Stronger…Whatever It Takes!

Nothing will make you realize how out of shape you are like a KMS Bag class.  It’s hard.  It’s so hard.  It pushes you physically, but more than that, it pushes you mentally.  I’ve got three classes under my belt now, and one thing has remained the same through each class for me:  I’m stronger than I think I am…and I’ll do whatever it takes to finish!

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And it’s funny, you know, the thoughts that go through my mind when I hit those moments during class where my muscles are burning, my breath is shallow, and I feel like I’m going to puke.  With that level of exhaustion you’d think I’d be thinking, “Stop!  Quit!  Enough!”  But I don’t.  Those thoughts don’t even enter my mind.  Instead, what I think is, “One more!  Don’t Quit!  No Pain!”

I actually hear Rocky’s trainer from Rocky IV, when Rocky is training in Russia, and he’s doing that insane exercise where he’s holding on to a table, with only his shoulders resting on the table, and he’s slowly and with epic control lowering his feet to the table in slow, methodical reps, and the trainer just says calmly, “No pain.”  He says over and over with intense control, “No pain.”  And that’s what I hear in my head when I’m struggling to do one more rep, to punch one more time, to throw one more kick!  All I can think is, “No pain!  Finish!”  How fitting that the soundtrack under that scene is called Hearts on Fire.  And that’s how I feel during class.  It’s hard!  Really hard!  And yet it’s the most amazing thing, because I’ll do whatever it takes to finish!

And you know why I think that?  Well, it’s twofold.  The first is because, and I can’t believe how much I truly had forgotten this fact, but I’m a tough bitch!  When I set my mind to something, I truly can do anything.  No matter how much it hurts, no matter how long it takes, no matter how much I sacrifice, I will achieve my goal!  But the second, and the most powerful piece for me is that it’s the culture at KMS.  They make me want to push harder, hit harder, finish as hard as I possibly can.  They make me want to make them proud as much as make myself proud.  It’s a place of positivity, of encouragement and of community.  And to finish a class and have everyone congratulating each other for killing it out there, well, that’s just something amazing to be a part of, and I’m so grateful for every class.

kms200The last two days I haven’t taken a class, because my work schedule doesn’t line up for me to take a class.  And I find myself missing it.  I’m looking forward to noon tomorrow when I get to go hit stuff again!  I find my self getting into fighting stance while waiting for the elevator, or standing in line at the grocery store.  It’s pretty awesome.  It’s only been a week, but I already feel like I’m a part of KMS.  And when I signed up, I’m the 200th member, which was such a cool thing for both me and the owners!  It’s a big milestone for them, and a huge moment for me.   Every experience I have in this place just shows me that I found the right place at the right time, because I feel so good when I get there and even better when I leave!  If you like to hit stuff, and want a good workout, and you live in Seattle, you really should come join me!  I dare ya!

Ciao for now,

M sm

Krav Maga…aka, Awesome Workout aaaaaaaand I Got to Hit Stuff!!!!!!

Ikms-logon following through with my plan to check out Krav Maga Seattle, aka KMS, I got up early, ate a healthy breakfast in plenty of time to let it digest before I headed down to the gym.  It was really easy to find, and there was plenty of free street parking.  I walked in, was instantly greeted by Ally, who helped me get set up for my free week trial (this is usually $20, but there’s a special going on right now where the trial week of unlimited classes is free!  Can ya say kismet??) and I took a seat and watched the final few minutes of Krav Maga 2 class, and holy friggin wow!  That class was no joke!  The amount of self defense, combat training, and technique going on amongst these amazing athletes blew my mind!  I decided to just watch the Krav Maga level 1 class today, but was planning on taking the KMS Bag class, which I’ll get to soon.

