Thursday, April 12, 2012

It's More Than Just a Rope Climb

On April 11, 2011, I completed my first CrossFit workout ever. It was, appropriately, Death by Burpee. I don't remember a whole lot about that workout, but I do remember it was not pretty. I could barely do a burpee, much less multiple ones in a row. It had been a couple of years since I worked out consistently. I was bored with exercise and routines in general. Enter CrossFit, the sport that has literally changed my life.

I have become part of a family. A family of like-minded, results-driven individuals who share a love for pushing their bodies, minds, and spirits to the limit. Who encourage each other like no other group of people I've met. We all share one common thread, passion. We are passionate people who, coincidentally, are also very spiritual people. We care about each other. We support each other. We cheer for each other. We know that our strength comes from God and not ourselves.

Over the past couple of months, the fat has started to come off my body. The muscle I knew was there, is finally making an appearance. It didn't happen overnight. There were times I wanted to quit. I gained 20 pounds and it showed. But I stuck with it because I believed it would work. It finally did. But that's not the most important thing I've taken away from this experience.

When I decided to write this blog, I was originally going to include a before and after photo. Honestly though, my physical transformation on the outside pales in comparison to what has happened inside. I found my confidence. I believe in myself for the first time in a really long time. For those of you who know what I experienced in my previous marriage, it took away a part of my soul. I was broken in so many ways that I never thought could be repaired. I resigned myself to living single for the rest of my life, because it hurt too badly. I'm now lucky enough to be married to the greatest man alive, but that brokenness from the past has always taunted me. There's that programmed voice inside my head that lies and tells me I'm not good enough, I'm not important, and I don't deserve happiness. I'm worthless, I'm a terrible person, I'll never make anything of myself. I'm crazy, I don't deserve to be loved by anyone, not even myself, no one will want me. When you are told that over and over, even when that person is gone from your life, those tapes still play in your head. It took a conscious effort on my part to erase those messages and replace them with positive words. It was really hard work though. Really hard. Until now.

On my one year anniversary of my first CrossFit workout ever, I climbed the rope. I made it to the top! I know it seems strange to some people to make such a big deal about accomplishing a rope climb, but for me it was more than just developing the strength to get to the top, it was about me believing I could do it. It's huge for someone who's been through what I've been through. That rope is symbolic for me. It represents so much more than just a cool thing I can do now. It represents my confidence in myself and believing I could do it, no matter what my thoughts were telling me. Yes, I can now do all sorts of amazing things I never thought I could ever do, flipping 275 lb tractor tires by myself, handstands, carrying 210 lb men on my back, etc. All of that has changed me, and given me a confidence I've never known. But what's really changed me is the people, the community. I have never been around so many positive people collectively at one time. I owe so much to the coaches and to my friends. From always cheering me on, to making sure I squat low enough, to not letting me use my age as an excuse not to try something, to setting an example of persistence and kindness, these people have changed me. I've learned to let my guard down (some days are still harder than others). I've learned to let people in. I've learned that I deserve to be surrounded by encouragement. I've learned that I deserve the rewards for all my hard work. I am worth it and I belong.

My symbolic climb to the top.