WHY: Part I

Today I went back and read a post that I wrote some time ago. It was a bittersweet commentary on the trials of my weight loss journey, but also a heartwarming reminder of how far I’ve come. The reason I went back to it today was because of the fitness group I joined on Facebook. We were asked to write about our “why.” Why are we choosing to lose weight right now? What is our motivation to achieve our goals? Originally I shared the following piece only with the fitness group, but I decided I needed to get this to a bigger audience. Following is my “why.”
I’ve struggled with my weight and abandonment issues from my parent’s divorce my whole life, and because of that I find it hard to follow through with the things I really want to accomplish. I either give up and desert the project, or, more often, sabotage myself. This includes goals involving my passion for writing, my fervent need to be beautiful (AKA, skinny), and finding (and marrying) the love of my life.
For the longest time, even though my self-esteem wasn’t the greatest, I didn’t stress a whole lot about being fat because I never expected I could change it. When I did finally lose weight, it started a whole domino effect of anxiety because I had all this new pressure. Where before it never mattered because I had zero expectations, suddenly the world was at my fingertips and I was completely unprepared. It was really easy to blame others for my shortcomings, and for a while I thought, things haven’t changed a bit. Why not just stay how I am? My life is fantastic, even if I’m not living the dream of marrying Dr. Handsome and writing that bestseller. I’ve got great friends, a steady job…I have good dates here and there. I can hack it a little longer, getting by how I am. But that’s not how I want to live my life. I want to set meaningful goals and attain them, NOW (starting with being focused on them better). I want to be able to tell myself every day that I am worthy of a beautiful and healthy relationship. I want to break the chains of inadequacy that I’ve carried from a very young age—and that I’ve continued to carry all on my own, using them as an excuse to be average.
Doing all that takes a concerted effort, and a community. I’m so used to doing things for myself, being single for such a long time, but letting people in, and, God-forbid, letting others see my vulnerabilities, is so important. It’s not something I do lightly. It takes faith in my community, and love for myself.
I know that I have to let go of my past in order to be the future amazing Becky that’s always been inside. Grasping onto my communities’ outstretched hands is a great start. Spending time with people from all corners of my world is a very important part of that. I’ve got my running community, my writing peers, my dance family, my work buddies, fellow gamers and hikers and coffee-lovers, Blazer fans, my blood family. But it’s more than just spending time, and it’s more than just hoping a few of you will read my blog and empathize. Getting vulnerable with yourself and your “people” is not a one-stop deal. Clearly, you readers have seen that for the last two years that I’ve been writing this blog. Of course I hope to inspire others, but letting out my fears and emotions in this medium is a very important part of my process, and I thank you for being my audience and safety net. You, love, are a very big part of my success in this life, because we all need love to thrive.

All you need is love

All you need is love


This is the first piece in a miniseries called WHY. I look forward to sharing parts II and III very soon.

iBelong

When I heard about the Boston Bombings, my heart dropped into my stomach. It wasn’t because I had loved ones at the marathon, but because I feel so strongly connected to the running community, my community. I simply could not comprehend how anyone would want to hurt a group of people who were participating in an event so pure-minded and non-political.
If I may be honest here, I have a confession to make. The outrage and pain I felt last Monday was 100 times anything I felt on 9/11. Now, I can absolutely tell you where I was and what exactly I was doing when 9/11 occurred—even more so because I didn’t just happen to pick up my smart phone and read it on Facebook. It was a happening. I was in college, picking up a cyberwrap for lunch in the café on the main floor in the student center. People started pouring in, unbelieving and in tears, telling everyone that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. My roommate and I swiftly left and holed up in our apartment, staring aghast at the tv for the next several days. I was horrified for the people that were there and who had loved ones, and felt assaulted on behalf of my country, but I also felt blessedly removed from the whole thing. It stuck with me, of course, like it stuck with every American, but I was able to leave it behind me, to a certain extent.
But Monday’s event stayed with me. In my heart, every single person there was a brother or sister, and I had a front row seat to their anguish. This is because I am a part of a thriving and loving community. It’s not just my close friends or Portland runners that I associate with. I read runners’ blogs written by people all over the earth. When I comment on their blogs, they acknowledge me like family, when in real life we have never seen each other’s faces or touched. I can’t explain the closeness I have come to feel with these people, but I value it so much.
In addition to the events in Boston, I also learned that a pillar of the salsa community passed away recently. I was never more than an acquaintance to Manuel, but I do recall being genuinely warmed by his presence at the small taqueria on Sunday evenings where I go salsa dancing. I imagine he was well into his eighties by the time I met him, but he obviously made a big impression on the salsa community. It touched me to see the memorials to him. I never even knew his last name, but he was important to me because he represented all the generations of salsa lovers uniting. His death got me thinking about my own send off. I don’t mean to be morbid here, but I think it’s perfectly natural to wonder who is going to show up at your funeral.
All of this lead me to start pondering my “place.” I’m one of those people who has always belonged to multiple groups. I consider myself a card carrying member of the salsa and running communities, obviously, but also belly dancers, Quakers, hikers, and I’m sure there are others. I have always felt the need to categorize everything, including my friendships. Some people say that it is not important, that the world is our friendship circle, so why bother to categorize. It is not my intent to exclude anyone, but I also believe strongly that every person in my life is in my life for a specific reason. Having these groups helps me keep track of their lessons and at the same time allows me to bring others together to experience those lessons as well.
Who do we turn to when bad things happen? Our loved ones. The people who can somehow make it all better, or at least try, when things get hairy. Life thrives on love. So if we indulge ourselves once in a while by being corralled into certain groups of people, I’m okay with it. As long as the net around the corral is open to the flow, there will always be enough of me to go around, and it makes me stronger knowing that I have a community of friends right alongside me when bad things happen.