Falling in love with being a beginner
note: Loving Lately doesn't have ads at the moment, and if we ever do we'll be sure to mark the posts clearly! All thoughts here are my own : )
Hi Loving Lately readers!! I'm so happy you're here. Today I want to talk about something that is essential to happiness but also something none of us really like to experience...beginning.
Starting something new, getting out of your comfort zone, pushing your limits. If you're anything like me, you have a Pinterest board full of quotes with those ideas but putting them into practice is a whole other game. I want to share something new I've been up to for the past month, and I hope that you can learn from me getting out of my comfort zone and then I want to hear from you! I'd love to know what you learned the last time you stepped out of yours.
No surprises here: having cancer did a number on my physical body. Not only did I lose all my hair, I gained over 30lb in 3 months from steroids during treatment (it is not true that chemo only makes people lose weight, this is a super common misconception!!), my skin was stretched + thinned out also from steroids which gave me massive stretch marks, and of course I lost a significant amount of stamina and muscle. Early on in treatment, I passed out trying to carry groceries up my townhouse stairs. And even as recently as February 2017 I couldn't take more than a 10 minute walk.
My constantly changing physical body has been a real challenge for me mentally. It is just one more part of my life that I had to give up control over in order to survive. And for more days than not in the last 2 years, I have woken up and looked in the mirror to simply not recognize myself. So much so that often during treatment I would purposefully not look in the mirror. And then I have swung to the complete opposite side where I'm so insanely grateful for my body and all that it has withstood. Gaining weight during chemotherapy is a weird blessing- in my situation it actually meant I was healthy enough to withstand treatment and that I could eat somewhat normally, which is definitely not a given when you're being treated for cancer.
I've come a freaking long way since then. I've been cancer free for about 15 months now and once again my physical body has been through an insane number of changes every single one of those months (who am I kidding, every moment of every month!!). Constant change is the only constant in my life right now.
Enter Pure Barre. We just got a studio here in Frederick and one of my best friends was starting to take classes and encouraged me to try. I've been feeling like my progress physically has been a bit stagnant and part of me wanted to try something new...but the other part of me was totally terrified. (and yes you would think having been through cancer would make you less terrified of normal life but that has not been my experience haha!).
I wrestled with all the usual demons: will I be able to do any of the moves? ...What if I'm not strong enough?......What if I'm bad at it?.....What if I don't have the right outfit and I look ridiculous?...What if people aren't nice?
I'm so proud of myself for walking through the doors and allowing myself to be new...allowing myself to be a beginner. My first class was extremely challenging-- I modified almost everything and couldn't do a full "set" of any of the moves. But in the moment, I cared less than I thought I would. Music blaring. my muscles on fire, I got into the flow of things and did the absolute best I could. By the end of the 50 minutes, the instructor (who is also the studio owner) led us through the last working set of class.
And she said so very clearly to the entire class- "You are so much stronger than you think."
And I'm sitting there in the set doing this really hard move, feeling like I'm going to collapse and I hear her and I think "Oh my god she is right!! I AM so much stronger than I think. I beat CANCER at 26. I have literally crushed everything life has thrown at me and then some. And I'm still here, I'm not 6 feet under and I'm here at this Pure Barre class working my butt off!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
It is rare that I have these kind of celebratory, strong, thoughts. Pure Barre has taught me I want more of them (so I've been going 3x a week since then!!). I know logically I have been through hell and back but it has honestly faded into this strange part of my life that I try not to think about too much but that is still there all the time in the background. I'm not gonna lie to you, thinking about all of this in my head (and mind you I'm still in the set during class!) I felt just a few tears roll down from my eyes and a big smile cross my face. And one resounding thought remained- "I AM SO PROUD OF MYSELF!" And I'm so much stronger than I think.
This experience, completely brought to me by allowing myself to begin. Falling in love with being new, having no idea what I'm doing, hearing all the negative thoughts in my head, and showing up anyway.
So what is it that you want to try? How do you want to get out of your comfort zone? What have you been putting off trying because you're scared? Ask for help, find a friend, make it your own, show up, and do your best. But let's go ahead and just decide that we're gonna go for it--- together.