The Problem With Squats

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Now, don’t get me wrong, I love working out. It’s my passion, something I look forward to. Helping other people discover the awesomeness of fitness is what I want to do with my life. But there are some drawbacks. For example, here are some problems you might encounter if you squat, especially with weight:

1. Guys will forget about all of your other incredible attributes. Got a great sense of humor? Better make the jokes about your assets or he’s not listening. Wicked smart? Better turn the chit chat into the physiology of padunkadunks or you’ve lost him. What can I say? Guys lose focus quickly when you’ve got junk in the trunk.

2. You will never find a pair of pants, especially jeans, that fit. When you find jeans that are generous enough to accommodate your strong thighs, I can guarantee that you will have a gap in the waistband. I don’t think I’ve bought pants in over three years that my seamstress, aka my mom, didn’t have to alter.

3. The sight of your muscular glutes and quads will make guys dumb. No, seriously, they will say things like “if we got stranded somewhere I could eat off your ass for weeks”. Really? Is that supposed to be a turn on? Yeah, not quite the panty dropper they were shooting for.

4. You will have to give up smiling if you want people to believe you. What? You know you can “never trust a big butt and a smile”.

So, the big question is what you gonna do with all that ass? I can tell you what I’m going to do with mine – keep on squatting. The heavier the weight, the better.

Come on, my friend

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“Come on, my friend.” I love hearing this phrase on my morning walks with the Roo. When an elderly neighbor’s white faced dog falls behind he lovingly calls out “come on, my friend” and the old pup picks up his uneven gait to catch up with his buddy. I know nothing else about them, but I know they have each other. 

Enough

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At this time of year we often fall into the trap of thinking we don’t have enough – not enough time to get everything done, not enough money to buy the perfect presents, not enough of us to go around to everyone who needs something. But I don’t want to talk about not having enough, I want to talk about being enough. In the last week or so I lost focus. I became so focused on making things work, that I lost sight of the fact that I can’t control everything.

You all know from my early August post that I had been in a relationship and that I had posted this great article about trusting. Yeah, well that was all bull shit. The guy I was dating turned out to be a sociopath. And I’m not talking about “oh, that boy is so crazy”. I’m talking about he is an honest to goodness, checks all the boxes sociopath. He is smart and manipulative and great at convincing people that he is a good guy. Believe me, he’s not. Looking back I think that blog post about trust was me trying to convince myself that he was good for me when I was starting to see red flags. Luckily, I got out of that relationship in a few short months. I was in it long enough, and he was crazy enough, that when it ended I had to get off Facebook, change my locks, change my phone number, get an alarm system, get harassed by some crazy bitches that were after my ex, and try to file a police report (I was told in Gainesville “we don’t do a lot of computer stuff”). Those were good times.

But really I’m not here to rehash the crazy. I am here to talk about being enough. And when I say enough, I mean enough for myself. This is critical. My previous 3 relationships ended because my wasband is gay, one of my exes is a workaholic and chose his moths over me (he’s a lepidopterist), and the last one is a sociopath. No matter how confident a woman is, this can play on her psyche. You start to question yourself.

I recently started dating an incredible man. I had no plans on dating someone two months after the sociopath, but I think that’s sometimes just how things work out – someone great comes along when you are least expecting it. We have similar interests, similar dreams for the future, and he makes my heart pitter patter. So, what’s the problem? Me. It started great, but in the last 10 days or so, I’ve gotten in this thought pattern of wanting to ask him if he’s still crazy about me. I have no doubt that he is a good, loyal person. My brain is doubting that things will work. I know some of the doubt is coming from my previous relationship experiences and some of it is coming because this is my first long-distance relationship and I’m still adjusting. Add that to the fact that between work, being program director for Girls on the Run, and studying for my personal trainer certification that I’m slightly stressed and we’ve got ourselves a great trifecta. Shoot, why not go for the quadfecta (I’ve always been an overachiever) because I’m sure some of the anxiety is also coming because I know he is awesome, I know I’m awesome, and I really want this to work, but in life there are no guarantees. For a problem solver/solution finder this is maddening. I am trying to just let things come day to day and not be such a worry wart.

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I hate that I have developed this insecurity. I know that it is unattractive and undesirable and I will overcome it. I wasn’t like this before. In previous relationships I never doubted that my partner was crazy for me. How could they not be? ;) I feel like I am confident in almost all other aspects of my life – I like how I look, I’m funny, I’m smart, I’m athletic, I’ve got great friends, and, by golly, I’m good enough. And that right there is the key. I am enough and I am worthy. I refuse to set road blocks for myself. I guess we all need to remind ourselves every once in a while.

