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!

kmshiit

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

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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

What Do I Do With That?!?!

Sitting around a table at a dive bar with two men, one of whom is young, and the other is a little older  than I am, the subject came around to dating, mostly discussing the young one’s dating life, because as he’s young and pretty, has the most active dating life at the table.  I made a comment about my lack of dating life, and how I’m cursed to always land in the friend zone no matter what, and this is where the unsolicited free advice started.

“I would argue that you get friend zoned because that’s where you put yourself,” said the young one.  And as I blinked at him, he added, “You’re a beautiful woman, and my guess is that you don’t believe that.”  He’s not wrong.  I don’t see myself that way.  Never have.  And again, before I could respond, he goes, “You’re really fun to be around and one of the most interesting people I’ve met, and so I think in order to not get friend zoned, you’re going to have to open yourself up more.”

As my best friend, the older, and wiser one at the table just cackled, I couldn’t help but squint at the young one, because these are almost the same verbatim words that my best friend has said to me on numerous occasions.  Additionally, getting this advice from a young man who has never even once made a pass in my direction, has no desire for anything other than friendship from me can sit there and so quickly and easily blame it all on my is a bit bizarre.

So, in finally finding my voice I say to the young one, “I agree.  You’re 100% right on all accounts.  The problem is, I have no idea how to do what you’re suggesting.”  And the quizzical look he gave me showed me he didn’t believe me.

I tried to explain to him that, the time in life that most people figure out how to maneuver dating is in high school.  That’s where you should be cutting your teeth on learning the dos and don’ts about navigating romance.  I, however, wasn’t given that option.  My mother had me programmed to never see myself as attractive.  And God help any boy who even remotely found me so, as she’d figure out a way to run them off.  Whether it was forcing me to break up with them once summer hit because, “I was too young for something that long and serious” or talking a boy into breaking up with me because “I needed to focus on school and not boys” or manipulating all of my guy friends to act as body guards to ensure that no other boy ever looked at me as anything more than a friend.  And when all of that is happening without your knowledge, you learn to see yourself as nothing more than the friend.

This has continued into my adult life.  I can be at a party, gathering, event with single men, and while they might enjoy talking to me, and might laugh at my wit, they never ask for my number before they leave.  They never want to get to know me better.  They never pursue me.  So, in explaining this to the young one, he blatantly says, “Yeah, but that’s because you don’t seem open to it.  You have a logical way of looking at the world, compartmentalizing everything into a neat little box, so you aren’t open to being pursued.”  My best friend adds, “They can see your ‘Keep Out’ sign that is tattooed on your forehead.

And I’m baffled.  What the fuck are they talking about?  I have no idea what they’re talking about.  I had no idea that’s how I am perceived.  When I meet new people, I always try to just ‘be myself’ and I’m now realizing, that in doing that, I’m some how also giving off an unavailable vibe.  And i have no idea how or why that’s happened, so with all this very honest advice that I’m getting, as I sat at that bar staring at them, all I could think was, “What do I do with that?!?  How do I fix a problem I don’t even know I have?”  It’s not that I don’t believe them.  I’m sure they’re right.  I’m sure they’re telling the truth.  But how the hell do I fix it because I don’t see it?

I have no idea how to do things differently.  I have no idea what personality traits I”m supposed to hide, or which ones to make bigger.  I have no idea how to navigate this in any way, shape or form.  Mostly because when I do meet a guy I find attractive, I do try to get to know him, but the way I do it always lands me in the friend zone, so in addition to not knowing how to be pursued, I clearly don’t know how to pursue either.

And it occurred to me.  How is this completely all on me?  How is there not a guy out there who would see past the ‘keep out sign’ that is supposedly on my forehead? Back in the day, I’ve learned since my mother died, there were quite a few guys who wanted to pursue me, but didn’t for either fear of my mother or fear of my friends.  As an adult, only two men dared try to be with me, both not giving a crap about my mother’s tactics to run them off, but i was too obedient to choose them over her once the ultimatum was thrown down by her.

It’s been almost 24 hours since all this truth was laid at my feet, and still, I have no idea how to fix this problem.  No idea how to ‘be more open’.  No clue whatsoever.  Perhaps the curse of the friend zone is my fault.  But since I don’t know how to fix it, I guess it’s just going to have to stay as it is for now.  Maybe an epiphany will come to me.  Although, it does suck that being myself isn’t enough.  It does suck that who I am, who I know myself to be, and the things I like about myself aren’t enough.  That I somehow now have to figure out some way to be more.  I don’t know that I want to do that.  But I don’t want to be alone forever, either.