So, Krav Maga Level 1….yeah, not for the faint of heart!  The pre-workout, good gawd, I got sore just watching the class.  And after about 10 minutes or so, they all partnered up and started working on punches.  There was every kind of body type, fitness level, skill level, and intensity out there.  The first timers to the class were well instructed and people were so willing to help them do things correctly.  The veterans were friggin inspiring.  One chick in particular, she had dreads and a black bandana and she was a beast!  Her technique was impeccable, her focus was formidable and her intensity was inspirational!  They moved on from punches, to working on knee strikes.  They then worked on getting out of a hold if someone grabs you around the neck from the back and tries to choke you.  I just loved everything I saw, and can’t wait to take my first level 1 class.  Ally taught the class with help from a few other instructors, with the owners keeping watch and shouting out words of encouragement and inspiration throughout.  Everyone gave 110% in that class, and it was a powerful thing to watch!

An hour after that I checked in, grabbed a pair of boxing gloves from the loaner bin, and headed to the mat for my first KMS Bag class.  And Chau, one of the owners started us off.  We all grabbed a jump rope and jumped for 5 minutes.  That doesn’t seem like that long, but when you haven’t jumped rope since the 80s, yeah, it was so long!!  I instantly realized how out of shape I am, but I fought through the pain.  Fought through the burn.  And lasted the full 5 mins.  After that, we did some across the floor work, engaging our core, warming up the entire body.  I felt slow, and weak, but I pushed through.  Then, Ally took over the class and we strapped into our gloves and all grabbed a heavy bag.  And that’s when the magic happened for me!  Not only was my body already sweaty and exhausted, but it was invigorated and craving more!  And this is what I was craving!  I got to hit on the heavy bag!

Working in 2-3minute intervals on different punches, it felt so good to get back to working on a heavy bag.  My body instantly remembered the form I need for accurate, effective punches.  I heard my grandfather’s voice in my head telling me to center, engage my abs, use my hips, keep the punches at shoulder level, and exhale.  And I did.  And it felt great!  All was well until we had to drop down and do sit-ups, and that quick change of level send the first wave of nausea and dizziness.  Coming off of 65 days without sugar made it tough because my body was low on fuel!  My pace may have been a lot slower than the rest of the class, but ya know what, I didn’t quit!  I went at my pace, but I didn’t quit!

I got back up and pushed through.  More dizziness came.  More nausea.  The coaches checked on me, I slowed my pace, but I didn’t quit.  And somehow, at the end of class, I was able to complete a pyramid series of punches, roundhouse kicks, and splays and did so without puking all over the gym!  It hurt.  It burned.  My brain and muscles were screaming for me to stop.  But my heart was too far into it.  My soul was too hell bent on finishing.  I remembered that I have the word Forza, which means Strength in Italian, on my arm for a reason!  I am stronger than I’ve been lately.  I am one tough bitch when I want to be, and I was NOT going to give up!  And when I finished, not only was I so proud of myself, but all the coaches gave me high fives and congratulations!

For the first time, in a long time, I felt so welcome somewhere new.  It felt like I finally found a place I belong!  And even though my heart was pounding out of my chest, I was breathing harder than I have in a long time, and my entire body was shaking, I felt such elation, I can’t even tell you!

I am going to finish out the free week, cuz why not, but I can tell you right now, I’m already a member of KMS.  I am so stoked to workout at this place 5 days a week.  And the best part, it’s friggin walking distance from my office!  No excuses!  This was meant to be on so many levels.

I got to my car, checked in with my best friend so he would know I survived.  And then, I cried.  I cried a release of tears I didn’t know I needed to cry.  The release I got today from all the tension I have been carrying around for the past 6 years finally felt like it was letting go of me.  The weight I’ve been carrying felt lighter.  Yes, I’ve tried yoga.  Yes, I’ve tried diets.  But none of that gave me the endorphin rush, the fulfillment, and the sense of personal accomplishment that this KMS Bag class gave me today.  Some people run. Some people yoga.  Some people crossfit.  Me?  I like to hit stuff.  I like to spend an hour with a heavy bag. I like to learn to defend myself while getting fit.  I’ve found the place that is going to help me reach all my goals, both fitness wise and nutrition wise.  How’s that, you might ask?  Well, because they have a nutritionist there that I am going to work with to ensure I’m fueling and recovering properly for this level of pushing my body.