Now Taking Applications

While I love my family and know they will always support and stand by me, I’m firing them all from my partner approval committee. Honestly, they stink at the job. Want proof? I married a gay guy and dated a sociopath. Seriously, no one saw either of those coming? So I’m taking applications for the “make sure this guy is good enough (and straight enough)for Amy” committee. I won’t be ready to date for a while, but thought we should start this process now. My only strict requirement is that you have accurate gaydar and a low tolerance bullshit meter. Any takers?

What I’m Not

For the few readers that know me in person, you know that I’m going through some shit right now. And honestly, it’s some scary shit. How scary? Scary enough that I don’t feel like I can write about it at this point. I could be totally wrong because I no longer know what is true and what are just some lies that someone is telling me, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. I can tell you that the irony of my current situation combined with my last post, is not lost on me. Whether I’m paranoid or absolutely justified, this story is going to make a great post…someday. But for today, I’m going to stick to something safe, talking about myself.

In the past 10 or so days I’ve been told a lot of who I am (not that I’m believing it). Well, today I’m going to explore what I’m not. This list will be in no way complete – partly because I am constantly discovering things about myself and partly because this isn’t the most thought out post – I just NEEDED to write.

Alright, what I’m not:
- WEAK- Apparently some people believe that because I am nice, that I am also weak. Let me tell you, that is a big mistake. Wanna deceive me, try to bring me down? Bring it on. I may not hit the hardest, but I will outlast you. I guarantee it. Bonus points – I’ve got the best friends and family that anyone could ever want. They always have my back and are willing to fight dirty.

- Someone who bothers with hair and make-up- Yeah, never have, never will. With today’s beauty standards put forth by the media, I feel like I should make an AA like confession. “Hello. My name is Amy. I’m 37, don’t know how to apply make-up, and don’t own a blow dryer – or even a hairbrush.” Now don’t get me wrong, I brush my hair with a comb – on most days. None of this has ever been important to me and I’m ok with that. Shoot, I wore a sports bra for every day wear until my mid-20s because I never knew when a pick up game of soccer might break out. I’d rather have the freedom to do what I want when I want than be worrying about if my mascara runs or if my hair is perfectly coiffed.

- Someone whose bra and underwear always match- Yeah, I’m guessing this isn’t a big surprise after reading the above confession, but thought I’d go ahead and put it out there. I know my 2 male readers are probably disappointed to learn that women don’t always have the perfectly matched bra and panties set. Again, I’m totally ok with this. I’m so much more concerned about comfort than fashion.

- Someone who always knows how to act in tough social situations- Yeah, I’m the girl who laughed at her grandpa’s funeral. There was nothing funny about it and he was my favorite grandparent, but I couldn’t help it. When I get nervous or overly uncomfortable, I laugh. I’ve gotten better about it, but I’m really a pretty socially awkward person. Once I get to know people, you can’t shut me up, but I’m also someone who has no problem with silence. Apparently, that makes a lot of people uncomfortable. I promise, I’m not judging you or being snobby, sometimes I just don’t know what to say and silence seems like a better option. My social awkwardness also comes out when a friend is in an emotional state. I can be there to comfort, hold a hand, give long hugs, but saying the comforting words that people need to hear isn’t always my forte. This is something I will continue to work on.

- Someone who gives thoughtful presents on special occasions- Eeek! I hate admitting this one because it makes me sound like a terrible person. I really don’t think I am, I just don’t value a lot of material things. Not only do I not give great gifts, I don’t care if people give me gifts. No seriously, I’m totally ok with it. Stuff is just stuff. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m generous with my friends. I just don’t always have great gifts for them on birthdays or Christmas. Need some money to pay a divorce lawyer because your husband is a cheating louse? I’ve got you covered. Haven’t been able to visit your mom in a couple years? Let me help. Having a tough time making your paycheck stretch until the next pay day? Here’s a Publix gift card.I will always help my friends, and even strangers, just not necessarily on the predetermined dates.

