m breathing, but it’s short shallow gasps. Emotional overwhelm feelings like drowning. Life overwhelm feels like suffocation. There isn’t enough time to recover from one thing before the next thing takes its place. I keep having to go and go and go and go without pause for reflection or rest.

Not being able to see my partners factors heavily into that feeling of suffocation. Maybe more than I realize or care to admit. Not sleeping well plays a huge role as well.

And at the moment, while I’m on the subject of sleep, it’s already 11:30 and I still have dye to rinse out of my hair, so I’m going to go.

Things are ok. I’m still hurt. I still haven’t meditated or worked through my sadness. I can see the positive things in my life, though