Mind. Body. Soul. Remember those three things as you continue to read. After all, it is all three of these aspects that make us more human.
This week I was approached to write a little bit about my life and about the success at MBS so far. Over the last few months I have gotten to know many of you at the box. You have all been amazing and encouraging, and you have all noticed some drastic changes in me. I had taken the time to write a story this weekend about those changes, and had included in it my old body weight and where I was at currently. Late Saturday night I felt restless about what I had written though. At church service Sunday morning, it dawned on me why I felt restless.
Often at MBS we see only one facet of success and measure it the best way we know how–physical results. We don’t get to see into people’s lives very often. Physical results are not a bad way to measure success. It is what we are their for when we show up. We show up to work, physically, and to give all of our effort. But this is not the only result that there is. It is stated that you reap what you sow. When we work at MBS though, we sow so much more beyond physical labor. And it is for that reason, that I do not want to focus on the physical success for this story. Yes, I am thankful beyond words for the physical success that the coaches have helped push me to; but that is not what I am most thankful for. I am most thankful for balance. For everyone to understand what I mean by balance though, we must all understand what chaos looks like.
Growing up I was always a people-pleaser. I exhausted all of my resources (time, money, and emotions) daily to try to make people happy. It got to a point that I would even sacrifice my own physical, mental, and spiritual health for it. By the time I was in my first year of college I had the confidence level and emotional disposition of Eeyore–yes, the old grey donkey from the beloved Winnie the Pooh series. I would cave to the emotional, physical, and mental needs to those around me. By the time I was out of college this left me with no real career path, no desire to use my degree, a long list of bad relationships, and very few true friends. I also had a very destructive habit of allowing my self to be emotionally used by women until they “found the right guy” to move on to. I became very good at finding excuses and blaming others for my incredible self-neglect. I refused to take care of myself. I had it in my mind that if I emptied myself enough, and berated myself enough I would find peace and holiness. This left me frustrated, angry at God, and jaded as to what “healthy” really was. I was a mess–physically, mentally, and spiritually. Worst of all though this left me with a very unstable anxiety disorder that I thought I could never beat me.
This downward spiral got to its worst point last July in 2014. I was working a dead-end job, frustrated at my boss, and it was starting to take a toll on the rest of my life. I hadn’t set foot in church for over 2 years, and had yet to say a good word to God in over 3. On top of all of this, my latest relationship was about to go down in flames, with what I thought was the “perfect woman” and the first person I really loved. In the midst of being another emotional stepping stone for a woman, I broke. In the past I would shrug off the bad relationships after the woman would break the news to me she had found another man. This time was different. She had found a new man, my best friend. I had nothing left. My anxiety overtook me, and my self-neglect hit its worst point.
I tried driving back to my best friend’s place to try to patch things up and beg for them to “take me back” like things were before. I hated myself at this point. I hated my life and everything I had become. In a moment of both incredible weakness and grace, in tears, I screamed that if God was really there that He better step in now. I tried to drive my car into a street light two times going 65 MPH. After the second attempt, and coming within inches of the pole, I knew I needed help immediately. By nothing short of God’s grace, I made it to the hospital alive and uninjured physically. On July 27th 2014, I knew my life would never be the same again. I spent the next 48 hours without a second of sleep wrestling with God and my emotions. I had no idea why He had helped me.
The next few months were characterized as a hard-reset on my life. I moved from south Denver, cut all ties to social media, and all contact with everyone I knew but one friend and my family. I quit my dead-end job, got a seasonal job doing aerations for a landscape company, and made some new friends. Slowly and steadily I got my feet entirely back under me and moved back down to Broomfield with my only friend Andrew, and his girlfriend Kelly. I continued to get help for my anxiety, and began to feel like I had a chance at having a life I could be proud of. And for the first time in over 27 years of being alive, I began to finally accept myself. I was making new friends, started running, and was losing a lot of weight with my new job.
In December of 2015 after living in Broomfield for a few months, I had began to work a new (less psychically demanding) job. After gaining back some weight over the next 2 months, and losing some more friends again, I saw myself going into old patterns. My emotions and anxiety were still in check thankfully. After having another woman use me as a stepping stone in late January, I decided something had to change for good. I spent 2 months trying to run indoors and stay as active as I could. I remembered some friends of mine talking about CrossFit the year before, and one of them finding immense peace in the midst of her divorce. I figured what I have I got to lose?!
I started looking around for gyms, and mentioned to my friend Kelly that I wanted to start doing CrossFit. She lit up and said she had a classmate, Lisa, that went to a gym just up the road called MBS. I got the contact info from her, looked at the site, and just decided why not. I was terrified though. I showed up in late March on a Thursday night. Emilee greeted me warmly, happily showed me around, and I even stayed to watch Coach Ben and Grant face off for one of the CrossFit Open workouts. If I had any idea that this night would have been the beginning of the rest of my life, I would have stopped in for that tour year ago.
When I showed up for my first workout, I was nervous. Pat gave us the low down, had us work through some basic movements, and showed us a small workout. He approached me after class and said I had good form, and encouraged me to get plugged in right away with the free week. I came into my first CF1 class, hopped on a rower, and never looked back. The most amazing thing for me that first night though, was the fact that for the first time in my 28 years of life I had finally found silence. My mind was quite. My body was screaming after having just done an AMRAP of air squats and row for calories, my face was smiling, but my mind was silent. It was in that silence that I was truly hooked.
We all do CrossFit for various reasons. We all love it. But most of all, we have all grown to appreciate and desire it to balance an aspect of our life that would otherwise be chaotic. For some of us it is a physical chaos. For me it was mental and spiritual chaos. The physical benefits are just a byproduct. Many of you have noticed a physical change in me, and I want to thank you for the congratulations and encouragement. But I also want to let it be known that for many of us, we are working on shedding emotional weight and baggage–years upon years of it. It is in this shedding of baggage that I have began to finally find balance in my life again. Many of you have heard or seen me give out some grunts, or run out that last 100m as a full sprint. At this moment I truly find peace in life. At the end of a workout when you are in those last few reps, and when your body is broken, this is where my mind gets truly quite and I can just exist–happy and content. If we reap what we sow, I have finally began to sow peace, balance, self-acceptance, faith, and hope into my life again. Every day at MBS, I am less like an old grey donkey and more like a lion.
To MBS staff, coaches, and the community I have this to say: thank you. Everyone shows up to your gym for completely different reasons. But remember that even though most of us have a smile on our face when we do, some of us aren’t smiling on the inside. When I walked through that door the first day, the last thing I expected to find was the acceptance, love, and community that I did. Encourage each other daily, and remember that we are all their for our Mind, Body, and Soul. After all, we reap what we sow!