becoming infinite

always learning. always growing. always lifting heavy things.


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we are here.

we are here to drink beer
laugh at the odds
and live our lives so well that
death will tremble to take us.

-charles bukowski

 

the past few weeks i have really, truly felt as if i am living well. i just finished up my last semester of doctoral coursework. i have two good, strong plans for what to do once i pass my quals in the fall. my transition from post-meet to a new, high-volume training cycle has made me feel awesome, physically and mentally.

i laugh a lot.

i go out for burgers and pizza with friends.

i do a little dance before i make a big lift because this sport is fun, darn it!

sometimes i look around and i’m amazed. all those years buried by an eating disorder, and all of the years of restrictive “healthy” eating and vigilant “healthy” exercise veiled as recovery…i can’t believe i was missing out on all of this. last saturday my friend stopped me after i got done training and said, “hey wanna go grab a burger?” and we went and sat at the bar and had burgers and fries and i laughed so hard that i lost my voice.

six years ago my greatest concern was maintaining my thigh gap and burning a minimum of 750 calories on the cardio machines every morning before class. now every day i wake up just wanting to be a better version of myself than i was the day before. i still work hard at the gym, but it’s a different focus, a different energy. i’m an athlete; i love that and i own it.

i’m turning 30 in two weeks and i finally feel like i am living life well, living it fully and the way it ought to be lived. i’m healthy and strong and i’ll always be a work in progress but dammit i am living.

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untouched.

I haven’t held your hand in eight months and the human skin replenishes every twenty-seven days. You’ve never touched this skin and I don’t think you ever will.
the day i decided to stop contacting you, i put a post-it on my wall and started keeping a tally.
for months i had known that the only time we talked was when i reached out first. and even though i told myself one, three, sixteen times to just stop, the centripetal pull back to you was too much.
my tally is at 25 days now. five neat sets of hash marks on a bright pink post-it.
it’s like an advent calendar. only instead of getting a piece of chocolate every day, i get a little piece of my self-worth back.
it doesn’t feel good, knowing you’re somebody’s option. knowing that when somebody can’t make it through dinner without texting their friends back yet takes two days to respond to you, what they’re really saying is “you are unimportant.” i let it eat away at me, let myself wonder if i could change it – maybe if i was extra thoughtful and extra funny and extra cute you would think i was worth it.
but there is none of that now, none of that any more. in just two days i will be a wholly new person on the outside from the day i started my tally. in two days you wouldn’t recognize me. i wear my new skin like i wear my new heart: softly and gently but with steel underneath.
in two days i will molt and i will take down this stupid pink post-it because if 27 days is enough time to grow a new skin it is surely enough time to dispatch of the last layer of my heart you will have ever touched.


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set the world on fire.

be who you were created to be, and you will set the world on fire.

– saint catherine of siena

the semester is 99% complete. all of my major papers (3 of them plus an article review, totaling over 10,000 words) have been handed in. i know that i received an A on one, so that’s a nice feeling.

i have 2 final exams to give and grade, and 2 to take myself. i should probably be studying right now, but it’s friday night and i’m exhausted so i’m going to be a lump and then hit the books (and recordings) hard tomorrow.

three weeks into the term i was crying on the phone with my father, convinced i wasn’t going to make it. classes were too much work, i was teaching two new curricula, i wasn’t smart enough, i was going to crack under the pressure.

yet here i am. as silly and cliche as it sounds, i find myself more and more every day. i bother less and less to hide my laugh, my personality. i don’t worry about being quiet, being contained. i realize that i am truly good at my craft; i’m a more confident teacher every time i step into the classroom. (both of my faculty evaluations came back with very positive remarks, which is wonderfully encouraging.)

oh and did i mention i’m getting strong as heck?! i benched 115# for 7 reps earlier this week; six months ago that was my 1RM. i pulled 235# for 7 last weekend; my 1RM in august was 240#. my squat continues to get more stable – i hit a triple and some solid doubles at 150# earlier this week, and did some banded box squats up to 175# bar weight/about 250# top weight with band tension.

