I am motivated by women and I am motivated by queer people. I am motivated by the struggle I had growing up identifying as both, how sad and stupid and small I felt for many many years, months, weeks and days, until at some point I put a barbell into my hands and I said no. No more. I am confident and I am big and I am smart. I am more than what I have learned that I can be.
I am motivated by the idea that I am a part of a paradigm shift. I am a part of the not-so-radical idea that I am strong in my biologically female vegan body. I do not need a dick and I do not need a steak.
I am motivated by teenagers. By watching them awkwardly navigate their changing bodies and by hearing them apologize for themselves and by watching their tenacity. I build my body up and nourish it properly because-lo and behold- at 31 I am adult enough to realize that teens are always watching. Whether or not I realize it, I am an example. I take the position seriously.
I am motivated by watching my muscles pop. By hard work and early wake ups and calloused hands and then the visual result of such action. Hello traps. Hello visible crease between my hamstrings and my glutes, hello so many back muscles I never fucking knew existed. Nice to meet you.
I am motivated by the low hum of a completely clear brain after a metabolic conditioner. By being out of breath, finished and on my back, staring at the ceiling, with no thoughts at all. It’s quite a contrast to my constantly racing brain and it is serene in a way I haven’t found elsewhere.
I am motivated by the memory of myself at less than 100 pounds, on a frame that needs far more to survive. I am motivated by thoughts of the years I spent with my head in a toilet wondering how I could be doing this. I am motivated by love and compassion for that person. By constant affection and care-taking for that soul that felt so lost, by the promise that those things will never happen again. I made big mistakes and I made them for a long time, but I’ve got myself now.
I think of that person and I tell her I love her.
That I will only grow stronger and smarter and more compassionate with myself.
That above all, I can trust myself to take my own hand.
I’ve been having some serious craving lately, and they’ve been stressing me out.
Craving a new home. Craving a new town. Craving more leisure, and less leisure and more work and less work. Craving more space. Craving more social time, craving more time to be creative. Craving fucking peanut butter, because if there is going to be a food that I daydream about, its going to be gooey and pair well with everything from carrots to chocolate.
MMM, peanut butter.
But I digress.
I have noticed these cravings arise, and they almost surprise me with their velocity. All in all, my life is prettttty cool. I love Oakland, with its incessant 70 degree days and vegan coffee shop, and a recording studio for my podcast, and a trade-procured membership at the best gym ever. I love the neighborhood that I live in and I love my proximity to the friends I have here, and I love my job. I love large voluminous salads with produce all grown in my general region and picked that day.
But still, I fantasize about the desert and living someplace where I don’t know many people and can just write my book and formulate recipes. I fantasize about clearing my work plate entirely to focus for a year. I finish my salad and my spoon finds its way to the peanut butter jar. I notice these things and try not to be too bummed, because shit, its easy to want a different location, and more time, and richer food.
In the last couple of weeks I kept wondering what my job was. Not like my employment job, but my why-I’m-on-Earth job. I was torn between the constant battle of wanting to achieve more and wanting to enjoy more.
I love both feelings, but I don’t necessarily think one is synonymous with the other.
This morning, I left my alarm off (a true luxury) and let myself wake up whenever I happened to (6:08AM, for the record.) I pulled on my running shorts, laced up my shoes, headed out the door, and took my first running steps. As my pace picked up, I found myself thinkng:
My job is to stand in my power. My in-the-moment power.
My job is to find the response between stimulus and action. It could be the moment before I choose to feel frustrated about the administrative or mathematical sides of being self-employed. It could be right after my brain says “ITS PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME!”
Standing in my strength, to me, means the acknowledgement that I not only have the power to make positive and negative choices, but also that I have the power to enjoy my life or not. When I say “I wanted to do XYZ (let’s say XYZ is write) but instead I did ABC (cruised Facebook) because I juuuust couldn’t help it and now I feel terrible about my action”, well- that just downplays the fact that I am the one that chooses the things that I do and also that my choices help me to live a life of agency.
I get to choose what I do and how I feel about how I spend my time. This is a privilege that not everyone has, and I don’t want to give it away to craving.
If you are able, (like not in the face of horrible police brutality in Baltimore, or horrific natural disaster in Nepal, or not experiencing a similarly disempowering situation) I think its wise to OWN your life, in a serious capacity. Standing in your strength is the crux of that.
I just got home from my run, and now I’m asking myself : what would I crave, that I already have, if I didn’t have it? What can I appreciate and focus on right now?
And then, I’m challenging myself and I’m challenging you:
How can I hold on to what I appreciate?
What can I do to constantly find my strength, and what will I decide to do with it once I do?
This week has kind of kicked my ass, and there isn’t really an external rhyme or reason.
Basically, I am contending with that one week a month that many female bodied people have. I know my ladies know what I mean: it’s the one that just fucking sucks for energy. (for the record, this is the week before my period, and by the time my actual period arrives I feel much better.) For the past few days I’ve been lethargic, I’ve been hungry, I’ve had zero energy for exercise or super elaborate meals or even to have a whole lot of specificity around what I’m eating. I’ve been simplifying: meals are non-creative at this point (baked potato, broccoli, nutritional yeast, tempeh, ad infinitum) and I’ve skipped my fasted cardio all week in favor of more lifting sessions because fuck it, when the going gets sleepy, the sleepy lift weights. (that’s true for everyone, right? guys? anyone? Oh, just me? Hmmm.)
It has been good to go slower, eat chiller, and to rest more. here are a few articles I found while surfing the net as I relaxed!
I totally struggle with healthy doses of depression and anxiety from time to time, because I am a human being in a terribly bizarre and heartbreaking world. This guide was written with teenage girls in mind, but because I think I’ll always be a bit of a sullen teen at heart, it spoke to me perfectly.
You know what I fucking despise? Those weird pop-up internet ads (often on health and wellness blogs!) with a picture of a cartoon banana and the words “5 foods you should never eat!” emblazoned across it. WHAT IS UP WITH THE BANANA HATE, TURDZ OF THE NET? This list is a spoof on that whole thing, and actually includes some real talk about when it makes sense to avoid certain foods. Spoiler alert: no specific foods are mentioned and the whole thing has a spin of both food and body positivity. My kind of list!
This article was an insightful and beautiful rumination on the difficulty and importance of friendship as we age. I just turned thirty-one, and I have to say: the list of people I am close with has gotten smaller, and I have a tough time getting out there to build new relationships. This article totally spoke to that conundrum directly, and inspired me to keep trying.
Muscles by Brussels is my favorite podcast and real talk about eating disorders is possibly my favorite subject. This episode gets kinda gritty! It talks about the relatively unspoken dangers of dieting within a vegan athlete competition context- a subject I have been dying to hear more about.
This dream boat of a wrap needs to get in my hands- STAT. I’m totally willing to break out of my lazy food rut for a taste!
Happy weekend <3