No breadcrumb, this time, sadly.  Instead, I fear this conversation and the emotions and frustrations that have come from it have led me down a new path of self evaluation that is taking me further away from the life I’m meant to have.  I probably should stop this path, and just go back…but I don’t know that I can just ignore it now that it’s out there.  Truth. What do I do with that?

I have no idea….

Ciao for now,

M

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

An Unexpected Release

butterfly-release

Release.  A simple word.  Yes, unbelievably powerful.  In my journey toward my new life, finding a few breadcrumbs along the way, some are more profound than others.  And some sneak up on me when I least expect it.  And the other night, at yoga, a crumb snuck up on me big time.  And the crumb was titled:  Release.

Between starting a new job and moving to a new place, yoga fell by the wayside for a few weeks.  And sadly, I’m too new to it to just jump right in, so when I finally got back to my mat Monday night, oh sweet baby jesus did it hurt!  My body was screaming in protest.  My muscles shook in revolt!  Bending was tough, twisting was torture, and balancing, gawd, that wasn’t even going to be an option.  I left feeling defeated, deflated, and exhausted…yet, proud that I’d gone.

Tuesday was a tough one at work.  Very busy and a long day.  I barely got home in time to change and get to yoga.  I stepped on my mat, and was full of pride for dragging my ass out there.  Practice began, and all was well until we got to the twisting section.  Suddenly, a bout of nausea that I have never felt erupted inside every time I bent in half.  The instructor said forward fold, and I tried, oh how i tried, but every time, it felt like I was going to vomit.  And being the ridiculously competitive person I am, especially with myself, I refused to let my body win over my mind.  I used every ounce of self control I had to push down the nausea, fight off the urge to vomit, and breathed through the pain.

I seemed to get a hold on things, and continued on with class.  And all was well, until we got to the damn half pigeon pose.  I bent my right leg, extended my left leg back, and leaned forward to release the tension.  And somehow, released more than that.

Out of nowhere, tears began to fall from my eyes.  No sobbing.  No crying, just tears.  A waterfall of tears cascading over my lashes, and I was unable to stop it.  The tears rolled and flowed down my face.  And I thought, jesus, am I working so hard that now my eyeballs are sweating?  Cuz this is fucking ridiculous!  And yet, the tears continued.

I closed my eyes once we reached Shavasana, and did my best to center and get the tears to stop, but they just continued on and on.  Until we came out, and bowed to honor our practice, and in that bow, the tears dried up, as if they were never there.  It was weird.  I did not enjoy it.

I spent the evening confused, frustrated, and irritated at my inability to control my emotions.  As I’ve written in past posts, overdoing emotions was really allowed in my house.  Too many tears were quickly ordered to cease.  I got really good at hiding how I truly felt.  I am a master at pushing emotion down and away from my reality so that they are not in control of things.  I literally feel incapable of fully breaking down and letting go.  Elsa, I am not.   Or was never allowed to be.  Either way, this level of tears freaked me out.

So, I reached out to my big sis, who is a yoga instructor, to ask what the fuck happened to me in that class.  And her wisdom, always being blunt and helpful in formed me that, what happened was that finally, in my yoga practice I was able to release.

She explained that certain poses, the sleeping pigeon especially, is meant to release negative energy we hold in our joints.  And sometimes that release comes as nausea, other times as tears.  And for me, since I wouldn’t let it release out my mouth, it released out my eyes.

Release.

Suddenly, the fear of what had happened, and the frustration made complete sense.  I’ve done physical work as an actor and acting teacher that has brought up a release of emotion like that but it was usually as an empathic situation to help one of my students find new levels in their performance.  Never, has it been my own release.  And now, I finally had let go of crap I’d been holding on to for god knows how long.

I felt relief.  I exhaled.  It was freeing.  Could yoga be the therapy I so desperately need?  Could, while I strengthen my body, I also manage to purge it of all the, as my best friend says, tears and screams I never allowed myself to have while I was doing my daughterly duty?  I think so.

Breadcrumb acquired.