- A number – I know that our society likes to put things in nice, neat packages, but people are so much more than that. Yes, I’m 37, but I can still kick most 20 something’s asses when it comes to workouts. Yes, I come in at just under 150 pounds and am a size 10. HUGE, if we’re going by media standards. But you know what? I like how I look and what my body can do for me. The only reason I even know my weight is because it determines if I have to carry 4 or 6 bricks for GoRuck challenges. Otherwise, I wouldn’t even step on a scale. We have to stop relying on the number on the scale to tell us our value. In the past I would weigh myself every morning and allow the number that popped up to determine my mood. That is just crazy. Yes, I like eating healthy and exercising, but not to get to a certain number. I do these things because they make me feel good. I am happy to focus on healthy and not worry about skinny.

There’s a whole lot more that I’m not and even more than I am, but this is what I have to give for now. Any preconceived notions about yourself that you want to clear up? Let me hear about them in the comments.

Stupid and Scared

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Let me tell you, stupid and scared is no way to live. I’ve done it for too long and I’m truly trying to stop. I come across as a happy and upbeat person, and I am, but I can be doing more to be living a complete life. I’ve known for years that I am passionate about fitness and helping people, but I never thought about trying to make it a career. Not even when I knew I was dissatisfied with my job and found what I did unfulfilling. I have known for a decade or more that I wanted to do more and be more, but could never figure out what I meant by that. Part of me thought I had to do something on a grand scale – cure cancer, end homelessness, something big. I didn’t think that helping people exercise would be enough. I haven’t started this as my career yet, but have started studying for certification, and I think that it will be satisfying. I think making people healthy and confident will be enough for me.

This half-assed, scared living has infiltrated my love life too. After being the sucka sucka fool that was married to a gay guy for over 8 years I’m afraid to truly trust anyone. I don’t want to be hurt again, I don’t want to be the fool again. And while part of the trust is just with basic sexuality (you can bet your bottom dollar that my first question to my boyfriend was “are you gay?”), it creeps into everything. You can imagine how well this goes over with the boyfriend. Let’s call him SC. Now don’t get me wrong, he is kind and patient, but it’s got to be frustrating to be dating someone with trust issues. Plus, these issues make me insecure. And I hate that. I am not an insecure person. Most of the time I’m overly confident in my abilities.

SC is a popular guy and a mutual friend gave me an unbecoming history of him before she knew we were dating. Part of her story was probably due to frustration because she knew SC and I liked each other and she likes him as well, but I’m sure part of it is true. Has he dated a lot of people? Yep, he told me that before we got together. You know what? I was out of the game for a while with the whole being married thing, but in my undergrad and grad school days I got around too. I’m not willing to say I was full on slutty, but I was no Girl Scout either. SC is ridiculously open with me. He tells me things I might not want to hear (yes, that girl’s fake boobs were ridiculously big), but I’ll take that over him keeping things from me any day of the week. With this new found, but soon to be departing, insecurity I don’t really like seeing pictures of him from last summer with some other girl at the top of Pikes Peak. But you know what I was doing last summer? Climbing Mt. Asahidake in Japan with some other guy. Is that other girl cute? Yep. You know what? So am I. Do I like that he’s still super friendly with his ex? Not particularly, but my wasband is still my best friend.

I’ve never had someone challenge and encourage me so much. He gets me to try things that scare me – like signing up for personal trainer certification. He also pushes me physically. He challenges me to attempt things I’m not sure I can accomplish. I know this doesn’t seem like a huge deal, but for someone who grew up with a “why try if you can’t be the best” attitude, this is is pretty big. So, where does this lead me?

I’m done being insecure. I’m done living my life stupid and scared. Do I know if I’ll make it as a personal trainer? Nope, but I’ll work my ass off to make it happen. Is SC the one? You’re asking the wrong person. I was with a gay guy for over a decade – you think I can predict my love life? What I do know is that right now I am happy and content and want to keep SC around as long as possible. He’s alright. Is there a chance I could get hurt again? Hell yeah, but that’s part of living. I can’t go through life living scared. It’s no way to live. It’s time for me to step up and choose to trust and see what happens.

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My Blog Entry for Girls on the Run of Alachua County

Check out my article for Girls on the Run of Alachua County:

http://alachuagotr.org/2013/08/04/first-girl-box-experience-shes-fat/

This is an incredible organization. If you’re interested in learning more about Girls on the Run or finding a local chapter, check out their website:

http://www.girlsontherun.org/

NahaMarathon

Thankful Thursday

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I’ve seen this idea before, but was reminded of it again as I read Lindy Jordan‘s blog recently. The idea is gratitude. In the midst of my divorce, my friend Katie gave me the above necklace. While the whole message hit me, the “be grateful” part really resonated. Yes, I was living overseas, my husband had just announced he was gay, and I was getting divorced, but I still had so much in my life. I had so much to be thankful for – great friends, a supportive family, an education to fall back on, etc.

