becoming infinite

always learning. always growing. always lifting heavy things.


5 Comments

i haven’t cut myself in ten years, and this is why i’m terrified.

i’ve mentioned a few times before – most notably here and here – that i battled through an eating disorder for a pretty good portion of my adolescence and 20s. but something i’m much less forthright about is that years before i fell into the rabbit hole of anorexia and bulimia, i became ferociously addicted to tearing open my skin.

self-harm was a completely different animal for me to fight and attempt to conquer. while some aspects of it were linked to my eating disorder, most of it related only peripherally. i have no better way to explain it than, i just got hooked. anyone who has ever felt the grip of addiction can attest, to some degree, to that hopeless, helpless need, to the pathway of “I’ve got this under control” and “I could stop any time I want” to, gradually and then all at once, “Oh my God I can’t not have this in my life.”

and so at thirteen years old i became an addict. by seventeen i was running out of real estate, my hours upon hours spent attacking myself relegated ferociously to only those places where the cuts and scars couldn’t be seen.

not even a month after i turned eighteen, i entered Treatment #1.

less than a year later i started attacking my arms, my legs – things i had told myself i would never do. too obvious, too visible, too risky. my eating disorder worsened, i drank too much. i felt everything and nothing. and i tore into myself with a reckless, i-don’t-give-a-fuck abandon that would eventually lead me to Treatment #2, which slipped seamlessly into Treatment #3 when the kind folks at #2 deemed me a poor fit (i.e., a little too far gone) for their program.

I was in the beginning of my 6-month stint at Treatment #3 when i cut myself for what would become that last time.

it was February 15, 2005.

and here i am, ten years later. anniversaries like this are funny things. once i realized i had a “streak” going i began meticulously counting weeks, then months. at one year i bought myself a bracelet (which i still have). every year for the first seven years i got myself something on my “sobriety” date – a new shirt, a fun snack, something. at five years i got a custom-made necklace that i would wear every day for a few years, and after that, every February 15th. last year, when i thought i had lost that necklace i tore through my entire apartment until i finally unearthed it, tangled amid jewelry i rarely ever wore and had all but forgotten about.

and here i am. ten years. one decade. a pretty significant milestone.

but instead of it feeling celebratory, it all scares the shit out of me.

the terrifying thing about being addicted to hurting yourself is that you can never get away from your intended target. every night i go to bed in this body that i crave to attack, and every morning i wake up in it. we are inextricably linked, this body i live in and the demon in my head that yearns to destroy it. and even though it has been ten years – ten entire years – when i’m acutely distressed my default emotional response is to want to dig into myself.

ten years. and i am still frighteningly attracted to sharp things.

ten years. and when i feel like my heart is breaking, i am compelled to break open my skin.

ten years. and some days i am still that 13-, 17-, 20-year-old girl, literally shaking with need, and the best i can do is close my eyes and bite the inside of my cheek and remember, recall, but try not to fantasize. because that is too dangerous.

because it takes only eleven steps from my bedroom door until i am standing in front of the butcher block stocked with a plethora of tantalizingly sharp edges.

because there is no “only this once.”

because ten years is a long time. and while it may seem like a badge of honor, some days it feels like an albatross. like a thread that has been stretched just one inch too long, my timeline is fraying, spinning in upon itself, threatening to snap.

so i try not to think too hard. i try not to remember too much. but i try to remember enough that the ten years still seems worth it.

ten years. and i’m still afraid to let it feel permanent. because above all else, i am always myself. and this is part of my story; some chapters never end.


Leave a comment

9 weeks out – finding the drive.

today was the first day of a new, 4-week training block. i really enjoyed the last one, and i feel like my back and shoulders gained some strength and size. since it was a four day split i also enjoyed a little more flexibility with my three off days – i rock-climbed a few times, did some metcons, and once or twice just grabbed a platform after work and did some hang cleans to work on power and speed (my elbows, and really everything, are the opposite of speedy).

this past week didn’t go quite according to program. the girl i’m very much in love with and i called it quits; i’ve been sad as hell about it. it was the strangest, most loving break-up i’ve ever experienced, but i’m still so sad that it’s hard to move sometimes. and on monday i had to have a little surprise oral surgery, which led to more melting down because (a) i hate the dentist ANYWAY, (b) i wanted my mom, and (c) i now have a big-ass hole where my molar used to be.

so with all of that on my mind, i had a hard time hitting it in the gym with my normal energy. plus, my training partner and i haven’t been able to coordinate schedules all week so we both flew solo monday and wednesday.

but nothing is ever perfect. training schedules can’t be followed 100%, all the time. meal plans can’t be followed 100%, all of the time. i got in there and put in work, even on the day when i was still bleeding from aforementioned big-ass hole in my mouth or the day where i laid in pigeon bawling while i was doing my post-lift mobility.

but today i hit my projected squat opener for two triples. so there’s that.