I more than found a breadcrumb today.  I found a lost piece of myself that I’d forgotten about, and was so ecstatic to find.

Ciao for now,

M sm

You Gotta Listen!

So, one of the things I do to keep myself grounded and healthy is to do Reiki.  I have a wonderful woman who performs Reiki on me, and I truly do love it.  (If you’d like her details, let me know).  Anyway, of all my sessions, one thing she says to me every time is, “Your spirit guides are always trying to guide you and give you hints, and you ignore them.  You need to listen to that voice inside you that is trying to guide you.  Yet, you discard things that show themselves to you every day, and if you’d stop doing that, and pay attention to those things, it would help you find what you’re looking for.”

And I believe that she’s right.  However, hard habits are tough to break.  So, that being said, I’ve been trying to listen to that little voice more, and pay attention to signs around me.  And holy crap, if it isn’t working!

The past two weeks have been tough for me on this crazy high protein diet I’ve been on.  I’ve had no interest in eating.  I haven’t felt well.  I’ve been moody and cranky.  I have had no energy, and have been battling myself with wanting to quit.  I’ve been arguing with myself because I saw the urge to quit as a weakness.  As my giving up on a tool that will help me lose weight and get to a healthier, slimmer me.  I didn’t want to quit yet another diet.  I wanted to finish what I started.

But no matter how often I argued, that little voice inside got louder and louder.  And it wasn’t saying ‘eat junk food’ or ‘you need to stop!’.  When I took a breath and listened, what it was saying is, “This isn’t the right path for you.  It got you started, which is great.  But it’s time for you to move!”  And that’s what I’ve been feeling.  I am really wanting to workout, and this diet plan doesn’t allow for that.  And while it’s an extreme fix for an immediate health concern, I really need a plan that allows me to move!  And I heard my body loud and clear on this yesterday.

I had to carry a bunch of stuff from one building to another at work yesterday, and by the end of the day my arms were so sore.  I’m not used to being that weak!  I’m not used to getting out of breath from a 10min walk, slightly uphill from my car to my office.  While I might be getting thinner, I’m definitely NOT getting fitter, and I’ve been feeling this way for a few weeks.

Now, on my social media newsfeeds, one thing kept popping up over and over again.  A link to  Krav Maga Seattle.  It’s been everywhere, and last night, I clicked on the link.  And something told me that this is where the next phase of my path to a better, healthier me is supposed to go!  Not only do they teach Krav Maga, which I’ve always wanted to try, but they offer heavy bag classes, HIIT training, and yoga!  It’s like one stop shopping for all the workout types I love.  And as many struggles as I’ve had lately, being able to smack the crap out of a heavy bag as many times a week as I need/want to, sounds awesome!

I spent last night soul searching.  Should I shift from Ideal Protein to Krav Maga?  Is this the right move for me?  I emailed my doctor, who of course wants me to stay on Ideal Protein.  is convinced that’s what I need to do.  And when I woke up this morning, this horoscope was waiting for me:

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My hope is that my doctor only has my health in mind, but that is one expensive diet plan, so that may be a motivator as well.  Either way, my gut is telling me it’s time to find a better solution.  One where I sweat!  one where I eat balanced meals for every meal.  One where I feel good every day and not bored, frustrated, weak, and lethargic!  I’m not abandoning my plan to get healthy.  I’m just changing my course of how to get there!

My first class is on Saturday. And I’m really excited to start this new journey.  I am going to listen to the that inner voice.  I’m not going to regret changing my mind or tactic!  If nothing else, this journey is teaching me to trust myself more.  That’s what my Reiki Guru is always telling me.  To trust myself more.  So, that’s what I’m going to do.

Breadcrumb definitely found!

Ciao for now,

M sm

What do I want?

