Sunday, June 24, 2012

Forgiving being myself

Yesterday was a bit of a fitness milestone for me.

For a girl that, according to my June account statement, visited the gym 9 times in the first 8 days in the month, that's saying something.

It wasn't a personal record, no, that was about 3 weeks ago (repping 410lbs on the leg press, thank you!). It wasn't even anything that was physically so totally incredible: It was a Mindset-Shaking-Moment of the This Shit Will Change My Life calibre.

 I love fitness. When I miss a workout or am too rushed to put in the work I want, I feel anxious and worried. Some of you read that and see me in pictures on Facebook or at Target on Sundays and you're saying, yeah, okay Megan, sure.

And you know what? Screw you and your judgment.

When I was six years old, I sat on the scale at my Grandma's house and cried because I thought I was fat. It was spring break and I was wearing a sun dress with that waffley, stretchy and supposed to be fitted top piece that little girl's sundresses often have. The picture of the exact dress and day is at my parent's house and it reduces me to tears everytime I look at how I'm trying to hide the body I already hated behind my mom's arms.

Nothing on me was fat. Not even little kid chubby. My heart breaks for that little girl- trapped by herself within herself for so, so long.

For the next 18 years, I felt bad about myself. I was taller than my teachers and the boys, bigger than my naturally thin girlfriends. It felt like I was not only the oddball, but I was somehow wrong; wrong for not finding some magical way to change who and what I was. Everyday was tears or frustration or turning down invites to prom because I thought I was too fat to wear a fancy dress in front of my peers.

Paralyzing fear and sadness.

Then I met the man in my life. No, not Chris, but that dreadful sludge dwelling ex of mine. Given the impending wedding, I bought a Mack truck ton of personal training sessions and told the head of the department to match me up with a male trainer because I cannot get along with women. What I really meant was I'm so insecure that being around women that are thinner or prettier would make me too self conscious to function. When asked three times what my goals were and what I wanted out of a trainer, I simply said I wanted to be skinny.

It was a short sighted and shallow goal.

The breakup came and so did that infamous workout: the crying on the step up machine moment when Trainer Tim said the next 50 minutes would be a gut check, that the two things in life you'll never regret are going to church and a great workout.

No one has cheered louder for me than Trainer Tim. When boys have heard about my love of strength training and said "don't get all gross and myscley like a dude" and others have made comments about  being "a dyke" or suggested that lots and lots of running and fewer deadlifts would make me smaller, he's there with the next heavier weight on the rack and a big old fuck 'em.

Yesterday was a delectable little athletic morsel called Alpha. Not the Olympics, but certainly a mountain of physical torture that most would be unwilling to try. It's the culmination of what our workouts are: rope whipping and kettlebells, rowing and snatches and log jumping followed by fun filled incline runs with commando crawls. And when those aren't enough of a party, get down, get up, clap your hands and repeat 39 more times.

Burpees are acrylic nailes filed to a point screeching down a chalkboard.

People quit. People were disqualified. People left the course in the back of ambulances. Most did not finish.

The deets of the day are moot. But the waters were not smooth. I came mentally and physically amped up for my 9:15 start time only to find my number and name on the registration, but somehow missing from the schedule. It was nearly three hours before my toes were finally at the starting line. Any competitor can sympathize with how the wait squashed my initial adrenaline and my mental focus and enthusiasm fizzled. There were silly mistakes along the way- mistakes that arise from mental laziness more so than physical failure. They were mistakes that kept me from the leader board that I KNOW I should have been on.

Those are the thoughts I'm trying to not harp on. They are the negative thoughts that bring me down and create self doubt in exactly those Gut Check type of moments. Rather than feel bad for the not so glittering moments, they are going to be exactly what propels me to keep training, keep trying, and keep focused. I finished Alpha on my own two feet knowing I could've done better and that sucks a little. At the same time, I know I could've done better at something 99.9% of people could not do at all.

I suppose the beauty of not winning is that I didn't win. If youre already at the top, what's left? Stay there or come down.

I get to keep digging, keep reaching, keep seeking the height of how high I can take myself and that is an absolutely thrilling rush.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Karaoke ambitions and food truck dreams

Last weekend, I very politely asked Chris if he'd like to shake things up a bit by heading downtown for the Stone Arch Festival along the riverfront. But since my sweetfaced Love was completely engrossed in the US Open, much to my chagrin, I said f these niceties! And rephrased my request, "Chris, we are going out like regular childless people on a Saturday night!"

One of the perks of our extremely central residence is that we are 15, maaaybe 20, minutes from absolutely everything. Including downtown. Parking was a cinch and we held hands and strolled down to the riverfront where we indulged in crab fritters and street fair galore.

After wandering the art tents, we walked across the bridge to listen to some really awesome music and eat brisket nachos from a well-known St. Paul food truck. The nachos were meh; not exactly the earth shaking food moment I was hoping for, but so what?

The music was awesome in that special sucks so bad but all these cool looking Indie people are swaying their Keens and raising their whiskey filled Sigg bottles so oh, what the hell kind of way! The singer hung her head and moved like a rag doll as the not so discreet smell of marijuana loomed.

I love people that simply do not give a fuck.

We headed back up the hill to Nye's Polynaise for some strong drinks and dear God, a black and white photo booth! For two years, Chris has scoffed at my every request for the low quality strip of silly poses, but on Saturday, he obliged. For those that have quietly asked what lies beneath the omni present hat, yes, he does have hair. An entire head of it even.

After a couple of rounds of drinks and flirty love taps and elbow shoves, we busted out if Nyes to head to 1029 Bar for what Bon Appetite has called the best lobster roll in the nation.

Me, I hate lobster. But I love a happy common law husband. As we sank into our seats and eased into another cocktail, the karaoke began. And this was no ordinary karaoke either. People came donning costumes and wigs and put on performances that had obviously been rehearsed in great repetition. My favorites were a heavy set woman of middle age and an unassuming brunette bob. For us, she rhymed Warren G and did not miss a solitary cuss or beat. Also topping my list was a flamboyantly gay man in skinny Jeans singing Maneater. He went so far as to throw himself onto the floor, toss up his legs and kick his feet back and forth as if to personally identify with the plight of being an unforgiving predator of men.

We left 1029 and felt a sense of sadness that we left the small, dark security of being away from home and lost in the moment with one another. We wondered who on the lineup we were missing and what they were singing.

We wondered when we could go back next.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Parmesan Dreams

On Saturday morning, I woke up to nothing but the dog's ass facing me as he perched proudly atop Chris' pillow. Generally, I'm the first awake or awakened only moments after Chris and/or Snoop get up.

It's a Mom thing- the family stirs, the captain takes the helm.

After a continuation of our back-breaking but really awesome pace and busyness, I slept in until almost 8:00. If you, too, suffer from an extreme need to find reasons to create (and win) competitions with yourself over how many items on a To Do list you can pack into a 24 hour period, then you understand that 8:00am is the clock-watchers equivalent of DEATH.

I shuffled into the living room to find Chris snoozing peacefully on the couch. Nothing new- no, not new at all. There he laid, his hat tipped back and to the right, just the way it always does when he has dozed off. The TV was blaring- again, nothing new- but this time, oh THIS TIME, you guys, there on the screen was Ina Garten. The Barefoot Contessa herself.

There he was, unsuspectingly asleep and dreaming of simple recipes and quality ingredients. My infiltration was complete. No one in the world could be more meant for me.
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