New Year’s came and went. I partied hard with people I love, dressed up, drank champagne, and got that sweet midnight kiss. I also thought about a resolution but can’t quite remember what it was… and it’s only the 9th of January. Yikes.
Obviously with the closing of a year, people do a lot of reflecting. I watched as my friends celebrated big things happening i.e. body transformations, traveling the world, moving etc. while I didn’t do any of that. My boyfriend got an awesome internship, was accepted as a leader for another summer of Bike & Build, and created tons of really great content that he’s passionate about…. But “we” didn’t do much out of the ordinary.
Things really settled down for me in 2015 and I’m extremely pleased with that. See, 2014 was fucking crazy. I mean it was epic but truly insane. I went from living and working in three different states to moving to my favorite city and starting my first salaried job. Sadly, the place I moved to in June 2014 was hit with a flood, a fire, and a bug infestation. So I pulled out my thinking cap and got a realtor who showed us a great house in a better neighborhood. I scoped out the block and make friends with a lovely old neighbor who prayed hard for me to get the place. And after a conversation with the landlord where I practically begged for this to work out, we got it! Granted, we had another flood in the new place but hey, I’d rather have one plague over three.
Oh, and can we talk about cars for a second? My first very own car was struck from behind in May 2014, causing a four car pile-up and a total loss. My mother, the sweet lady that she is, took me to a dealership and helped me purchase another. As I was setting up Bluetooth in my new, used, hatchback, I heard a loud bang, turned around, and watched my mother skid across the highway with a smashed driver’s side door and windshield. She was T-boned hard as she pulled out of the dealership’s driveway. I ran as fast as I could not knowing what I would see when I opened the passenger side door. I got in the car with my very injured mom, screamed, “Call the police!” and cried. I also started my first day of work that Monday and spent the rest of the summer traveling back and forth to my mother’s house to care for her.
As part of her lawsuit, we had to have a family therapy session to assess psychological damages from the crash. I explained to the lovely therapist that all I really wanted to do was crawl under a rock. Sometimes, as strange as it is, I’d lock myself in a dark room and lie on the floor in complete silence for a decent amount of time. Basically, I mimicked being dead, but called it “meditating.”
The therapist explained that this type of behavior is really typical for sufferers of PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder. The overstimulation of pain, loss, and stress has strong effects on the brain and body. Shutting out all stimulation during quiet alone-time is often a good environment for healing processes to occur. So I was doing right by not doing anything at all.
Now I wouldn’t say I did NOTHING last year. I launched this blog, got a second job that I love, started a new hobby, and helped people less fortunate than I. I also did a lot of self-exploration and made concrete commitments to address and protect my mental health status. I think the PTSD from the year of 2014 was sort of the straw that broke the camel’s back on some underlying personal issues. And 2015 was about me picking up the pieces.
I initially started this blog to share positive messages that I learned while successfully losing weight in 2013. But I’ll admit that blogging about fitness now feels a little weird when I sometimes can barely get out of bed (that’s called psycho-motor retardation, FYI). Honestly, it’s feminism that saves me in those moments of self-doubt. If I can promote fitness for ALL women, then I can sure as hell practice self-compassion and celebrate those times when I do come out of “playing dead” and feel good enough to do some important stretches.
I hold this opinion that fitness is about much more than going out for a run several times a week. It’s how you choose to integrate it for the changes of real life—the up and the down, or even traumatic, periods that can last for months at a time.
Furthermore, as a feminist, I find it important to do my part in building community and promoting the health of all different types of women. This year I built a stand to help my disabled friend practice alignment squats (which was really cool… future blog post?!) and taught my mother simple exercises that drastically helped with her gait and pain. These were powerful experiences that have nothing to do with having a gym membership (which I cancelled) or the fact that I use every fitness hashtag imaginable (though I will unabashedly continue to do just that).
So I don’t really have your typical awesome reflections or success stories to tell about this past year. I didn’t run a marathon or climb great heights. But I have a couple beautiful moments, like when I finally stood up on a surfboard, a lifelong dream. That was pretty much my only physical fitness gain. I put the money from my cancelled gym membership into therapy and medical care. I explored local farmer’s markets and started juicing for myself and friends. And since I worked really hard at my jobs, most of my free time I spent at home, asleep.
In 2015 I did the dirty work of confronting mental illness(es), trying to feel safe again, and accepting that I’m doing okay at this whole “adulting” thing. So to that I’ll raise a glass.
And I literally just remembered my New Year’s resolution: To stretch more. Cheers!