Thankful Thursday: The Word Vomit

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Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.                                                          -Cheryl Strayed

I stood there, in front of the fridge, holding the door wide open, completely lost in thought. I forgot what I was looking for several minutes ago.  It wasn’t until the increasingly ripe romaine I’d left on the bottom shelf hit my nostrils (note to self: throw it away!), that I dropped my gaze and allowed my eyes to refocus on the contents on the fridge. Dinner? Oh right, dinner.

Dinner turned out to be a bowl of cereal with the almond milk my eyes landed on once I came out of my dream state. I just couldn’t be bothered.

I found myself thinking about where I’d gotten lost. Because that’s what it’s felt like lately. The world, as I knew it, had tilted. Up became down. Left became right. And I’ve been wobbling along trying to regain my center of gravity in an unknown, foggy landscape.

What do you do when change throws you off course? And I’m not just talking about changing jobs or changing an address. I’m talking about the heavy stuff. Like when you find that things that used to resonate with you down to the core, suddenly ring hollow? Or when the people you’ve grown close to, suddenly seem so far away? Or finding yourself in the other person’s shoes in a relationship?

Apparently, what I do is I stand in front of the fridge with my gym clothes on and stare at a carton of almond milk until my legs start to break out in goosebumps from the cold.

In all fairness, I’ve sidestepped a lot of these issues, allowing them to quietly churn the insides of my mind until it decided it needed more room to churn, and then it downshifted to my heart. That’s where I feel it; right there, smack dab in the middle of my chest. Pretty soon it’ll beat it’s way up my esophagus, through my throat, until it finds my larynx, and Opa! here comes the word vomit!

This may surprise you, lucky reader (s? maybe more than one of you will read this rambling post? maybe not?) , but I tend to bottle up a lot of what I’m feeling. Since I started blogging, and especially since I segued into the magical age of 30, I see the value in expressing what you feel in a way that’s both honest and constructive. That second word is key here, as I had no trouble expressing myself in the past, but usually with little thought given to how all that talk could actually lead to anything productive. But I make a conscious choice to work through the endless parade of perpetually conflicting ideas going through my brain at all hours of the day before I end up word vomiting all over you.

The problem is that I keep so much of it in that it usually ends pretty messy. I’m having a lot more of these stand-in-front-of-the-fridge-lost-in-la-la-land moments than I used to, and to be quite honest, it makes me want to shrug off the very notion of gratitude. What’s there to be grateful for when I can barely complete a simple task (dinner? oh right, dinner), without letting these huge questions about the changes in life bring me to the brink of….I dunno, is it the word vomit thing again or maybe it’s just tears? Maybe both? Sigh.

I begin way too many thoughts and conversations with that phrase, “I don’t know…” because that’s what this all boils down to in the end. I have no clue what I’m doing in any part of my life at least 99% of the time (I attribute the 1% to sleeping, which I believe I know how to do pretty well). Worse yet, I’ve lost the words to articulate exactly what it is I’m experiencing.

All you wise birds out there reading this (again, assuming anyone other than myself lays eyes on this thing), are probably clucking your tongues, going, “Oh, you’re just in it, and soon this won’t be so bad. Change happens, love, and you’ll learn to embrace it.” True. I can roll with that. In fact, I have been rolling with that, fairly bumpy road and all. But does it have to hurt so damn much?

Yes, I suppose it does. Change isn’t meant to be easy. Nor, I’d argue, are we really built for the emotional upheaval that comes with change, nevermind our inherent survival instincts. All that adrenaline fades at some point, and what you’re left with is a pile of unresolved issues that you dropped when you were running from one thing to the next. Maybe I’ve just been running for too long and it’s all catching up with me. Maybe I need to keep on running. I don’t know (Ah, there it is again).

So I ask, what is there to be grateful for? Ah all sort of things of course. But let me not pretend to pull a one-eighty here and tidy this all up with a nice little bow at the end. Things are far from tidy in my world these days.

I suppose what I can offer up to the universe right now is that I’m grateful for this. This moment. Or let me take it one step further. Every single moment I’ve found myself standing in front of a fridge, or mid-step to my bedroom, or at the crosswalk waiting for the light to change, or at my desk with blurred eyes staring at my computer screen. Each of those moments are packed with introspection; a quiet observation of who I am and where I am.

Some of those moments carry the lightness of wonder and imagination where I transport myself beyond the limits of my circumstances,where I dare to color outside of the box. Other moments bring me to the dark corners that force me to bend to the will of fear and self-doubt. And then there are those incredible moments where all I feel is the warm embrace of love and hope in a more peaceful existence, not just for myself but for the world around me.

The mind and the heart are tricky things. We carry a world of lies and truths in both, each and every single day and sometimes it’s a struggle to suss out which is which as changes happen and our paths branch out. What I’ll continue to tell myself and maybe you, lucky reader (s?) can also find helpful, is that it’s okay to feel that burden sometimes. Allow yourself to go through it and do what needs to be done to let it out in a way that’s going to make you stronger in the end.