 


Leave a comment

10 weeks out and sending a 9

up and down week, training-wise. if i could compete in accessory work i would own so many records. sadly, i compete in three lifts, and one of them (my squat, what else?) is currently a mess.

but today we hit projected second attempts on squat for three singles, and 240# came up like buttah. we widened my stance pretty considerably and it helped me feel like i could really sit down into the hole, rather than needing to hinge back. so that was exciting, and a pretty big relief too.

we hit second attempts on bench for 3×1 as well, but we were in a hurry because my coach had a 4pm client so there was maybe a minute rest between each. my first 135# came up slow but fine, second didn’t even budge off my chest, and third was a grind. right now it looks like i’ll open at 57.5kg/126# and take either 60kg/132# or 62.5kg/137# for my second. i think when i’m well-rested i should be able to bury 62.5, but we’ll see how the next few weeks pan out!

and then the girl and i went for a little friday night indoor climbing fun. i warmed up on a 6 and a 7, and then jumped to an easy 9. and while it was definitely a light 9, i sent it and was super stoked! i’ve (a) never sent a 9 before, and (b) not climbed since…november? then i went and climbed two other routes – an 8 and a 9 – and now my forearms are falling off. but we had so much fun. a good friend of ours works at the wall and caught us all night. after having spent the last four weeks with our relationship in so much flux and stress, it just felt incredible to hang out and be silly and have fun.

10987414_10102144725389925_8141115914278615464_n

this route was really fun to climb. i’m also really excited that my calf does this, because it’s kind of muscle-y and neat.

Week 4 of training continues tomorrow with tons of back, shoulder, and chest work. i have to get cranking on my El Paso presentation (the paper from which also just got accepted to a conference in LA…more on that later!) and some exam things for students.

here’s to a great weekend!


2 Comments

doing the thing.

sometimes relationships get rocky. even when you really love the person and they truly love you, and you both believe in one another and your abilities to make each other happy…shit still happens. and right now i’m with somebody who i really care about and with whom i’m willing to work through the shit.

the last month has been difficult for both of us. i went for about a week only sleeping 2-3 hours a night; i dropped nearly an entire weight class in ten days. we’re still fumbling; we’re nowhere near the couple we were. but we’re working and working it out.

and last night we spent an hour together doing what we do best: goofing around. we did a metcon (which i will discuss no further because i detest conditioning workouts!) and then hijacked a vacant wallyball court to do some acro and other yoga fun.

(if you’re just tuning in, the brick-shaped one on the left is yours truly. the very cute one in the orange is my yoga partner/thai food cohort/snuggle buddy/girlfriend.)

i wish i had the time and patience and general electronics knowledge to splice and cobble together all of my favorite snippets. we took about 20 minutes of video, and my favorite parts are where one of us bites the dust and we end up in a laughing heap of silliness.

but i did capture this image, because we both love being upside down:

tumblr_nj99vnz7L91scqn73o1_540

 

 

things are far from perfect. we’re hanging on because we believe it’s right. because even though everything seems mixed up and sad right now, when we see each other it all feels okay. and last night was good. i’m lucky to be in a relationship where the “good” is so good it makes you want to work through the not-so-good.

tumblr_nj88meDink1scqn73o1_540

happy hump day, everyone.

