For the first time EVER, I do not hate my race photos. I have looked at them a few times and find it amazing how photogenic I am even when I have no idea there’s a photographer. I see my shirt tucked in and loose, and I see me posing naturally because it’s my “look at me stance” when I’m out and about. I see the determination in my face and the strength in my body. I see a badass woman, whose trials and tribulations have enabled her to put it all together just before she turns 36, well.
I haven’t written in a long time. I haven’t wanted to write in a long time. I needed to take my privacy back. I needed to get off my own clock. I needed to stop checking boxes, to stop making lists, to stop letting the world know my next move before I even fucking knew I had one. I needed to remove social media, stop promoting the most vulnerable parts of me, and live.
I needed to claim my life back. I needed to choose to stop fantasizing about the day I wasn’t so tired, so bled of lack of boundaries and manageability and act – right now. I needed to start living the life I have worked so hard to create, instead of waiting to enjoy it “one day”. I needed to see who is actually in my corner, instead of hoping to add to it and build an addition while I was at it. I needed to start doing things because they felt right to me, not because it was socially acceptable or easily promoted.
I needed to relearn, recenter, and recalibrate Alison. I needed to take some time and really get underneath and ask why? I needed to take stock in what my intentions were, my priorities, and my wants. I needed to let go and let God. Let the Universe. Let me.
And after a few months, a lot of resistance and some intermittent chokes, I think I’m here. Just for this moment, just for today. I’ve left the nutrition platform I encouraged so many to join, not because I don’t believe in what they do but because it had become so obvious that my best self was being tainted by things that don’t make me better. My best self was being covered up with distraction of metrics that don’t account for who I am or what I can do or why I do it. My best self was being buried because my compulsive self was taking over. My best self was muted because I couldn’t hear her, and denied how to listen.
I went back to therapy and she said one thing to me: you know what to do. And she’s right. I just needed somebody unattached to my life to tell me that. I needed a familiar face that has known me since I was binging and purging on repeat, living with a man whose debt I just finally paid off this month, to tell me that I deserve more and I deserve better and that I am already better. I just needed to give myself permission to stop blocking the better.
In the process of leaving the nutrition platform, I hid the scale. I changed my food a little bit and started listening to my body and what she was telling me she needed. I’ve been working with a GI dietician and no longer feel like I won’t make it through the afternoon without doubling over. I’m slowing down, chewing, and listening. Literally.
I went to a race and I had fun. I didn’t go to compete, to best anyone, or to even do a thing. I just went. I went to serve and to enjoy and to participate. I went to light my fire and rekindle my passion and now I remember why I love fitness so much. Now I know why I grind my legs at the gym and do pull-up after pull-up. Sure, I love looking good and to me there’s nothing sexier than a slab full of lean muscle, but I do it because I don’t want to have to ask you to do it for me. I want to carry everything myself. I want to climb the wall by myself. I want to swing from the rope and traverse the bar and run up the hill and slog through the mud – myself. I want to celebrate the only vehicle we were given to truly experience this wild ride. I want to celebrate the ability to experience, and to cherish it and not take it for granted.
It rekindled my near insatiable want to start racing again, to be truly challenged on a mountain and to question why in a way that unless you find extreme fitness fun, you wouldn’t understand. But as I sat with it, and other plans came into view and Mike had some ideas, I shifted. I no longer want to run off and do my own thing. I no longer need to prove that I am fit, or that I am strong, or that I am capable. I no longer need to prove that I am worthy or that I am enough or that I belong here – to myself. See, it was never really about you, it was just easier to say that it was and point to a date on the calendar as the reason for my moving the way I prefer. It was easier to have an answer that other people understand than to just be doing it because I actually want to.
Aside from validating me, finally, my priorities seem to have changed. I want to include. I want to be a part of. I want to be with. Mike. Our future. Our families. I want to hang out with my friends and fortunately there are easier ways to do that than convincing people to spend entirely too much money on races that are a little too far away and a little too taxing to just pay the entry fee for and hope for the best. I want to produce at work and then take the night off. I want to explore, and I want to do it with jeans on instead of compression leggings. I want to be able to talk and sit and stroll. Maybe eat the local cuisine. Enjoy the hotel. Relax.
Stepping out of the spotlight that I created for myself was only as hard as I made it. Stepping away from the way I was eating and measuring and logging was only as hard as I let it be. Until I chose differently. Until I realized that I had choices. A lot of them. Reprioritizing people and love and partnership is only as hard as I resist it, and really, it’s not hard at all. Nothing is hard. It might be uncomfortable, it might be stressful, it might be distracting, but really – how big is your belief? How big is your want? How big is your love? For yourself, first?
Mine, as it turns out, is quite big. I still triple guess myself and have pockets of doom – this is what makes me human.
Thank you to those who have asked me how I am doing, not seeing a few hundred words on paper. Thank you to those who still go back and read and connect. This pandemic isn’t over yet, but I know it’s getting better. I’m still here, and I want to believe that you are, too. I’m still me, just a little softer. A little slower. A little less crazed. A little wiser (some days) and a little bit quieter. I am learning to laugh at myself – are you?
Show me. It would be great to hear from you.
2 thoughts on “A Little Bit Softer”
I always get such inspiration from you Alison. Your honesty and openness just really resonates with me. We are so different but so damned alike at the same time.
I find most of us are more alike than we even wish to admit.