What, Mr. Gosling, do I want?  What do I want?  This scene, from the Notebook, one of my all time favorites, not only because it’s epically romantic, but because his delivery of the line “What do you want?” that he says over and over is so perfectly acted.

“Would you stop thinking about what everyone wants.  Stop thinking about what I want, what he wants, what your parents want.  What do you want?  What do YOU want?  WHAT do you want?  Goddamnit, what do you want?”

I’ve watched this movie  a million times, and never before tonight have those lines rocked me to my core.  What do I want?  What do I want?  Just me.  No one else.  Not my friends.  Not my boss.  Not my coworkers.  Not my parents, more specifically, not thinking about what my mother wants is such a foreign thing to me.  But she’s not here anymore, so what she wants no longer matters.  What do I want?  What. Do. I. Want?

As I sat in my favorite spot on Cannon Beach, Oregon tonight, I watched the waves gently crash on the sand as the sun slowly dipped below the water, and I thought to myself, “What do I want?  What do I really, truly want?”

My first reaction was ‘I don’t know.’  I’m so lost, I let go of everything I wanted so many years ago, how the hell do I figure it out now.  And then I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and let the clean sea air fill my lungs, and as the tears stung my eyes and rolled down my cheeks, I let it be ok that I don’t know what I want.  I let it be ok that I’m still lost.  And in the instant I forgave myself for not having it all figured out, clarity came to me.  And here’s what I want:

  1. I want to be happy.  Which is tough, because the last time I was truly happy was so long ago, it took a few moments to summon up that feeling.  Remembering where I was when I felt true happiness and bliss.  It was on the stage of the Playhouse at UW when I sang an oversolo for Seasons of Love and brought the house to their feet.  And it was because in that moment, I was truly in a moment of being who I was supposed to be.  I was performing.  Which leads me to:
  2. I want to perform again.  With my new job, I’d let myself give up the dream of performing.  With my love of writing taking over, I’d forgotten how much I love to perform, because when I’m in a good show, with a good cast, and a good director, my soul sings, my heart is full, and I’m at peace.  Guess it’s time to dust off my monologue collection.
  3. I want to stop hurting physically.  My health is in my hands, and my hands only.  I’ve been flirting with life changes in this area, but have yet to commit.  It’s time to stop fucking around with my health, and to get serious.  There are no more obstacles to blame.  It’s all on me.  And I’m done letting me down.
  4. I need to start saying yes to more things.  No is so easy for me.  The ‘responsible’ choice has been necessity.  And now, I can afford to enjoy life more than I’ve been doing lately.  Time to start saying yes.

I want to be happy.  Dammit, I want to be happy.  I want to be happy.  I’m going to be happy.  Knowing what I want is going to help me, hopefully, find the rest of these breadcrumbs so that I can finally get to the life I’ve dreamed of for so many years.

I was sheltered and isolated for so long, so focused on someone else’s wants and needs, it’s taken me this long to realize that I’ve yet to focus on what I want.  Old habits are hard to break, but as of today, this habit is breaking.

Breadcrumb very emotionally found.

Ciao for Now,

M

The Reiki-ing

I’ve dubbed 2015 the year of the body, in where I am finally going to fine tune mine back to something I can be proud of, something I no longer neglect, something I am no longer ashamed of.  And the plan of attack is a combo of yoga, strength training, clean diet, and procedures.  And no, not those types of procedures, I’m talking chiropractic, massage, acupuncture and meditation.  And so far, so good, as we reach the end of the first month of January, but the emotional side of me wasn’t quite believing in my cause.  I was carrying around some negative energy, so a friend of a friend is a reiki master, so I thought to myself, “Self…I don’t know what reiki is, but let’s give it a try!”  So, I made the appointment and went on Friday.

Now, knowing me,  you’re probably wondering why it took a few days to blog about this experience, well, that is because it rocked my world so badly, and I have had so much to think about, right this second is the first time I felt like I could articulate what I’m feeling.

