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

Be The Change

One of the things I’ve worked really hard at most of my life is not turning out like my mother.  I didn’t want her small town life, her small town job, or her small town ideals.  And more than anything, I didn’t want her health problems.  I managed to fail at all of those things.

I ended up doing the same job she did, although I am finally doing that job in a larger city making more money than my mother could have ever dreamed of making.  I never had her small town ideals, although when you live there for a while, those ideas can sometimes creep in.  However the biggest failure is that I totally have her health problems.  I’ve been ashamed to say it for a few years, I ignored it, I pretended it would just go away, but the truth is I’m diabetic.  I ignored my own health to focus on hers, and that wasn’t right.  And now, it’s been almost two years since she’s been gone, and my own health has fully freaked me out!

But, unlike my mother, I’m not going to ignore it and avoid it until I have no choice but to take insulin.  I don’t want to lose my eye sight, or a limb, or the function of my kidneys.  So, 43 days ago, I went to see a doctor and got a bunch of labs done and started a weight loss program that will help get my pancreas the break it needs.  I’ve started tracking my progress on another blog, Ideal Michele, so check it out if you’re curious what I’m doing to get better.

btcI hate that it took a scare of a super high blood sugar reading to have me finally focus on this.  I hate that I’ve let myself get to the point where blood sugar is even an issue.  I spent a lot of time beating myself up. But now, I realize that I can beat this thing! That it’s not a death sentence.  It’s a wake up call!  And I can be the change I want for my life, and I can make that change happen now!

If you’re so inclined, check out my other blog, follow it, and feel free to leave supportive comments for me, as I can use all the inspiration and support I can get!

I don’t have to end up like my mother, with dialysis and numerous meds as my quality of life.  I’m still young enough to fix this, and her fate doesn’t have to be mine unless I want it to be.  And I do not!

Breadcrumb enthusiastically 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

Awaken Your Joy!

awaken your joy

I had an unbelievable experience on Saturday night that I have to write down so that I don’t forget it.  I went to this event with my best friend.  It was called Sea Compression, and the theme was “Let Them Eat Cake!”  It being October, it was a full costume party at this amazing Seattle location, and we fully dressed up in the spirit of the event.

Now, it’s important to note that my best friend and I go out quite often, and inevitably, something goes wonky during the outing.  Sometimes the wonky thing is a huge deal breaker and ends the night before it begins, and sometimes it’s just a small irritation, but never do we get a smooth, easy, drama free night.  Until Saturday night, that is.

I arrived at my best friend’s house where he was ironing the last bits of his costume.  With me in my black corset, black leggings, over the knee leather boots, full bustle floor length skirt in the back, and my cute tri-corner mini hat with its cheeky hot pink feather securely pinned amidst my mile high hair in true Marie Antoinette fashion, and my bestie in his leather pants, white vest, blood red collared shirt, and black velvet calf length livery coat, we were quite the pair.  Another friend joined us, and perfectly clad in her leather corset, and donning one of my venetian metal masks, off we went to this mysterious event.

We arrived and found a perfect parking spot one block away.  My bestie chose to leave his phone at home, so we were not interrupted while out having fun.  We met nothing but wonderfully nice and friendly people, and as we were there quite early, we didn’t even have to stand in line to get inside.

My best friend is one of the most amazing people I know, but he’s also very introverted most of the time.  Rarely liking to be touched by those he likes, and almost never wanting to be touched by strangers, his wit and sass often make him the most sought out company in any arena, whether he likes it or not.  And being an introvert myself, there were A LOT of people at this thing and it was slightly overwhelming.  At one point, my bestie said, “I’m feeling really exposed, I wish I’d thought to wear a mask.”  To which I said, “Well, why don’t you wear the one our friend here is wearing,” and she agreed wholeheartedly and gave him the mask.  And when he tied it on, something magical happened.  And that thing…..is joy.

Donning that mask awakened the joy inside him somehow, and even here, two days and many hours of processing later, I am still not sure what was the trigger.  But the minute the mask was on, he became a different person.  He was open, and happy, and friendly, and dare I say extroverted in the most beautiful way possible.  I’ve known him for so many years, and never in all that time had I ever seen him full of so much joy.

And that joy was beaming out of him like a lighthouse, calling all of the other joyful people home, as his magnetism and happiness attracted many people to come say hello, share a dance, or simply introduce themselves as they complimented our costumes.  He was the belle of the ball, so to speak, and it’s a mind blowing experience I will never forget.  And from the moment we left his apartment to the moment we returned, the evening went smoothly without one hitch, and each moment was linked together by one thing:  his joy.

As someone who is in constant search of happiness, not knowing where to find it on a consistent basis, and often only finding it in false idols and half truths, to watch someone have their joy fully awakened and embraced got me thinking:  what will awaken my joy?

Which actually led to the deeper question of, is there joy hidden somewhere inside me at all?  Do I have joy to be awakened?

And the reason I ask this is because after the event, in reliving the details, my bestie said, “I used to be this joyful all of the time.  I don’t know when I lost it!”  And I had to admit to him, as we keep no secrets from each other, “I don’t think I’ve ever had it.”

Joy and happiness are not things that come easily to me, and not emotions I remember having either as a child or as an adult.  Ask my friends to describe me, and I guarantee you, out of all the wonderful adjectives they choose, happy would not be one of them.  Loyal, funny, sassy, sure, but not happy.