I went back to yoga on Wednesday, and it neither hurt, nor did it make me cry.  It did make me feel stronger.  Did create stronger self pride as I went to all three of my classes this week. My dedication to my practice has been reestablished and reinvigorated.  And I can’t wait to see what it will bring to me next week.

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

A Tale of 2 S’s: Setbacks and Strength

Strength is something my family does well.  Strength is something that is cultivated, motivated, and demanded of any member of my clan.  Life wasn’t particularly kind to any member of my family, that I know of, so in order to survive, we all lean on our strength.  My grandfather’s parents died when he was a young boy, and the relatives who raised him weren’t kind people.  So much so, that he lied about his age to join the army at 17 just to get away from them. He married into a family led by a hateful matriarch that would make the grandmother in Flowers In The Attic look like June Cleaver.  He married the oldest daughter, my grandmother, who was forced to quit school in junior high to stay home and help on the farm and take care of her younger siblings.  I always thought that was crappy.  Anyway, the clash between my grandfather and great grandmother caused my mother and uncle to be the least favorite of the grandchildren.  As my mother grew up, her mouthy nature caused a bigger rift within the family, and she ran from my grandparents the day she turned 18.  She met my loser of a father, wasted a decade on that cheating alcoholic, and then dedicated her life, unhealthily I might add, around me.  When my grandmother died, the family blamed my mother, because, you know, if she’d been a better daughter, my grandmother wouldn’t have had stomach cancer.  Cuz that’s how that works.  They also blamed my grandfather for not getting good enough medical care.  Cuz again, that would stop cancer.  Ugh.  Anyway, the split in the family grew to grand canyon size, and I was raised in isolation from all of these people.  An only child to a struggling single mother with major health problems was not a fun way to grow up.  More family rifts came and went for me, as I seemed to be destined to have the same life as my mother, bringing my biggest fear to life, in that my daughterly duty would be the only thing I would ever be able to do.  

But through all of that, the one lesson that was drilled into me was “be strong.”  Actually it was “Be stronger than them.”  Whatever them might be.  Them could be other kids, them could be family, them could be fears, them could be the simple want of a boyfriend.  Nothing was celebrated in my house as much as strength.  Crying was never an option.  Wallowing was never an option.  Feeling sorry for yourself was never, ever an option.  The only option in my home was to step into the middle of whatever issue you had and beat it down with your strength.

Strength is so much a part of me, that it is literally how I survive.  I’ve stumbled and been kicked by life, but I’m stronger than to just lie there and take it.  No matter what crappy situation I’m in, be it a bad relationship, an unbalanced friendship, a toxic work environment, I summon my strength and I find my way out.  Strength amidst the chaos is how I survive.  And i cemented that facet of who I am, with this:

forza

This tattoo is my strength amidst the chaos.  Forza, meaning strength in Italian, is the pinnacle of who I am.  And this past week, as I continue on my journey to a better me in 2014, I’ve needed molto forza!  Much strength!  Because I’ve been handed a few setbacks.

I have held to my goals so well this month, that I’ve truthfully surprised myself.  I’ve written every day, and more importantly, I’ve moved every day.  Well, I went out of town for the weekend, and did not stick to that goal, I’m ashamed to say.  I walked a bit around the city, but I didn’t do much on Saturday at all.  And then, when I returned home, I friggin hurt myself and the muscles in my right shoulder seized up and yanked two ribs out of place!  Talk about pain.  And you know what is impossible when you’re in that much pain?  Exercise.  And it’s been awful.  It’s a setback I didn’t plan for, and one I couldn’t overcome in order to move every day.  It beat me.  And I hate that it beat me.

Now, I have a life long friend who is a wonderful chiropractor, and between his magic techniques, and the magical hands of his massage therapist, I am finally better today.  But that’s two more days of no movement, and I’m pissed!  Thank you, Dr. Ben Matheson and Matheson Chiropractic for your help, I’m very grateful. Because now I can get back to my goals.

I knew setbacks would happen.  I just didn’t think they’d happen so soon.  Yet here we are.  And I’m reminded of my mother’s words that I heard so often growing up:  “You’re stronger than this.  Quit crying and deal with it.”  And that’s what I’m going to do.  Amidst the chaos of back pain and frustration, I will be stronger.  It’s just a setback, not a failure.  I can do this.  I’m stronger than this obstacle.  I am strength.  Forza!

Ciao for now,

M