So, for those of you not in the know, reiki is an energy reading and cleaning by a reiki specialist/master/guru/magic-person!  And it friggin worked on me!  When you get done, you get told things about yourself that no stranger should know.  And without getting into he details of my very intense, very profound reading, let me just say it was life changing.

It reaffirmed a few health things i knew were going on.  It also brought to life a few things about my upbringing that I’d repressed, one of which was based in the learning/conditioning/family way that I’d been taught when it came to elders.  I was told from the time I could understand, by all the elders in my family, “You will find times that we make you mad, or do things you don’t agree with.  You are going to get quite mad, and maybe think you want to say something about it, but I’m your (insert family member here, mom, grandpa, whatever), and you will not disrespect me, so, you can think it, but don’t you ever say it!  If you say it, and I hear it, I will knock your teeth down your throat.”  And, well, I believed them.  So, I learned very young to keep my opinions to myself.

And what reiki did for me was let me know that even though I stayed silent all those times my grandfather’s behavior was abhorrent, or every time my mother was cruel, I was right in thinking they were wrong.  I was right in knowing that the way they were behaving, the way they were walking the world was wrong.  I was right in the opinions I silently carried all those years, because even when I vented to my friends, they’d betray me and tell my mother what I’d said.  I had no outlet, and the silence got worse.  I was right to have the thoughts I had about things going on around me.  I was right to know in my heart that the way my mother wrapped her ENTIRE world around me was unhealthy.  I was right to know that horribly tiny town was somewhere I never should have been, and I was right to apply to the best school in the country, and I was right to be angry with my mother for refusing to let me go.  I was right to go after my passion, and I was right to finally find my calling and I was right to change my major, and I was right to not fight being disowned by my grandfather for it, because I was right in that he was a terrible,  hateful man who never should have been in my life to begin with!

I was right to go home to care for my mother, but I was also right in my fear that she let me come home 5 years too soon.  I was right to want a life of my own, and I was right to fall in love with a man and I was right to think it was wrong that my mother not only couldn’t be happy for me, but did everything in her power to destroy that relationship.  I was right to cry so many nights in high school, wondering what was wrong with me that boys never liked me or pursued me, because something was wrong.  She was wrong, in secretly keeping them from me and actively manipulating me with her classic “You don’t need a boyfriend you need to (fill in the blank with get to college/focus on college/get a good job/take care of me as you like).”  Her fear of losing me and isolating me from the possibility of being anything more than her daughter was wrong!  And I knew it!  And I never said anything.  Even on her death bed, I couldn’t tell the truth, because I’d been silent for so long.

Reiki let me know the silence wasn’t for naught.  Because even though I was silent…I was right.  And there is something calming and peaceful about that thought.  There’s something comforting about it.  There’s also something very sad about it.  All those times I was too weak to stand up for myself within my own house, all the while fashioning myself a strong person is really sad to see.  Realizing that, since i left that awful house I’ve always hated, I’ve continued to be silent on so many things.  I don’t trust myself at all, and reiki opened my eyes to the fact that I’ve never trusted myself.

I’ve been reactive for so long, i don’t know how to be proactive.  I don’t know how to do this without checking every detail of life with my mother before I make a decision.  I don’t know how to do this life without her, and I am so mad at her because it was her job to teach me how to do this without her, and her fear of being alone created this isolating experience where we were so freakishly linked that i couldn’t make a move without her, and I still can’t!  And I hate myself for it.  At least I did….until the other night when a perfect stranger looked me in my face and said ‘You’re so intuitive and have amazing instincts and you should really trust yourself more, because you got this.’

So, in this year, the year of the body, I am going to start trusting myself.  Start letting go of the things I can’t go back and change.  Embrace the fact that I was always right and that it was ok that I was right.  And remind myself that I no longer have to be silent about it.

The reiki-ing of my world opened it up in the most amazing way, and I am so grateful for it.  I wonder what I’ll discover at my second session.

Breadcrumb very emotionally and eye opening-ly found.

Ciao for now,

M