I took this photo yesterday before I went to train for the first time in almost a month. It has been hard the past couple of months and I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was wrong then I went to compete in Las Vegas and I knew something was definitely off.
I could not get in the right frame of mind, I was anxious, I was stressed, my blood pressure was through the roof and I ended up fighting one round of fights and was done. I couldn’t get my heart rate down and my pulse was racing so fast it couldn’t be gauged.
I have had anxiety in armor before, and some days it takes EVERYTHING I have within me to gear up and walk out onto that field, and that is with me loving to fight. Its daunting at times but I knew my body well enough to know something else was wrong. I had ignored it long enough that it was now affecting the one thing I loved to do, and to take me out of the fight, was a much bigger problem than I had anticipated.
Turns out I am going through perimenopause and I needed some help in the form of estrogen & progestin to help level out my hormones. I have been on it for a week now and I can tell a HUGE difference in my mind and in my body. I truly felt like I was going crazy and had no way to figure out what was wrong, because my thought process was so clouded, it felt crazy to think I was going crazy…if that makes sense at all.
I knew things were not right, and I knew it might be menopause but there was that little part of me that didn’t want to become a “dried up dusty bunny shell of my former self”…and yes, that truly IS the image I had of menopause. It was easier to ignore the crazy than to admit I was getting older. I am on the downside of 48 and I never really thought about getting old, yet I know the 2015 Season was harder on my body than the 2014 Season ever was. Of course I fought in two back-to-back World Championships and supported both USA Teams when I wasn’t competing and I returned to the states exhausted but I knew mentally and physically even after Poland, this year was harder than last year. And I know that next year will be even tougher, because my body is getting older.
My husband even told me, he’d wondered if it might be time for me to throw in the towel when I was having a hard time in Vegas, and that thought went through my mind too. But I knew I wasn’t done yet. Deep down, in my bones, I knew it wasn’t that. I just knew I was not right, and I am thankful that my fighting brothers supported me, even if they couldn’t help me with what might be wrong. Although, I will say I got a lot of surprising suggestions from men I thought would have no clue about panic disorders, anxiety and even menopause! I love being surrounded by smart men =)
In the end, I knew something was wrong with my body and it was affecting my mental acuity as well. 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you anything was wrong because I never listened to my body back then. When you are morbidly obese you learn to turn off ALL the chatter, and sadly the few things that stay loud are negative, guilt ridden and usually lies you tell yourself to make being fat ok. Listening to your body tell you your hurting yourself with food (or any other substance) is easily tuned out.
When I finally got comfortable in my own skin, I was able to realize something was wrong much sooner. Recognize when things were off. Know what my body was really lacking, not just listening to crazy cravings and giving into chocolate laden desires.
Its funny, one of the more meaningful conversations I had in Vegas was about being yourself and embracing who you are. Growing up, I never wanted to be someone else. I never fantasized about being a certain movie star, rock star or star athlete. I always wanted to be one, but as Me…not as someone else.
Driving down to Vegas I was listening to various songs and “Girl Crush” by Little Big Town came on the radio (yes honey, I listened to country in your new car!). It’s a beautiful song, the video is done extremely well and its got a haunting melody but the lyrics drive me crazy!
I wanna taste her lips, yeah, ‘cause they taste like you
I wanna drown myself in a bottle of her perfume
I want her long blonde hair, I want her magic touch
Yeah, ‘cause maybe then you’d want me just as much
I got a girl crush, I got a girl crush
I will never want to be someone else, especially if someone decided they wanted someone else instead of me. I am much happier with that person moving on, instead of being in my bed with someone else on their mind.
I have had a couple stalkers in my past. Women who didn’t like the fact their man moved on and decided to choose me. Jealousy, sad life choices and basically being ape-shit-bat-crazy didn’t help them one bit. At first it made me angry that they wanted to take what I had, but when that failed, they turned the crazy dial up to 11 and wanted to be me. Wanted what I have accomplished, what I have done for myself…but they are not me and never will be. They are women who were unhappy in their own lives who can’t escape their own sadness and for that, I feel sorry for them.
Being happy and satisfied in your own world is paramount to being happy and satisfied with life in general. Whatever that takes, whatever that looks like for you…is up to you. But you can’t step into someone else’s life and expect everything to be peachy keen.
“You can’t judge your behind the scenes against someone else’s highlight reel”.
I have people who inspire me, and people I aspire to be like, for example, Annie Thorisdottir. She is an amazing athlete, who is beautiful, hardworking & refuses to give up. I would love to be more like her in every way, but she is a 25 year old red headed Icelander who weighs 148 pounds and is the only woman to win the CrossFit Games twice. I’m a 48 year old auburn haired Irish/American Indian who weighs 204 pounds and while I have won gold medals, it’s like comparing apples to boat oars. I will never EVER be Annie, but I can set goals and strive to be like her in many ways. In the end, I am still me and that, in my humble opinion is pretty damn amazing.
We each have our issues, with our bodies, our lifestyles, our own space but being comfortable in your own skin is the first step to being happy with your world. It doesn’t mean you don’t want to change it, or that you don’t want to improve yourself, it just means that right now, in this very moment, you are happy with You!
When I took that photo yesterday, I didn’t like it. Aside from the excess skin that I will have until it gets surgically removed, I have lost some definition in my arms and in my traps and that was instantly what I saw. I almost deleted it but the new kitten distracted me by pouncing on my feet and I didn’t get to it. I am glad I didn’t, because when I showed the photo to my husband later he commented on the definition in my arms and how muscular my forearm was. Where I saw loss, he saw positive. I wasn’t unhappy with the photo, but I wasn’t exactly happy either.
After I showed it to him I ended up discussing an upcoming panel at DragonCon that I am going to be a part of in September with several of my steel fighting brethren. My fighting brother mentioned that he needed to find motivation again. I told him that mine was the fact that we are scheduled to do panels on fitness and fighting & that I refuse to show up looking like a schlub. No one will buy into what we are doing if we don’t look fit. I am an athlete. I need to always remember what that feels like if I expect to show people what that means, because there are plenty of people out there ready to take my place in history. And I am NOT ready to let that happen.
I’m not ready to end this opus yet, I still have a few more fighting years in this body, which still continues to amaze me with what it can do. Syncing the mind, body & soul is sometimes difficult…but being happy, being healthy and being positive about yourself is a damn good start. One too many of us never seem to master…
Be comfortable in your own skin, it will help you know when something is wrong…but always remember to strive to be better than you were yesterday =)