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the daily routine of getting by, we forget to give thanks. I am not a religious person and don’t care who you give thanks to – God, Allah, the universe, your spirit animal, whatever. It doesn’t matter, just the expressing of thanks will make your life better. For me showing gratitude gives me time to feel peace, realize how lucky I am, and realize that I don’t need as much as I want or even as much as I have.

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. – Gilbert K. Chesterton

I’m not sure if Thankful Thursday will turn into a regular feature, but I adore alliteration and there’s no better time to be grateful than right now. I would like to encourage you to take a few minutes every day and think about what makes you grateful. This doesn’t have to take a lot of time or even have its own designated time. Think of your gratitude list as you brush your teeth, while you’re in the shower, or while you’re out walking the dog – just take a few minutes to be grateful.

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Here are some of the things I’m grateful for today:

- a family that supports me

- that I finally found the courage to go after what I want

- for a boyfriend who helped me realize my dreams and encouraged me to go after them

- that my body allows me to keep pushing the limits

- for friends who support, and encourage, my kind of crazy

- for a spotty mess of a dog that provides unconditional love

- for a job that pays the bills until I can live my dream

- that I’ve been able to travel to so many amazing places

- for friends who open their homes to me around the world

Life is good GREAT, folks! Find your happy place and count your blessings – you just might realize you have more than you thought.

PoohGratitude

FML…really?

I mentioned this months ago on Facebook, but now that I’m blogging I want to expand on my dislike for the acronym FML. For those unfamiliar with this gem, it stands for Fuck My Life. I’ve seen people post statuses on FB with things like “smudged my pedicure – FML, had a flat tire – FML, had to drop my class and have to retake it during the summer – FML…” Anyway, you get my point. Something goes wrong and people are ready to throw in the towel and loudly proclaim “Fuck my life”!

I always want to reply something along the lines of “Really? You have the ability to air your grievances on Facebook, I think you’re going to make it”. I will be the first to admit that I see the world through rose colored glasses and often believe in people way longer than they deserve. A co-worker told me soon after meeting me “Amy, you’re such an otter”. After I looked blankly at her she said, “You know. Some people think the glass is half full and some think the glass is half empty, but otters clap their furry little paws together and exclaim ‘oooh, oooh, I have a glass!’”. I took that as one of the greatest compliments ever. Despite these levels of positivity that can grate on the boyfriend’s slightly more realistic nerves, I do understand that bad stuff happens. And bad stuff happens to good people. But that doesn’t mean you give up. Nope, that’s the time to pick yourself up and give it another go.

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No seriously, I understand that bad happens. Here’s my 2011 in a nutshell – my husband of 8 years tells me he is gay while we are living overseas sponsored by the US Air Force. At the time, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was still in effect so there were very few people I could tell and had to fake that everything was just fine for about 4 months. During that time of the most amazing poker face ever, I sent out over 50 resumes and applications and was rejected by all but 3 positions. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that by following my Air Force hubby I had accumulated about a ten year hole in my resume. Let me tell you, when you’re husband has just told you that he’s gay, every rejection letter hurts just a little bit more. Out of the 3 jobs that wanted me, I accepted the one in my hometown. That seems all peachy and grand. What could be better than returning to where your loving family lives? While I’ve got a great family that loves and supports me and saw me through the divorce (shoot, my sister acted as my divorce attorney), I felt like a huge failure returning to where I had started. In addition to that, I had to leave Okinawa early and leave behind the best friends a girl could ask for in my WOOT (Women on Okinawa Trails) women. I also had to leave my dog behind because it was too hot for her to travel when I left (no worries – we were reunited 8 months later). For the first four months I lived in Gainesville, I stayed with my best friend and her husband while searching for a house, adjusting to life in America (I’d been overseas for 6 years), and learning how to be a professional (seriously, I used to wear waders at work and electrify fish). I gained weight, lost a lot of hair, and was scared and stressed for months on end. On New Year’s Eve I was ready to kiss 2011 goodbye and have a symbolic end to my run of bad luck. Nope, not quite yet. On New Year’s Eve my dad had a stroke. Yeah, that was a big nutshell, but you get my drift, right? Not everything has been unicorns and rainbows. But you know what you do when life deals you a shit hand? You suck it up and keep playing.

