I’m not sorry for the long post, but I do hope you make it to the end. I do hope you can relate to some of it. I do hope it gives you something you are looking for.
I don’t have very many pictures taken of me unless I’m with my kids, possibly friends. And I don’t often find myself on that side of the camera alone (that pic is farther down in the post) I have transformed in so many ways in my life, but consciously these past few years. I find myself surprised when I see a picture of me now. I’ve always had self confidence, physical strength, ability on the outside but my insides became burdened …and my body reflected that.
My business IS the body and sometimes I would question what people think of my physical shape. Although I always talked myself back to acceptance, I believe my body was a reflection, not of what I wanted to change about it, but what I wanted to change about me. I knew that at some point, something would shift and my evolution could pick back up.
My business became about the body, not because I wanted to have a smokin hot one, but because I wanted a healthy one. One that would last and stay moving. One that could allow me to do the things I love to do. With my bodies history, it has taken me more than 2 decades to figure it out.
My bodies history(short version):
4 broken left arms
3 broken right arms
Broken left collar bone
Broken left femur
Broken left foot
Broken right hand
And finally at 20 years of age I was diagnosed with Degenerative Disc disease. And although I didn’t believe the doctor when he told me that if I didn’t get a rod in my back to support the vertebra of the lumbar spine and the non existence of 4 discs from L2 to S1, I would be in a wheelchair by 40. This became a fear that I may break it up so bad I would have to succumb to an idle life.
This was what motivated me to find a solution. It was when I was 24, after giving birth to my 1st child, that more degeneration occurred. I experienced horrible back pain. I lost T9-L2 …and C3-C5. I lost nerves in my right leg. I began to build bone spurs and a plethora of other magical body compensations yo provide structure and support. My blueprint was always changing.I didn’t want to give into surgery so I began a rigorous workout schedule and regular massages. I knew I was close to an answer and I kept working at it. More school, studies, research. My body became stronger and more supportive of my spine, but after my next pregnancy, I never lost the weight.
I could dead lift 280 lbs but weighed over 200 lbs myself. Even then, people told me I didn’t look bad, I certainly felt like I did. It was shortly after my 3rd child came into this world through this body that my back gave out. I remember telling my husband after I began to recover, that if I were to ever feel that kind of pain again and go through what I went through, that if he loved me, he would put me out of my misery. I wasn’t kidding either.
This is when I was blessed with a new Crossfit-ish Gym moving into the same building as my spa that I owned and managed, developing my business of the body, that I trusted this muscle head when he said I could do a dead lift again, and if I did it correctly, it would help. And it absolutely did! My body began to transform and my studies of the body continued to expand. I even trusted my body enough to reintroduce running in small amounts. I trusted I would know my limits. I kinda did. I continually kept running into them.
My neurologist put 2 of my very favorite activities on my don’t ever do again list: snowmobiling and running. I was not a very good listener. I wanted more so I did it. Most people had no idea the pain I endured to be “normal”.Life was looking good.
Then came the stress and emotions of almost losing my husband in a motorcycle accident. Raising kids, running a business, taking care of him and every responsibility a household required.
This is the thing that wrecked me. My body, with will and determination intact, but my heart and soul would change forever.
Then…. my mother died from breast cancer and more so the treatments she received. I’ve written a little about her, but I would never be the same. A few months later I was diagnosed with melanoma. I didn’t have the heart to tell most of my family, but I chose to not just treat it outwardly. I had fear, but I really trusted my doctor when he gave the advice to take a stronger, more aggressive approach.
The treatment was a pill and radiation after the surgeries to remove the 3 locations from my face and arm. I of course get the chemo that you don’t lose your hair but average 50 lbs weight gain for the duration…. kid you not. I knew the body well and I trusted again the path I chose to treat it in this fashion. Up until month 6, I felt pretty good. I was working hard and had only gained 20 or so pounds( I’ve never been one for scales. I was ecstatic and depressed at the same time.
Those last few months, I was really run down, and as my dad had a large melanoma removed from the back of his neck, I finally told him casually what was happening to me, he asked why I was so run down. He understood me not wanting to tell him, but wished I had. It was obvious to him that I wasn’t well and he expressed his concern. Cancer had become a family thing now. A short time later, my dad’s brother died from a bone cancer that he had been in remission from since before my mom died. Then another uncle, 2 best friends (one was many years ago, one died 1 year to the day as mom). My dad really didn’t like cancer much. I assured him I would be fine, because I knew I would be.
Here I place the (…) because, if you’re still with me this far in, you can fill in the blanks ( the situations may be different, but the emotions of our destruction and reconstruction are recognizable, we all have our shit, it can make our break us)or ask me in the comments anything you want to know. Truth is I am not looking for sympathy, but I guarantee many can empathize, because, like I said, everybody has their shit. This is just a background story. Everybody has one. Truth is I always felt blessed, that whenever circumstance laid out in front of me a possible disaster, I knew it was just another learning cycle and wasnt about to let anyone know how bad I felt. Never let anyone know the bad, because it might change their opinion of me.
Let’s skip to the good part, you know, when the broken heart comes into play …and we question our future and how, during our mid-life crisis (not fond of this term, but it represents a moment in time in everyone’s life), to go about moving forward.
1st, the recognition of a broken heart and a closed mind. The realization, that we aren’t right about everything, and without humility and trust in our beliefs and new found truths, what is going to remind us that we need to get in touch with our own truths honestly. I’ve written about my San Francisco trip earlier this year, it touches on the opening sequence of my being open to grace. Look back to the short code posts if you want to read the good stuff. Otherwise, we are here, diggin’ through shit.
I think of the pain and heartache , the challenges and of course the growth that has occurred during the past 18 months of my life. The growth has come from what some call mistakes, I prefer to call these happy little accidents (yes, I’m a big fan of Bob Ross). One thing I never lost through my challenges was the belief that I could still see beauty and joy, and regardless of my situation, embrace it. Many of hese little accidents, as of the last 18 months have been off my own doing, my own choices and my ego won out over reason. I even knew at the time what I was doing, and still did it. By choice I brought anger, defensive behaviors, woe is me, and things I would need to eventually ask for forgiveness for into some of my days. I lost some of my gumption to speak my mind in a certain crowd. I faltered. It’s kinda sick really, knowing I should do better, but refusing to.
Again, the next part exists in previous posts, you know: all the pretty stuff that grows when fertilized with shit.
The point is, people think i’m beautiful, inside and out and I don’t want anyone to think I’m different than them because I didn’t falter or do the work I inspire them to do. I want everyone to know that I’m this way because I have shit.. piles of it. We can’t evolve and grow without it. Choosing to accept this is hard, I know. But embracing the past is not living in it. It’s time to be truly open to grace, let it be your time to root to rise!
Friends, if you love yourself, all of you, you are truly beautiful. I’m not in any way saying ” go out and fuck shit up so you can be beautiful” but more along the lines of “accept and love yourself regardless”.
Sometimes we can’t make everything right, and acceptance of that isn’t a constant. Doubt and fear will rear their ugly heads within us, be cognizant of their existence and try to work through it. Don’t let it overtake the million other beautiful things you have created.
In point, i’m going to post this pic of me, not because I love it, but because my daughter took it, and, yes, I love it. I’ve been wanting to start putting a face to Cognizant Reconstruction by posting pics of my yoga, my growth, but I’m starting with this picture that caught me when my heart was full. I was with people I love, and they tolerate me!
If you made it this far, I hope it was worth it! Message me or comment if you would like to relate or chat. I really would like to humbly extend my hand and my heart.
Love and namaste,