May 7th, 2014 Today Was The Day
Today was the day I wanted to experience. Honestly, recounting it makes me a little emotional. I woke up feeling rested. I didn't have any cramping--no air swallowing evidence, not a twinge. I felt good for a change. I think I might have forgotten what it feels like to wake fully rested, but it was like riding a bike and I was off to the races.
I was up enjoying coffee, writing a micro-blog on facebook...
"The greatest gift you can give yourself is an unbreakable commitment. This passionate pursuit of yours will attract plenty of support. You know what's right and good, stay the course. Never give up, ever. You're setting your importance level to its highest setting. Isn't it refreshing to discover the power you hold, the power to choose change before change chooses you?"
I cooked breakfast, packed my snacks and lunch, made it to the studio on time and had a great show. I put in a full day, normal schedule--none of this split shift so I can nap stuff. I accomplished a bunch of stuff and a couple of things I've put off too long. Two O'Clock hit and I was still feeling good. So instead of going home for a mid-afternoon nap, I drove straight to the YMCA.
I must stop right here.
I've straight up avoided the YMCA for over a year. I had a recent location broadcast from the Y, and really--I did it because it was my job and it turned out okay. But as far as showing up to exercise? No. I haven't been able to get past my own complicated brain. And it's nothing against the YMCA, after all our local YMCA is one of the best in the entire state of Oklahoma. It was me, blanketing myself with paralyzing shame and guilt over weight gain. I lost so much weight and felt so great for so long in that building. I even had a couple of speaking engagements in there...I just couldn't stand to show my face, not until I returned to a healthier weight.
I now truly understand exactly what I was doing in this avoidance: I was projecting my own feelings and emotions into imagined scenarios with whomever I might see. If I'm disappointed in myself, they would be disappointed. If I was disgusted with myself, they would be disgusted with me too. Of course--here's the deal: All of that is baloney. Why? Because we're only the center of our own universe. In other words--people are not paying as much attention to us as our tricky brains would have us believe. They're too busy worrying about themselves. And so what if someone did come up and talk with me? Do I really believe the conversation would go like this?
Sean: "Hey, wow, been a long time, you're doing well. look at you go!"
Imaginary person: "Holy crap, what happened to you?? You've gained a bunch of weight."
Sean: "Yeah, I did, certainly did, but I'm..."
Imaginary person: (interrupting) "So disappointed in you, man. Wow--how could you let me down? You
were such an inspiration, what happened?"
Sean: "I'm so sorry, I uh..."
Imaginary person: (interrupting with a reminiscent smile ) "Remember when you wheeled in 275 pounds worth of Velveeta in that very gym over there as a visual aid in one of your speaking engagements? I'll never forget it--you pushed it in a shopping cart while trying to wear your biggest clothes like a costume of sorts, remember? You had to have two people walk beside you to hold up your clothes, then you reached the front of the room and shed them in front of everyone in that packed gym, revealing the thinner you. You gave people hope that they could do it too, just like you."
Sean: "They can...many of them did do it too, I was just..."
Imaginary person: (interrupting again) "Fraudulent, that's what you were, I mean, look at you!"
Sean: "I'm human. I just, you know, I lost my way. Look, I'm sorry I let you down."
Imaginary person: (walking off in disgust--talking over shoulder) "Whatever..."
That scene isn't happening, ever. And it didn't happen today.
Fear does strange things to our thinking. But fear is rarely what it seems because it's affected by the powerful mixture of emotions and imagination. Letting go of the irrational fears and walking back into that building to exercise was a very big breakthrough.
I checked in and went straight for the locker room. I had to go. I washed my hands and looked in the mirror. I told myself it was going to be alright, then proudly proceeded upstairs to the elliptical machines.
Not one person approached me. I recognized a few, even exchanged smiles with a couple before slipping in my ear buds, turning on my music and climbing aboard the workout machine.
I wanted to stop in the first five minutes. The burning in my legs was intense! I thought, I once did this for 45 minutes to an hour...How?? My legs might have been burning, but the overwhelming emotion of overcoming my initial fear of simply walking through the door was very powerful, overriding my quit mechanism.
The songs were speaking to me...
OK Go's "This Too Shall Pass" blasted through... "Let it go, this too shall pass...Oh you can't keep lettin' it get you down and you can't keep draggin' that dead weight around..."
DEVO chimed in with "Now whip it, into shape, shape it up, get straight, go forward, move ahead, try to detect it, it's not too late, to whip it, whip it good."
Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust," Men At Work's "Down Under," Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Dexy's Midnight Runners "Come On Eileen," Madness with "Our House," and then it all slows down and I get really introspective with Christopher Cross's "Sailing."
"Well it's not far down to paradise, at least it's not for me. And if the wind is right you can sail away and find tranquility. Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see, believe me. It's not far too never never land, no reason to pretend. And if the wind is right you can find the joy of innocence again."
I'm not too much of a macho man to admit, that song sometimes makes me cry because it's so damn beautiful. Just listening and allowing the music to take your emotions on a ride. It's beyond description.
What's even more amazing is my legs were probably burning like fire the whole time, but I didn't notice. And I didn't notice how I was already twenty minutes in, shooting for thirty. The last ten minutes was much easier than the first five. As soon as the clock showed 30, I stopped, wiped the sweat from my forehead and thought, that was awesome and I must do this more often!!
I left the YMCA with a blast of endorphins running through me in the most wonderful way. I felt better than I have after any recent walk in the park. I was on top of the world. Everything else--the stress, anxiety, uncertainty, irrational fears---all of it melted away. I felt a familiar freedom. It was good.
Before heading home I grabbed some groceries for an experimental dinner creation I wanted to try. My steak fajita tostadas worked out beautifully. You can see the picture and calorie count on my Twitter feed: @SeanAAnderson And the same picture with recipe is posted to my Facebook account: Facebook.com/seananderson505 The individual ingredient calorie counts can be found on MyFitnessPal, username: SeanAAnderson
I enjoyed dinner, did some cleaning and sat down to write this blog. This was the kind of day I've wanted.
After a breakthrough day, I imagine I'll sleep even better tonight.
Thank you for reading,