I have a friend with a young son who recently went through a bitter  divorce because her ex-husband is a lying, cheating douche. Yes, she was stressed and yes, she asked for help, but not once did I hear her utter “FML”. She’s still adjusting and her string of bad luck recently popped up again with a parking ticket and her friend running out of gas on a busy road while they were both wearing skirts and heels. You know what she did? She laughed about it. What else is there to do really? Will crying help? How about some cursing? Ok, I like profanity and probably would have dropped the F-bomb before laughing along with her.

Some of you are probably thinking “Big deal. You guys had to get divorced and moved. That’s no big thing.” I agree, there are much bigger things in life than I’ve experienced. For example, a good friend of mine’s father recently found out that his cancer that he fought and beat is back and is at stage 4. Did she give up? No. Did her dad give up? No, he’s doing all he can to kick cancer’s ass again. And while I know it is eating away at my friend that this is happening to her dad and she can’t be closer to him, never once has she said, “FML”. The same goes for our front desk lady. Within a month of passing her 5 year cancer-free exam, she was diagnosed with the same stage 4 cancer that she had already beaten. She has been an inspiration with not only her positivity, but just her willingness to  come to work every day. No matter how tired or how worn out she is from her treatment, she is at her post smiling and greeting visitors. She is incredible.

One of my favorite volunteers also passed on the opportunity to say FML. Charlie is an 89 year old retired 3-star general that started volunteering at the museum almost 2 years ago. He has some incredible stories, but my favorite has to be how he met his wife and their incredible love story. Seriously, this is the stuff that movies are made from. Shortly before he started volunteering with us, his wife passed away from cancer after 62 years of marriage. It would have been easy for him to give up and say FML, but he didn’t. He made the choice to find something to keep himself going.

That’s the thing with FML. Once you buy into it you’ve given up your power, you’ve given up your freedom to make choices for yourself. You’ve let yourself become a victim and are willing to take what happens to you. Well, forget that! I want to be in charge of my life. So, go ahead and OMG, WTF or SMH, but this is your life. Make sure you’re going FTW!

Why Didn’t You Throat Punch Him?

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I’ve known for just over two years now that my wasband is gay and we’ve been divorced for over a year and a half so I’ve processed things and am in a good place, but the two questions I still get are 1. How did you not know he was gay? and 2. Why aren’t you angrier at him? I might get back to the first one at some point, but I don’t think it’s really that important. I think the second one should be addressed.

Honestly, in general, I am not a very angry person. At least I can’t stay mad. I get annoyed, I get frustrated and then I forget about it. This is not intentional, my brain just doesn’t hold onto details and when you don’t remember details it’s easy to let things go. Now, don’t get me wrong. I have a nemesis at work that I think is worthless and overpaid and when I have to deal with his incompetence I get spun up. I curse to my assistant about him and complain to my best friend over a martini and then…I let it go. You know why? Because he is not worth it. And as my BFF likes to remind me I am only in control of one person’s behavior.

So, as you might be able to guess, if I’m unable to stay mad at a jerkface at work, it is very unlikely that I’m going to be able to really be angry at a man I’ve loved for over a decade. But that is the question that I get constantly – “Amy, why aren’t you angrier?”.

I think when Chris first told me that he was attracted to men my response was “are you fucking kidding me?”. At the time I was about 2 sips into a margarita and to this day I think he should have let me finish that drink before springing that news on me. So, my initial response was anger, but that quickly turned into hurt and grief. I don’t think after the first 24 hours I had any anger left. If I stayed angry at Chris, where would that get me? What would it change? It would get me nowhere and change nothing. We’d still have gotten divorced and I would have lost a best friend. It wouldn’t have made Chris magically like women.

And you know what? I had a great life for those 8 years we were married. Six of those years we lived overseas in England and Japan. I got to see the world. I like to think that I would have traveled on my own, but probably not as extensively. I got to go on a safari in South Africa, explore Croatia, pop over to Belgium for a 3 day weekend, enjoy the tulips at the Keukenhof, and run races in Scotland, Mongolia, and New Zealand. And even more importantly than all of that, I made the best friends that I will ever have during my time overseas – ladies that I can’t imagine my life without, friends that will be part of my life forever. For that I am thankful and none of that would have happened if I hadn’t been married.

You know what else gets me through and lets me release my anger? Knowing that my best friend wouldn’t hesitate to throat punch him or anyone else who hurt me if it came down to it. And for that, I am truly grateful.

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