I don’t remember being a happy child, I remember being a disciplined, serious child.  Not a child at all, really, I was always just kind of a little adult.  Always making the responsible choice, always focused on the future, so much so that I never fully enjoyed the present.  A good example of this is high school.  I was so focused on getting good grades and excelling so that I could get into a good college and out of that podunct town I grew up in that I didn’t take the time to really enjoy myself and build and develop lasting friendships.

And since then, not a lot of joy has come my way, and I’m wondering if it’s because when it did arrive, I had no idea of how to be grateful for it and enjoy it, but instead would just worry when it was going to leave.  How have I survived living like this all these years?  And how the hell did I never realize this before?  I think the answer is, until Saturday night, I had never seen joy in it’s purest form.  And now that I have, I want to feel it for myself.

In all this processing I’ve done over the past two days, I am so happy to say it has brought me to a new breadcrumb, in that I need to learn to live in the NOW!  Enjoy and be grateful for the things I have NOW!  I must stop rehashing the past in my brain and trying to make sense of all the things that didn’t work that I can’t change even if I want to change them, so as Elsa says, I need to let them go.  I must also stop worrying so much about the future and what is possibly lurking around the next corner.  And I must start living in this moment.  In every moment.  I think enough moments have been wasted.  It’s time to awaken my joy, which I now know, has to be inside me somewhere.

Breadcrumb very emotionally found.

Ciao for now,

M

Release

I’ve started seriously practicing yoga.  Joined a studio.  Bought a matt and a grippy, aka yogi toes, towel. And have spent three days a week the past two weeks trying my hand at candlelight beginner yoga.  And last night, in my sixth practice session, I struggled.  I couldn’t focus.  Couldn’t keep my mind clear and open.  It constantly filled with minutia and stress and fear, causing my poses to be less than stellar.  I strained through the twist sequence.  I struggled through the balance section.  And the core work threatened to kill me!

And then we got to the end.  To the Shavasana pose, also called corpse pose.  And in laying my hands out at my sides, and stretching my legs long, and centering back into even breathing as sweat dripped down my face, I heard my teacher, Gus, say the words “When you’re ready, release…”

And there may have been words after that, I don’t know, because I took a deep breath, exhaled, and released.  And something in me, deep inside me, released, and I truly let go.  I felt tears well up in my eyes under my closed lids, I felt my breath fully even out and happen with ease.  I released a release I didn’t even know I needed.  And it felt amazing.

I have been through so much over the past year or so, and I thought I’d let most of it go.  But last night, I let go of something I didn’t know I was holding on to, and it made me wonder.  What else am I holding on to?  When will I sense it so that I can release it?  What am I hiding from myself, or more honestly, what am I hiding from?

Now is my time to shine.  Now is my time to explore.  Now is my time to be anything I want to be, and yet I still feel so stuck most of the time.  But not last night.  Last night I felt free.  Last night I felt release.  And as I said, it felt good.  And I want more of that.  Line a glass of good wine, or an amazing orgasm…..I want more of that.  I. Want. More. Of. That.

And damnit, I’m going to get it.

Ciao for now,

M

Forgiveness is the Key

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photo courtesy of peacelovewings.com

There’s a song by Savage Garden (I really wish they’d reunite, btw) that has a line that goes “I believe forgiveness is the key to your unhappiness.”  And lately I’ve come to realize that this is true.  Forgiveness.  So much power in one little word. Such a simple concept.  So, then, why is it so difficult to do?

I have many people I need to forgive in order to move forward, and that revelation is the latest bread crumb found on my journey to my new life.  It’s difficult when you sit down and list out the people who have hurt you in your life, and realize how many there are, and how many are still on your heart.  Let me step back, so…forgiveness is the key to my unhappiness.  How did I go about starting to forgive?

First, I sat down and made a list of people who had hurt me over the course of my life.  And sadly, it was a very long list.  I haven’t been treated well by many people.  And then, I went back over that list and crossed out the names who I had already forgiven, and that left me with a smaller, yet very powerful list.  Not because it was a reminder of all the hurt, but it was a revelation on how much I am still carrying around.  How am I to heal, if that many wounds are still open?  Answer:  I won’t.  It’s time to let them scar over.  It’s time to truly forgive, with the hope that I’ll be able to drop this dead weight on my heart, and move forward into happiness.

I need to forgive my parents, most of all.  Both of them.  Both human, both damaged on their own, and both selfish.  Both made choices that affected me, but it’s my decision if that affectation is permanent.  Childhood friends who treated me like crap, ex-loves who didn’t love me as I loved them, ex-coworkers who chipped away at my spirit.  Again, all their actions affected me, but it’s my decision if the effect is permanent.  And most importantly, me.  I’m harder on myself than anyone could be; allowing others’ opinions of me to sometimes shape how I see myself.  I haven’t taken care of my heart in a healthy way up to now, and it’s my decision if I want to continue that way or forgive myself…forgive all these people.  And I choose to forgive.  

Honestly, it’s just words right now, but I know, with enough affirmation (ha!  That’s the name of the Savage Garden song the quote is from!  Love it when that spontaneously happens!) this forgiveness will become real.  It will become truth.  It’s just a matter of time.

Wish me luck!

Ciao for now,

M