oh and this happened:

(i know it’s the slowest pull ever. my right ring finger got caught in the seam of my leggings and i stalled for about 2 seconds so i could detangle it. but that moment when i lock out? pure bliss.)

i’ve been chasing a 300# pull for a while now. i pulled 281# pretty easily at the meet in october and i really wanted that next milestone.

i fly home on thursday. it’ll be a week in NY, then a week in FL with my uncles. when i get back to lexington i have another 2 weeks off before classes begin.

we’ll also start our meet prep training; my next meet will be the middle of april. if i stay healthy and keep progressing, it’ll be a great time had by all.

it’ll also be my triumphant (and very short-lived) return to 56kg-status. because right now your girl is lovin’ life at 62kg. a little bit of fluff never hurt anybody; i plan on doing serious work on the christmas cookies back home!

this semester has been one of growth (no pun intended har-har). definitely one of struggle, but mostly joy. every day has been about finding myself, even if only a little bit. i have found a field i love, a profession i adore, and a sport that fuels me and makes me feel alive.

i will, in the best of ways, set the world on fire.

 


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survival and spitting fire.

Don’t worry about your body.
It isn’t as small as it once was,
But honestly, the world needs more of you.
You look in the mirror
like you’ve done something wrong,
But you look perfect.
Anyone who says otherwise is telling a lie
to make you feel weak.
And you know better.
You’ve survived every single day,
for as long as you’ve been alive.
You could spit fire if you wanted.

clementine von radics

first off, i love clementine von radics’ work, and if you haven’t heard of her, go here instead of reading the rest of this post.

something i haven’t talked about much (or at all) is how my shift in training, from distance running to powerlifting, has changed my body.

even when i was training for my half marathons i never had that endurance runner “look.” i’ve never been lanky and lean, that’s just not the way my body exists. i was seeded in the first wave (sub-8:00 pace) both times i ran the derby half, and looking around the corral as we were getting ready to go i remember thinking, “i am such a little brick compared to these people!”

then i got into powerlifting.

since july i have been training exclusively in powerlifting; i lift heavy most days of the week, and my cardio consists of lifting faster. i knew my body would change, but i have been honestly and consistently surprised by just how much.

without going into great boring detail, i have gotten bigger. there’s no sugar-coating it – my quads are bigger, my butt is bigger, my shoulders and back have gotten significantly broader.

and i’ll be honest, it’s been a huge adjustment mentally. i feel the most comfortable when i’m in the gym – partly because spandex is comfy (i know that seems counter-intuitive to some people, but if i could live in compression shorts and bro tanks, i would), and partly because when i’m in the gym throwing weight around, i don’t give two shits what i look like. all i know in that moment is i feel strong, and that’s all that matters.

but i definitely struggle in the mornings when i’m getting ready for work. we’re not in sundress weather any more; i’m stuck with a whole lot of separates, and they fit a lot differently than they used to. there are certain things i simply can’t wear right now – blazers that can’t contain my lats, jeans that have no prayer of holding my butt and thighs. and i’m not gonna lie, it’s tough. it’s difficult to intercept those thoughts of “oh my god i gained weight this is awful i’m fat” when they’re still – even after all this time – somewhat ingrained.

but then i get in the gym and i pull 250 pounds off the ground and think, “well shit, who cares if i have a big butt?! this body does some pretty damn cool stuff.”

so yes – my body is not as small as it once was. but when i think of all it can do, all it has survived, its size suddenly becomes irrelevant. and i know, damn well, that i could spit fire if i wanted.

(also, as an aside: fit and feminist linked my last post to their facebook page, and it generated a ridiculous amount of traffic last week. so thanks to the ladies there for the publicity, and thanks to all of you who visited and any of you who came back a second time!!)