Thank you for reading. And uh…sorry for word vomiting all over you.

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Have something to be thankful for? Or maybe a comment you’d like to share? Feel free to post them in the comments below or go ahead and post on FB or Twitter. Whatever floats your boat.

As always, keep paying it forward. Stay healthy. 🙂

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Thankful Thursdays: The In-Between

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“It’s everything in between we live for.” What are you doing with that time? Regretting or doubting the clumsy start of love? Fearing its end? Or celebrating—lavishly—the in-between?

I’m not much of an Oprah fan, but occasionally I find some gems in her countless newsletters that make me stop and consider my life from a different angle. The quote above was no exception.
I often get caught up in the ‘big picture’ view. Everything I do is calculated to reach for that image in one way or another. The series of steps seems endless, and so it’s no wonder that I feel like I’m never really getting anywhere with my goals.
One of the best things I learned from my weight loss journey is that the smaller changes to my diet and exercise that I adopted gradually were at the core of my success. By managing my expectations and embracing each new positive change as a major victory, I found it easier to do the things that I’d resisted for so long in all of my attempts to lose weight.
In between the start of the journey and the big picture goal at the end, there’s a world of experiences that we sometimes overlook in our rush to reach the finish line. We forget to live in the moment and enjoy it just for the sake of being exactly where we are in our journeys and reveling in that fact.
Somehow the present gets traded in for the future, and we find ourselves incapable of truly living in gratitude for the life we have right now.
Goals are important and vital to self-improvement, but not at the expense of sacrificing the joys of the in-between. Be mindful of all those little steps. That’s where life is.
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Do you get caught up in the ‘big picture’?
How do you enjoy the ‘in-between’ moments of life?

As always, keep paying it forward. Stay healthy! 🙂

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How Powerlifting and Latina Magazine Changed My Life

Where the heck are those curtains? I thought to myself.

I was rushing through a department store one afternoon on my lunch break from work when I received the email.

Hello!

I’m working with Latina Magazine and for our social media issue, February, we’re reaching out collecting images from Latina bloggers all across the web. We’d love to include you!

I stopped in my tracks, nearly bumping into another other harried lunchtime shopper, as I scanned the message that popped up on-screen.

Latina magazine? Really?!

Considering I was inconsistent at best with my blog and my workouts had petered out considerably, I felt both awed and somewhat embarrassed. How could I possibly be included in a social media issue when I’d taken such a huge step back from this world?

I’m reminded of how I felt when I started training with Natalie a little over a year ago. I had just gotten over some of my gym fear by stepping out of my apartment and joining my brother on some runs. Natalie was a professional powerlifter and personal trainer with years of experience handling  heavy weights. I’d admired her from afar and I talked myself into giving it a shot. I figured I’d keep running and this would be a fun, new way to keep fit in the meantime.

The first two months of training were all about laying the foundation by building on my existing strength and layering on some of these new movements. I didn’t even touch a bar until several months of getting the basic movements down.

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I can still remember how challenging it was to practice RDLs with a pvc pipe, awkwardly mimicking Natalie’s movements and completely embarrassed by what all the gawkers were thinking of my horrible form.

Of course there were no gawkers. There was no one there to criticize me or point fingers the way I scared myself into thinking would happen. Fear is a tricky and powerful thing.

I spent years before I started training, questioning who I was by equating my self-worth with what I didn’t have. I wasn’t thin. I wasn’t “successful”. I wasn’t a leader or inspirational. I wasn’t enough.

The baby steps I took with powerlifting a year ago opened up doors that I never thought I’d get through without a battering ram and maybe another decade of hemming and hawing. I found an outlet that showed me unequivocally what I could do with a bit of effort, and more importantly, with faith in myself to get it done.

It inspires me to talk to other women who are out there kicking butt in their gyms, their living rooms, and their communities by illustrating the way exercise and healthy eating have transformed their lives.

Strength is beauty, in any context.

Reflecting on the last year of lifting highs and lows, I find myself still working on that foundation where I began. I may have traded in the pvc pipe for a weighted bar with plates but the work is still going on in my mind to get past the fears of what he might say or what she might think.

Battling back that fear in all my endeavors continues to be a major hurdle that trips me up sometimes. These days I’m choosing to focus on the rebound, because no matter how much my inner critic finds ways to hold me back, I always end up right where I need to be.

I stood there, in the aisle of a busy department store and allowed myself to hesitate for just a moment. I let the fear in and talk me in and out of a series of thoughts doubting who I was and all that I had accomplished a year after I started blogging and lifting. But only for a moment. And then I got back to the business of proving that I did in fact earn this, no matter where I was in my journey.

And here I am.

From healthy living to raising our kids to saving money, the thriving community of Latina bloggers is an ever-growing group that is not afraid to speak up about the issues that matter to us. In the February 2014 social media issue of Latina magazine, we featured some of our favorites–including our own Irina Gonzalez‘s punto on this virtual familia. Check out our full list of the 37 Latina bloggers that you should be following in 2014!
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