 


5 Comments

meet prep: 11 weeks out.

we’re nearing the end of our first block of training. yesterday marked the beginning of Week 3; after Week 4 we’ll switch to a new block. since the reemergence of my appetite i’ve been feeling more comfortable with bigger weights (imagine that!) and not as frustrated.

monday we had 12×1 of our final bench warm-up. i hit 120# for all of my singles and they were smoke city. ideally i would like to open at 60kg (132#) on meet day, but i’m okay with opening at 57.5kg (126#) as well. we’re still far enough out that i can continue to plan and strategize!

but then we had 3×10 pause squats. my training partner is a former collegiate soccer player who then started CrossFit after graduation. she owns me in anything high-rep. i, on the other hand, am a tubby powerlifter who considers sets of five cardio conditioning.

we both did 135# for all of our working sets and i was straight f*cked up for three days. i literally got on my yoga mat at 5am on tuesday and thought to myself, “i can’t bend my knees so maybe i can just…freefall down to the floor…”

then yesterday we got to do something i’ve been waiting for for quite some time: we got to pull heavy! i worked up to my approximate opener weight (275# in the photo; will open at either 125kg/276# or 127.5kg/281#) for three speedy singles, then did 225# 3×3 with pauses at the knee. it was great to pull heavy again, and to be back pulling conventional too. i had good bar speed – especially for me, the world’s slowest lifter – and just need to focus on cranking my shoulders down.

275 pull january 2015

and then for fun we did a widowmaker on bench – video here! 75% of final competition warm-up, which had me right at 95#. the final rep was so long i wasn’t sure i would come out of it. and inb4 CHEATER ARCH. don’t hate on lumbar flexibility. brandon lilly even complimented it. so there.

10487574_10102132801675145_3250424989113513241_n

today we did accessory work, and i teach yoga for 2.5 hours tomorrow for some good ole active recovery. things feel good; a little beat up, but strong. excited to smoke the end of this training block and get going on the next one!


Leave a comment

12 weeks out – meet prep life.

i’ve decided to compete in another full power meet, on April 18th. even more exciting is that for the first time, i have a training partner! she’s also a grad student here, and we’ve been lifting together for about two months now on and off. she decided she wants to compete, so we’re running this meet prep cycle together. our pulls are almost exactly the same; i have a bigger squat but hers is way prettier than mine; and she never really benched regularly so while mine is bigger, hers will shoot up in the next few weeks.

this prep cycle is way lower volume than i’m used to – only four days of lifting per week, and big lifts on only two of those days. i wondered if having three “off” days would make me anxious or antsy, but so far i love it – the training days tax me so much i’m more then ready to take an entire day to recover before the next one!

mobility is a huge priority for me right now. it helps that i’m teaching yoga 5-6 days a week. plus i force my sorry butt to get up and do some spinal and hip work every morning before i go to the office. my back unlocked over break; now we’re just trying to keep it there!

my squat continues to plague me; my bench is growing slowly but steadily. we pull heavy on friday for the first time in ages, and that will determine openers. i’m shooting for 231/126/281. i hit 120 for twelve really fast singles on bench today so that bodes well. 126 was my second attempt last meet so it would be nice to open there or even 132 if i get some good training reps in these next few months.

i had lost my appetite – and a good deal of body weight – due to some crazy stress and anxiety earlier this month. everything is slowly getting back to normal, and my metabolic furnace is back to its usual spastic and speedy self.

and in other, less gym-y news, if you don’t follow me on instagram (@jenncanliftyou) already, go do that so you can watch videos of my girlfriend and i playing the ukulele and singing. it’s so cute i swear you’ll fall in love with us.

and i’m going to el paso next month for a conference. so there’s that too.


2 Comments

we’re always all right

I win all the awards for worst blogger ever. Except that now that I have the WordPress app I’ll probably come around a lot more often. Sad but true.

Since acquiring the elusive and sought after status of Doctoral Candidate (Extraordinaire) I have managed to…do pretty much nothing productive. Unless you count copious amounts of cross-stitching, reading four books, and watching lots of Homeland and The L Word with my girlfriend as “productive.”

I spent winter break in Florida with my dad, at his new house right on the inlet:

image

and my girlfriend joined me a few days after Christmas. The holidays without mom and now my grandmother too are still hard, but they’re getting more manageable every year. I had a really nice time, and as always am struggling with the whole “back to the grind” thing now.

Before I left I squat 185# for a set of 20. So that was something.

And now, here we are. I have a goal to have my dissertation proposal in a full draft form by spring break. One of my papers got accepted to a regional conference that will bring me to El Paso next month. And I’m competing in April.

Life is crazy. Sometimes it’s overwhelming, but most of the time it’s great. Maybe I’ll come back here more often. Until then:

image

Smile and laugh, guys.